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  • Writer's pictureThe Cambridge Dog Lodge

Ren and Barney - Puppy diaries

I couldn't resist using this photo first - I might even print it off for the wall!

Today I took Ren out with her big sister Barney. I think Barney has been feeling a little confused about Ren and how she changes the dynamics of the house. She has been displaying some odd behaviours that are not like her, which is to be expected. It is a big change for the house. I realised last night I needed to do some direct work with her.

I started on a walk with her and Ren this morning. We don't need to walk far as we have some very lovely walks very close to my house. But Ren is still anxious on our own road, thinking about unexpected people, children, other dogs. Ren is not necessarily scared of them, she is just thinking all the time, watching, anticipating (especially after the tree climb last week), and I need to keep her focus on me and make her experience a positive as possible. That's where a tube of Primula came in.

Each time she displayed signs of anxiety, I got her to focus on me, and gave her a little bit of Primula. Just a little. A lot isn't needed, just enough to get a nice taste in her mouth. And it worked. Not 100% but enough to help her walk along, especially when Ren saw another dog and she happily walked along, even letting him say hello.

We got onto the field for walking and again Ren was cautious - we had met a couple of lovely ladies and their collies and one of them new Ren was a Kooiker! Out came the Primula and again Ren sat and waited - but I still let Ren off lead with Barney, making sure there wasn't anything around that might spook her. Ren stayed close at first but once she saw what Barney was doing she ran over.

And that was it, Barney, who doesn't normally play with others, played with Ren.

Barney guided her round the field, and if Ren stopped Barney waited for her. Kept her close and herded her back to me.

Ren still managed to climb on a wall.

When we got home Barney even encouraged Ren to play tug with her.

It was a lovely walk and it felt like a huge step forward, very positive and happy walk.

Using a tasty treat really helped today, a higher value treat that I will only use for these situations. I had other treats but they were not rewarding enough so I had to find something better. Primula for now did the trick, using sparingly, each time it was a situation Ren didn't like or she felt nervous. I would work on getting her to turn to me, making sure she was focused on me before giving her a treat. This will have to continue, mix up the high value treats (I have baked hot dogs for next time) and will be ongoing to help Ren and her socialisation, both outside the house and her own family members - more walks with just her and Barney to build their relationship.


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