I am a member of the Bouvtrain list. That’s how I got your name. I’m almost through your book and it has certainly given me some new ideas. Gypsy is a 1 1/2 year old Bouvier. She is very high-strung but we’re working on it. You’re absolutely right that it does no good to send your dog away to school. For $900 bucks she now does just what the dog trainer tells her to do. I’m getting a lot better, though.
Here’s my question. I exercise her in the morning. We play ball for 30 minutes and then we walk a mile practicing sits, downs and stays. At night we play ball for about 15 minutes. I work from 10am to about 7pm. She stays in the kitchen with a dog door leading to a large 6′ fenced back yard. She sleeps almost all day and she doesn’t sleep at night. She paces and barks. I make her stay in the kitchen (baby gates) so I can get some sleep. I don’t know any other Bouviers so I don’t know if this is normal or not. She has hip dysplasia and has had hip surgery. I thought it might be pain so tried giving her an aspirin at night. Didn’t help. I tried getting up to correct her but she hears me and gets in bed before I get there. Right now I’m just trying to ignore her. The kitchen has a large bay window to the front of the house but there are curtains. She’s been doing this for months and I haven’t had a full nights sleep in months, either. Would crating her help?
Any ideas would be appreciated.
Robbye and Gypsy
Thanks for sending me this e-mail. It’s a perfect example as to why simply “ignoring” bad behavior will never work on dogs that care more about pleasing themselves than anything else.
Here are some tips:
When she starts to bark, you’ll need to yell, “No!” from your bedroom, and then continue saying, “No, no, no!” as you run to her and administer a correction. It doesn’t matter if she climbs back in her bed at this point, as you’ve already used the word, “No!” as an event-marker. So she’ll know what she’s being corrected for. As long as you continue saying, “No!” you have an additional 7 to 14 seconds in which the dog will still associate your correction with the behavior.
Put a crate in your bedroom and let her sleep in it. Even though it doesn’t seem like much to us humans, dogs think that sleeping together is quality time when they’re not alone. This can help with some of her anxiety.
You may also try just putting her on a leash and attaching the leash to the foot of your bed. If she knows a down-stay, you can simply correct her if she gets up. After a couple of evenings, she’ll learn that when you bring her into the bedroom and make her lay down, it’s time to stay put.
If you don’t feel that her hip is bothering her, I would recommend increasing the amount of exercise time. Feed her as soon as you get home from work and then take her out and play ball for at least 30 minutes. An hour would be even better.
If you can’t play ball with her for a whole hour, then work her through a very intense obedience routine (heel, sit, heel, down, come, heel, etc…) for about 15 minutes and then play ball with her for another 10 minutes.
When I lived in Berkeley, California I had an American Pit Bull Terrier that was a very high-energy bitch. If I took her to the park on a Monday afternoon and played fetch for a whole hour, we’d later return to my apartment and within 20 minutes she’d be bouncing off the walls again.
However, if I took her out on a Wednesday and we simply did an intense obedience routine for 20 minutes, we’d return to the apartment and she would collapse under my coffee table and not move for the next 2 hours.