This is 100% my fault, as I knew better but “I couldn’t help myself”. I have made a velcro dog of our new addition, Chelly. Now I have to undo the velcro, loop by loop.
He’s been here not quite two months. Dog relations have improved vastly from the first couple of weeks, so that’s good. This is a dog who was not set up for success by his previous owner; he lived in a kennel for most of his ten years and was never taught anything beyond what was necessary for the show ring. And because he had longstanding ear infections that the breeder thought she was treating successfully with early 20th century home remedies, we are not sure how well he hears. Lower frequencies seem to register; if I talk to him in a deep, clear voice, that gets tail wags. Teeth were a horror show. Now that his mouth has healed we’re addressing the ears, so should know soon enough how much hearing he has.
So. I know we probably should have started with ground rules on Day 1. I felt so sorry for him, though, and overindulged. That said, I think it is definitely fixable. I can leave the house and he doesn’t melt down and he hasn’t developed any bad habits. He’s good about going in his crate and sleeps happily in it at night. He’s housebroken. But he is so velcroed to me that SO can’t really make a connection with him, and that bothers both me & SO. For example, if I’m not here Chelly just goes and naps in his crate instead of visiting with SO.
I can reverse a lot of it. As hard as it is, I am going to a “four on the floor” policy: jumping up gets ignored, down on the floor is rewarded. He can’t physically jump up on the bed and I’m not going to start lifting him up there. Treats will be limited to specific times of day or as a reward for some action performed.
But how can we work on creating a bond between SO and Chelly? SO has had English cockers all his life and says he’s never had one so aloof - usually they’re in everyone’s pockets looking for attention. I pointed out to him that dogs are individuals, and this one requires a bit more work to get to know.
So far the plan is for SO to take over at least one feeding/day and we will start to look at training classes once the ears are cleared up. Other ideas? I’m also the primary dog walker, and that might be a little harder to convince SO to take part in.
I would consider starting in-home basic commands now, except for our other dog. She IS a typical ECS, has some training but also insists on inserting herself right in the middle of anything going on.