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Our spoo (Leeroy) is only about 14 months old. He's a rescue that was first neglected and then treated harshly when he needed love and patience. We are his 3rd family. So he submissive pees in the morning if I make eye contact with him or approach him. Thankfully he didn't do that this morning, I feel we've really made some progress already. We've only had him for about a week. I know he's just scared.

That's some background info. So we're trying very hard to watch our tone of voice and body language so he doesn't freak out. He's very nervous and shy.

At dinner time he gets very beggy. And I mean he'll go around to every family member and try to get in their face and almost in their plate. I know this is typical dog behavior, but it disrupts meals. It especially frustrates our kids. He also gets kind of stubborn when we try to have him sit or go to his bed while we eat. I'd love some suggestions. It's a constant battle to get him to not be in everyone's plate.

Also we have 2 rescue cats that are purely indoors. We've had them for years and they are like my second set of children. One is a senior and the other a runt and they are very interactive and enjoy being out with the family a lot. But since Leeroy has been here there a bit of a disruption of course. I feel bad for the cats. Initially the cats were the boss and Leeroy acted like he knew his place with them (when he was a puppy his friend was supposedly a cat). But ironically as we train him he's getting more confident, and so now when he's interested he gets in the cats' faces. If the cat wants to run away he gives a little chase. He does the forward pose with the tail up like he's ready to play chase. I know he means well but it makes me nervous. I know he doesn't see them as prey because sometimes he walks right by them or they're out in the room with us as Leeroy sleeps at our feet.

We did block our bedroom door so it only opens wide enough for the cats, their food and litter box is in there. And that way they have somewhere to go. But I'm still nervous. I'm not sure I'd ever want to leave him alone with our kitties. But maybe his intensity is due to his first ever confidence boosts and his young age..?

Our senior cat sometimes runs around the house and both of them love to play with us. I am terrified that of Leeroy sees that he'll want to play with them and could kill them. If anything happened to our cats I'd be devastated.

Anyway thanks in advance for any help. I appreciate it.

Oh.. ps... Yesterday we started letting him play with the dog across the street. They run around like crazy and have a blast together. I hope that won't affect how he treats the cats..?

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Ah, the dog and dinner battle. I remember this with our two puppies. Drove us batty for a while. Then I remembered my dogs do not have to eat their meals from bowls. In the morning, I mixed together dry dog food, wet dog food, bits of meat and chicken broth. I stuffed this slurry into Kongs. Then I wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in the freezer. While we ate dinner, the puppies went to work on their frozen Kongs. Those saved my sanity.

I also helped create an addiction to lying down on a mat by feeding my dog tiny pieces of chicken every other second for half an hour every day. Then I stretched it to every third second. This was a nightly ritual while I watched TV. Drop a snack, pause, drop another snack. Slowly, I stretched the time out between treats. Then I made it totally random. It took a while, but now when I unroll the dog mat, Noelle dives on it and lies down. Noelle is addicted to her mat. Between creating a mat addiction, and frozen Kongs, dinner got much more relaxing for us.

With the cats, work on Leave It. Arm yourself with small pieces of meat and a crumpled piece of paper. Set the paper down on the floor and wait for your dog to sniff it. Just before the dog sniffs the paper, say, "Leave it," and offer a treat. Move the paper to another spot and do it again. And move it, and repeat. Leave it means to turn away and look to you for something better. With a cat, say, "Leave it," and offer a reward for turning away from the cat.

I'm so glad you rescued this dog. Good for you! And running around like a mad man with another dog will wear him out and make him less interested in cats. Dogs and cats can be excellent friends. A few months ago, I was sitting on the bed with Noelle and Fresh Air. Suddenly I heard Fresh Air purring like crazy. I wondered what on earth was making him so happy. Then I saw Noelle was petting him! Good luck and keep up the training.
 

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Excellent advice from Click, as always.

I would add to make sure there are plenty of safe places for the cats - up high, through baby gates, even under furniture. The trigger for chasing is the cat running - the shorter the distance the cats have to go to find a place where they feel it is safe to turn and tell him off the less danger there is of him getting carried away. Reward the pup for calm, gentle interactions, and distract him if he begins to get too focused. Does he have a crate? If it is possible to make his crate a comfy, happy place then I would settle him there with a Kong while the cats get some time relaxing with you. I would not leave them alone together for months yet - you are all still learning about each other, and it is much better to be cautious.
 

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I also have indoor cats and a 9 month old stpoo. Our house we use the word NO or leave it. He i very curious about the cats but they tend up for themselves now. I do have to watch but they can now lie about and he will go sniff but then I say no cat. I crate my boy when I can't watch him or I leave the house as he is till young and will eat anything, including my house and belongs. You can also teach you boy the place command. Use a mat or rug and he will learn to just stay on it when you tell him. You can google it to learn how to teach it. I have just started using a pet convincer, it a spurt of air when he has a unwanted behavior, squirt/NO (not too close to him though). I have only used it 1x myself and all I have to do is have it on me and he n o longer jumps. I'm not sure if it would work for you as it does scare them and Leeroy being new and a rescue I'm not sure, some of the trainers here may have some better ideas. Good luck with him and he is a handsome poodle.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you all for the great ideas. I love the Kong idea especially for dinner time.

