Saturday, December 10, 2016

Barley and Rye: Week 1

Last weekend, I wrote about our first day of training the sisters to live together in parts 1 and 2. Rather than doing daily posts and overwhelming everyone with posts that say almost the same thing every day, I'm going to do weekly posts with cliff notes versions of our progress for each day with bigger posts on anything major that might happen.

Day 2
We resumed with our hand feeding starting with Rye in the crate. She was very reactive again while Barley was much quieter. It didn't take as long for Rye to settle down this time, but any time Barley moved any closer to the crate, she'd start all over. Barley loves meal time, so she was not happy about these delays in being fed. Finally, she stood up, snarled, and walked away. Rye was silent after that. Shortly after that, we switched so Barley was in the crate. Rye decided she was scared of Barley after that and when it was her turn out of the crate, Rye wanted to lay down in the hall around the corner from the crate. Eventually, I got her back in the living room and she'd come take food close to Barley, but as soon as she ate it, she'd back away a couple feet again. I'm happy to see she's respecting Barley's space, but I don't want her to get in the habit of running when she sees Barley because Barley will chase her and pounce on her. Dinner went equally well and Rye was more comfortable being closer to Barley.



Day 3
With the weekend over, we just didn't have any time for hand-feeding breakfast before work, so we only did one session. There wasn't much new to report. Rye was still unhappy during her turn in the crate, but she settled down much more quickly. She still didn't love when Barley moved, but it didn't take as long to get her focused again when Bar did move.

Day 4
We had an unscheduled training session with awesome success from both dogs. I got home from work between my classes and went to take Rye outside. She's quick, though, and now that's she's mastered the stairs, that's where she wants to be. Barley was upstairs in the bedroom in her crate--but the bedroom door was open. I wasn't too worried about Rye going up because I knew Barley was secured, but I was worried about how Barley would react. I stood at the bottom of the stairs for a second and held my breath. There was no snarling, no barking, no growling. Just silence.

I grabbed a handful of treats and went up the stairs. Barley was in her crate with a toy in her mouth, wagging her tail. Rye was romping around the room after one of Barley's treat dispensing balls. Normally, Barley doesn't like for anyone--even Soth--to go near those, but she seemed unfazed. I told them how good they were and everyone got treats.

Rye continued to show a lot of stress in the crate during our dinner training session. She panted and barked. Eventually, she calmed down, but she was far from relaxed.

Day 5
I emailed our trainer a progress update. She was also concerned about Rye's stress in the crate, so she suggested we move to Phase 2--using the gate between the kitchen and the living room, swapping who was on the same side as me. When Barley was in the kitchen and Rye and I were in living room, Rye was fine. She ran down the hall and went upstairs to look for a toy, completely ignoring Barley and the food. Then she came right back and plopped down in front of the gate ready to work. When I put Rye in the kitchen and went to get Barley, Rye got very frantic--bouncing up and down, barking, pacing. Barley was so patient and sat calmly by the gate and then laid down to get her kibbles. It took less than a minute for Rye to settle down.



Day 7
Fridays are work from home days, so we got to do a breakfast and a dinner session again. I started doing some relaxation games with Rye in the kitchen before letting Bar out, but they didn't seem to make her any more relaxed when I went to go get Barley. Otherwise, it was more of the same from Day 5. It didn't take too long for the dogs to settle.



Barley occasionally snarked at Rye when Rye would get distracted and delay handing out of kibble, so once the dogs have calmed down at the beginning of a training session, I've started waiting a few seconds between dishing out kibbles. Usually, Barley wants to stare at Rye during those countdowns, but she's starting to realize that when she looks away from Rye and looks at me instead, she gets another kibble and we get back to feeding.

Our trainer has given us a few other things to work on via email, but right now, they're not things that I feel comfortable trying--like having both dogs on leash laying down and relaxing on either side of the couch while I give periodic treats. Rye doesn't know how to relax--I've literally only seen her sleep in the mornings when we snuggle back up in bed after I take her out early in the morning; she's never just fallen asleep in the living room. I'm hoping that when we're at my parents' for the holidays we can do some of that work with an extra set of hands to dispense treats so we can have a little more distance between the dogs.

The progress is slow, but I can tell both dogs are becoming more used to seeing each other and Rye's definitely learning to respect Barley's space. More importantly, though, Barley's learning that she can reprimand Rye for being an annoying puppy without putting her mouth on Rye and Rye will cut it out.

13 comments:

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    1. That's what I keep trying to remind myself, but patience has never been my strongest point!

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  2. Much sympathy from this corner -- I also have one who doesn't seem to sleep and it really does shake up your world! So glad they seem to be getting comfortable with each other. Is Rye stressy in the crate when Barley isn't around?

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    1. Yes! I miss my afternoon naps!

      Rye is fine in her crate when it's bedtime or I leave for work, but the second I put her in for training with Barley--even before Barley is out--she freaks out, even if I follow the same routine I use when putting her in her crate for other times. It's very strange.

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  3. It sounds like things are going pretty well! Bringing home a new dog is always a little nerve racking but I think with you taking things slowly it will get easier as everybody gets used to each other.

    How is Soth doing? What does he think about Rye?

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    1. Soth and Rye are partners in crime. When Rye first got here, they went nose to nose and then Soth followed that with a slap. Rye seemed to know that he's the boss around here (which our trainer also noted when she was here!) and now they play all the time. Rye will bring him toys and Soth will lay on top of them or drag them into a box and smack her if she tries to take them back. They chase each other around the house. I have to watch them pretty carefully because Soth is older and gets tired of playing more quickly, so when he starts hissing at her, I know it's time to refocus Rye, but it's been a pleasant surprise!

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  4. Yay for progress! As you know, I know too well about having to be patient and slow, and how frustrating that can be. Hang in there, you'll get there!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. It's much easier being patient knowing that other people understand that struggle--and have seen big successes from it--too. Thanks for the encouragement! I definitely need those reminders right now :)

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  5. I'm glad they are doing so well! I'm glad they have you to take the time to work with them!

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    1. You might not think they're doing so well when you see the training up close and personal and hear the tiny terror lose her mind!

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  6. I am glad you moved away from the crate. Some dogs really get nervous being confined like that with other dogs loose. I hope it continues to go well.

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    1. We're still occasionally using the crate since I'm planning on signing her up for agility classes once we get through a few obedience classes--and if we ever want to go to a trial, she'll have to be in a crate with other dogs coming and going. Barley hasn't learned that skill--she panics if I even look at a crate in class--so I figure it's easier for Rye to learn to be calm in a crate with other dogs out at home so she has some sort of foundation for when we get into class. Rye's nerves seem to have more to do with me walking away from her (even though she doesn't do this when I leave for work) than Barley's presence because she gets just as wild when I put her behind the gate in the kitchen and walk away to get Barley. She's a strange little beast!

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    2. That sounds very much like Freighter lol. Jealousy. They learn that one early. Freighter is excellent in crates except when he figures out you are going hunting with the other dogs and not him or at a test when he has to wait his turn. I have no really good advice there except get a stronger crate....lol. It is good Rye is not crate aggressive. I have seen that develop in some dogs. Hard to fix too.

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