Foster Chris has given hubby and I an interesting time in the beginning. He was such a pain that I actually questioned my abilities in working with dogs and wondered if I was truly the right person for that dog. He would drive the both of us crazy by frantically running through the house, stealing everything, throwing stuff through the air and literally bouncing all over the place.
There was just not a single minute that dog would lay down or behave.
On top of that he was not crate trained and in the beginning it was a daily battle to get him into the crate. He initiated fights with Indra, I got bit and there was just no way that I could leave him outside the crate like the others. If I did, it was a desaster waiting to happen and I learned from my past mistakes.
That he didn’t like the crate would change eventually. All we had to do was to wait it out. He was rambling, complaining, howling, whining, trying to get through the crate-door but after the second week he finally started to calm down and all I had to do was to hold the crate door and he would go in all by himself.
His life was on the line and either he came around or his destiny was sealed. So how could I turn this dog around? He was challenging me every step of the way, especially since he’s gotten away with it throughout his entire life and it always worked. He was a Bully and he liked walking all over you. One minute he wanted to be petted, the next minute he would snap at your wrist if you reached at his collar.
Not speaking of his horrible housemanners but that could wait, there were other issues that had to be addressed first. Once the obedience sank in, the housemanner problem would be a piece of cake.
Anyhow, at one point he tried to go for my wrist again, that was the point where he and I “had a talk” and I made it absolutely clear that going up my arm was not an option at all. I think that was the moment where he realized that he can’t get away with it anymore.
The second step was to strip him off the food. He was no longer fed, he had to work for every single kibble. If he wanted food, he had to work for it and to take it out of my hand and as we all know, biting the hand that feeds you, is not a good idea either.
Each day we would work in the early morning. If he wasn’t working with me, he was in his crate. There was no more freedom. If he wanted to go outside in the backyard, he had to work for that too. I pretty much took NILIF to the next level and it worked. It really worked.
He actually enjoys working. He loves to work for the food. It turned him completely around. No more going up my arm, no more butthead crazy behaviour, romping through the house. It wasn’t just happening overnight. It was a process. We had a couple of times where he fell back into old behaviour but if he did, he went back into the crate.
He is not a mean spirited dog. Not at all. He was just a young, crazy, wild dog that didn’t have any manners. If he didn’t want to do something, he knew how to get away with it because he was never trained, no one every showed him any boundaries. He was dumped because they were scared off him and he was probably too much for his owners.
It’s cute if a puppy is chewing on your wrist or romping through the house, throwing and tugging on stuff but if you don’t teach those puppies that it’s not okay to go up the counter, that it’s not okay to chew on your wrist and that it’s not okay to literally take everything off the table… that dog, that was once so cute as a puppy, can turn into a not-so-cute dog that literally rules the house with his bad behaviour. And once the damage is done, most pet people are just way too overwhelmed to deal with a dog like that. They have created the monster. But rather than putting the time into that monster, they dump it at the shelter.
Anyhow, it was quite a journey and I’ve learned a lot from him along the way.
We know that he is not for a first time dog owner. He would be too much of a dog. He needs an active home that understands his needs, that continues to work him in obedience, which is truly a joy since he’s so eager to work, enjoying himself and very food-driven. He picks up quickly and has a lot of potential for obedience or freestyle dog dancing.
Also, practicing NILIF is very important with him. It actually calms him down. I can now leave him outside the crate for an entire day and only put him back in over night. I was also able to let him back together with my bitch Indra. There has not been a single fight anymore. It has also gotten to the point where I don’t have to work him every single day anymore. I started to feed him with the others again. However, whenever I do work him, I continue to work him with his very own food.
He has truly come around and is a great dog. Now that he’s got manners, is crate trained, house broken has basic obedience on him and actually listens, it’s a joy to live with that dog.