Our cats do have smaller cat trees, chairs, and they do sometimes sit on the table. I also rigged our room to have the laundry basket keep the door mostly closed so the cats can go in there if they need space..their litter and food is in there too. Ever since I did that the cats ironically come out more. Right now Leeroy is sleeping at my feet and our kitty that was most nervous about him is laying on her kitty tree platform next to me.

They're making progress but yes I am still terrified to leave them alone.

I love the picture of the kitty and poodle cuddling. I hope it gets like that for us too. I do have some hope in my heart, as our senior cat (Rex) who normally doesn't come out for or get near anything he's afraid of, came up close to leeroy and they sniffed noses. Rex even came out the night we adopted Leeroy. That shocked us..I assumed he'd hide for days.

I love the paper training for leave it. That's fantastic we'll have to try it. We also try to make sure to pet our cats and talk calmly to them in front of him when they're getting nervous (helps give the cats confidence too). That seems to help a bit.

Anyway thanks again for the ideas!

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Oh. I meant to add that I'm not sure about a crate any time soon. The reason being that he was neglected and left in one pretty much 24/7 until he was 8 months old. When I get him near anything with a bar pattern on it (water drains, bridges, etc) he freaks out. He gets down on his belly and crawls and cowers like he's being abused. So we're going to keep taking it a day at a time.

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Definitely better not to bring a crate into the house if that has been his experience. I would clear a shelf or two out of his reach and put a non slip surface on them for the cats, and make sure there are always escape routes they can use but he can't. It sounds as if they are all learning to get on together very well, but as he gains confidence he may try more overt play.
 
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Yeah he was scared of the cats at first but his confidence has piqued his interest. He does walk by them sometimes like they're not there though. So I'm just keeping a very close watch.

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An update...

So for the leave it command, I'd been working on it with him when we do walks. That way he doesn't mess with poo or trash. So I tried the crumpled paper teaching technique and the first time I drop it, he immediately backed off when I said leave it. So then I tried a couple other times and he'd look at it but not even approach it. Tried it again about an hour or so later, and he only had to be reminded (barely) once and again he quickly remembered.

He did go after our runt kitty in a playful way like he was going to do the nip that dogs do when they chase each other. I'm not sure why the cats lost their confidence. They were a lot more assertive when he was brought home.

It does seem that they're slowly getting their confidence back though with our bedroom door being blocked off for only the cats to enter. I do hope that Leeroy doesn't figure out that he can bust the door open.. but I keep an eye on him and when he acts like he wants to push through I say leave it and he stops.

Phew.. my kids are 15 and 13 and I feel like I've rewound time and I have a toddler again lol!

I do think he has a lot of major puppy behavior because we're really the only ones that have given him the training, affection and patience he never had as he was growing up. It's only been a week for him and he's 14 months old. That is a lot of time to make up for. He's like a little puppy in a big dog body.

I'm pooped. Lol!

But it's fun to see how quickly he learns and how affectionate he is. I am grateful that we are a able to stay home with him so often.

I'm just hoping that he and the cats become buddies. That would be a dream.

Oh, I want to add an update regarding dinner manners. So he did make his rounds to each of us with the sniffing and puppy eyes... When he got too close to one plate we said leave it and he backed off. But we kind of ignored his begging (rather than telling him to sit or petting him etc) and he gave up and sighed and rested on his pillows instead. He literally quietly stayed there until we were all done eating. I was shocked.

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It sounds as if the old adage "Reward what you want to continue, ignore what you don't".is working for him.

I have a dog and a cat curled up together on my lap at this moment. I suspect that as Leeroy gets more settled the cats will come to appreciate having a large, warm, fluffy sibling to curl up with!
 
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It sounds as if the old adage "Reward what you want to continue, ignore what you don't".is working for him.

I have a dog and a cat curled up together on my lap at this moment. I suspect that as Leeroy gets more settled the cats will come to appreciate having a large, warm, fluffy sibling to curl up with!
Lol yes!

And goodness that so neat. I hope it works out that way for us too.

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OH MY GOODNESS the Kong filled with stuff is a life saver! By not giving him attention around dinner he's already calmed down a lot and often gives up and lays on his pillows.. but this time we got him a Kong.. we all sat down with our plates and he was already on his pillows... We gave him the Kong and he is still going at it. For about 40 minutes. It's amazing.

I think I'm going to be sure to only give it to him after he is calm on his pillows, too. And after everyone has their food.. as suggested.

I might use this trick when we treat the cats too.

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I am so glad that worked for you. It's quite the pacifier, isn't it? You might want another Kong just to make it easier on you. One to stuff and one to wash.
Lol yes! I was mentioning the exact same thing to my husband after dinner. So I'll be collecting another one soon!

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You could always use a baby gate, and gate him some place cozy with his bed and kong while you are away. Lure him in there by tossing in a hand full of small dog treats, then hand him his kong. So he can't chase the kitties, but isn't crated and stressed out.
 

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You could always use a baby gate, and gate him some place cozy with his bed and kong while you are away. Lure him in there by tossing in a hand full of small dog treats, then hand him his kong. So he can't chase the kitties, but isn't crated and stressed out.
The problem is that aside from the bathroom we don't have a safe room for him to be in by himself while we're away. But thank you for the advice. :)

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