Friday, June 17, 2016

Dog Training (or the lack thereof)

I titled this post Dog Training (or the lack thereof), but really it's just a way to showcase our cute little Titus.  He's a bit over a year old now.  We are beginning to think he might be just about done growing.  He didn't get quite as big as we expected, but boy is he stronger and faster than we ever expected.  Although our efforts in training were not as accomplished as I'd hoped, we love this little ball of fur and I'm pretty sure no one would give him up for anything.  (Well, almost no one.)  :-)

Look at that sweet face!  Nothing but a lovable
puff ball.  Or so we thought.

When I convinced Techno to get a puppy, I promised him the kids and I would take 'full charge' of him.

We never anticipated Titus.

(Whom we all agreed 
right away  
should have been named

He loved to chew on stuffed toys.....
and hands..... and feet..... and legs...... and......

As a wee tike all he did was bite and jump.

Literally..... ALL he did.

Nothing was safe when Titus was around.
But boy was he cute.

If you bent down to pet him - chomp, chomp, bite.  Your hand was mauled.

If you tried to 'correct' him - nip, chomp, nibble, snap.

He so wanted Apollos to love and play with him.

When he came in the house - chew, chaw.

If you went out to the backyard - munch.

Even his leash became a tug of war/chew toy.

When the girls tried to play with him - crunch.

When the kids walked him - jump, nip, snap, jump.

Towels weren't even safe.  :-)

It was tiring.

It was painful.

It was annoying.

But just look at that little face.
How could anyone stay mad at THAT face?

Yet, he was adorable.  Darling really.

He was so stinkin' clumsy and cute.  He'd attempt to hop up on to the couch only to face plant in front of it on the floor.  He'd skid and slide like Bambi on ice trying to chase the girls, the cat, Apollos.  He'd grab ANYTHING to tug and chew. Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, the leg of your pants.  Everything was fair game. So he thought.

He grew by leaps and bounds, but he was still cute.
He was still bite-y too.

We attempted to get him to stop, but nothing really worked.

Car rides used to scare him.
He would sniff and snuggle Elijah's neck and ear
to comfort himself. It was so sweet.

We tried the 'this is a chew toy, not our hand approach......'

We tried the 'ignore him when he bites approach......'

We tried the 'hold his mouth closed until he submits approach.......'

Selah loved that he was 'her size' and she could cuddle him.
Notice the blanket under her?  I'm almost positive
he was trying to maul it while she hugged him.
We tried the 'rolled up newspaper to the snout approach......'

The latter was the most effective, but it got to the point we felt that was ALL we were doing.

Wapping this poor little (well he was never all that little) pup on the nose to get him NOT to bite us continually.

He just can't understand why we have a pen of birds in the
backyard next to his fenced yard.  He REALLY wants
to get at them.  Not thinking he'll be a guard dog for our hens.
It was like a perpetual game of 'whack a mole' or in this case, 'whack a Titus'.

Another approach that had some effect was grabbing the scruff of his neck.  However, it only worked for those that were a little bigger, stronger.  His scruff is pretty large; furry; and hard to grasp.  It doesn't phase him unless you can give it a little tug to get his attention.  (Just like his mama would do had he been raised by her.)

Granted, as he grew, his biting slowly began to subside.  However, IT...... TOOK....... MONTHS!!

I think all the biting made it challenging to do much else with him.

Potty training him was another less than glorious adventure.

It took longer than expected and he tended to pee whenever we let him IN the house. Sorta like when newborns get their days and nights mixed up.  Well, Titus had his indoors/outdoors mixed up.

It was exhausting and very frustrating.

Eventually, that too subsided.

He's also a high strung sort.  We believe he has some guard dog genes and possibly some herding dog genes. Add those together and it makes for quite an interesting personality.  He'll chase and nip your heals but at the same time guard you will his last breath from any threat.
He loves to burrow his snout in the snow.
Throwing chunks of ice into the air to chase.

Lots of energy.  Lots of barking.  Pretty much lots of just about everything.

He got himself 'stuck' under one of the school chairs.
Yes, while stuck, he thought it a grand plan to gnaw
on said chair.  Sigh.

Still... he's super sweet.

Even a little timid.

Yes, the cat can and does chase him
off the couch and through the house.

He wants to be loved on..... but in "HIS" own way.

He thinks he's a lap-guard dog.  He'll climb up in my lap but straddle himself over me to keep others from getting to close.  He still nibbles hands and arms, but not in a 'mean' or hurtful way.  Love nibbles, if you will.  I think it's because he was taken from his mama so young.  It's his own weird way of showing affection.

He usually hangs out wherever we tend to be when he's inside.

I often joke he has a complex.  He'll bark like he's going to rip you apart, but when it comes down to it, he's just a big scaredy cat.  (Which is evident in how the cat rules the roost).  Yet, we aren't willing to test this theory when it comes to strangers approaching the house or the kids. We keep him under tight control behind the fence of on his leash until he realizes the individual isn't a real menace.

He is learning.  He even does courses in dog training.

We didn't do much right when it came to training Titus. I know he had a lot more potential than what we ended up training into him.  He's a smart dog.  A quick learner.

Too bad his owners weren't quite as intelligent when it came to puppy raising.

Here's hoping we can continue teaching him.  Molding him.  Making him the kind of dog others want to be around.
Kisses for one of his girls.

Amazing how much training a puppy is similar to training children.

It takes consistency and lots of love.  With both of those - things tend to turn out ok.  Maybe not perfect -- if you've met Titus you know that -- but.... still good.  We know we weren't as consistent with him as we needed to be, but we also know without a doubt just how much we love him.

A proud, strong pup.
He LOVED the dirt when we went camping.
He's not really quite this dark.


The kids adore him.

He's a great guard dog.  (Even if sometimes he's guarding us from a blowing leaf or the cackling hens.)  He's a wonderful companion.  He's our Titus!

Who wouldn't love this sweet little guy?

I'll call it a success for now with potential to be even better.  He's still a young dog and we are learning how to better train and encourage him to be the dog he was created to be.

Who could ask for more?

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