Boisterous pup, patient older dog and Christmas

The lady has a 12-year-old black Labrador, Ginny. Her son, who doesn’t live with her, recently got himself a boisterous black Labrador puppy. Bobby is now a very large five months old.

boisterous pupThe lady has a quiet life with elderly Ginny – that is until the son drops boisterous Bobby off! This may happen a couple of times a week.

As soon as he arrives there is bedlam.

The boisterous pup constantly leaps on Ginny who gives as good as she gets until she’s exhausted. Bobby is relentless.

The night before the lady called me, the two dogs were still at it in her bedroom at 3am!

Bobby’s excitement is the root cause of the problem. All the time I was there, for getting on for three hours because I was constantly working on him, Bobby jumped up at us, up at the table and all over Ginny.

The poor lady doesn’t know what to do. To begin with she needs some tactics.

Tactics

Everything starts off uncontrollable when the son drops Bobby off. The pup is wild with excitement. 

So my suggested tactic is that they meet down the road and have a short walk before going into the house together. On walks Bobby is less boisterous and leaves Ginny alone.

When the lady lets the dogs into the garden, especially at the end of the evening, immediately the boisterous Bobby is on Ginny and racing round the garden. In this highly aroused state the lady takes them upstairs to her bedroom for the night …..and the dogs riot, or at least Bobby does.

So, my suggested tactic is for the lady to take Bobby outside on a lead and then give him time to calm down with a chew before bedtime.

At my suggestion, the lady now has gated a doorway.  Both dogs fuss if one is shut away but a gate is less excluding. Now they can have things to chew and do separately without Bobby nicking everything Ginnie has – or jumping on her. Bobby desperately needs to chew and work on things with his mouth and nose in order to help him to self-calm.

Although the young man doesn’t himself mind the jumping up and excitement, he needs to help his mum. She can’t do it by herself. 

Everything he can do to calm Bobby down at home will help the behaviour between the two dogs. This in turn will help his mother. Ginnie is amazingly tolerant and obviously loves Bobby.

Ways to control the boisterous Bobby

To sum up, management like with the gate will make a big difference. So will controlling with a lead the wild rushing out into the garden.  Taking Ginny down the road to meet Bobby when he’s dropped off should deflate excitement.  If there are a lot of people in the house over Christmas with nowhere to put Bobby, attaching him to someone’s waist and going hands-free may be the answer.

They will teach boisterous Bobby some self-control. This isn’t done by commands but by working out for himself what works best and being well rewarded and reinforced for the desired behaviour.

They will make a start on calming the situation down and getting through Christmas. In two or three weeks I will go again and we will see how things are going and whether they need to do more.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out here. Finding instructions on the internet or TV can do more harm than good sometimes. One size does not fit all  – every dog is different and every family or owner is different. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Help page)

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