Castiel is now home.   Leave a comment

Castiel arrived home yesterday.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t be home to meet him–I had to work.  This made me sad, but I survived.  He’s beautiful.  He’s sweet.

And he chews everything! He’s also a ‘steal pee-er.’

We’re working on the chewing.  I was expecting it.  He’s an 8 week old puppy.  They chew things.  So we went out and bought him toys to chew on.  He’d rather chew on our bike tires (we keep our bikes in the apartment because there’s no safe place to keep them here), our dustpan, our clothes and us.  So the name of the game right now is redirect, redirect, redirect, redirect and ignore him when he chews on us.  We’ve added a plastic pop bottle to our list of ‘acceptable chewies’.  He likes to chase it when we toss it.

I’m having some issues with bite inhibition–traditional bite inhibition won’t work with him because he doesn’t respond to a ‘yip’ sound.  I’ll be consulting trainers for this, but, for now, the response we’re using is to remove whatever he just nipped and then ignore him until he does something else. We’re doing a LOT of rewarding him for good behaviour to make sure that poor behaviour is not nearly as appealing as good behaviour.  We’ll be meeting with some new friends of ours who have trained their deaf danes without help (and trained them pretty much perfectly) for advice and assistance and we’ll start puppy classes next month.

As for housebreaking, well, that’s a challenge wholly unrelated to his hearing!  Castiel pees on the sly.  I don’t mean by that that he goes to a corner he can’t be seen and pees (we don’t let him out of our sight in the flat).  I mean that he doesn’t sniff or paw or even squat before he starts peeing.  We’ve got him on a timer when he’s awake right now.  Every ten minutes, he goes out.  He gets a couple of minutes on a patch of grass outside and, if he pees, he gets loving and a little fragment of a chicken dog treat (pure baked chicken).  We had a couple of accidents last night while we adjusted to the stealth peeing and discovered a timeline that worked for him (fifteen minutes is too long–we kept missing him by literally one minute), but, knock on wood, no accidents yet today.

Castiel slept through the night very well, between us in bed (so we could take him out right away when he woke up to catch him peeing and be able to reward him for peeing outside).  We’re currently following umbilical or tethered training techniques because we want him to learn to look to us before doing anything.  We need for him to learn to look right at us so we can give him commands.

We’re working on teaching him to sit right now and, when greeting people on walks, we don’t allow him to put his paws on people at all.  The number one thing we’re trying to remember with training Castiel is that, while he’s small right now, he is growing up very quickly.  If it isn’t something that would be okay for a 150 lb dog to do, then it isn’t appropriate for him to do now.


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