One-year-old Lola doesn’t put herself out at all. She often seems to be lazy and almost depressed, though can have quite a turn of speed if she wants to! She does what she wants, when she wants and can get cross if physically forced to go somewhere she doesn’t want to go – like out into the garden to toilet or into the ‘dog room’ when people are eating. She lacks any motivation to do what her humans want but that may be in part because they usually do what she wants anyway.
Lola lives with a lovely family and two adorable Shitzus, ten-month-old brother and sister Frankie and Bella who seem to have defied all the negatives concerning taking on sibling puppies and are a tribute to their owners – no trouble at all. It is characterful Lola who is causing them the grief.
She has learnt that barking gets people coming to her and giving her attention – even if it’s in the form of scolding. She starts at 5am which gets someone coming downstairs and, after letting them all out, feeding her.
She also messes in the house and will bark afterwards which also always gets a result by someone going to her and giving her attention of some sort. Interestingly, she never toilets indoors when everyone is out.
It’s easy to jump to conclusions that problems are behavioural, but although the toileting indoors has always happened, it’s just possible that there is something else going on with Lola that needs to be eliminated first. She has become very thin over the past few weeks – impossible to see from the photo. The vet has checked her over and put her on hypoallergenic food and, far be it for me to question a vet, I do wonder whether she’s absorbing her food properly and whether the chosen food is sufficiently nutritious. She is always hungry.
Is it possible the early morning barking which always brings her food may be due to hunger?
I suggested as an experiment that they both try feeding her a small amount at bedtime along with changing the central heating timer to come on a bit later just in case that is what starts her off. Whatever the reason, the barking works. People come to her. She gets fed. She is being taught to bark.
The fact that Lola still toilets indoors is getting them down. They take her outside regularly, or try to – she may refuse, but she still prefers to go in the house. A regular routine in terms of daily walks may help. The other issue is that she has very little interest in doing as they ask or wanting to please and possibly the two things are related.
But…..they don’t use chicken or cheese – yet!
Lola is very food orientated and I am sure once she realises that she gets an edible ‘thank-you’ for complying she will be a lot more focussed. Instead of ignoring them she will come when she is called, she will go outside when asked to and, in time, she will find toileting outside is more rewarding inside.
NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Lola, which is why I don’t go into exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).