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Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Lovernose I've Looked For - But in Need of Pina Coladas

Hi! Meet Cooper. Cooperopolis. Super DUPER Cooper. Cooooooo Per. Coop. or COOPER NO! LOL. He is a big puppy who got off to a rough start - mostly because his adopter (me) knew nothing about crating a dog (other than I did not like it). Fortunately, both Cooper and my opinion have changed for the better and as you can see, we are now both enjoying a little quiet time (note the open door - YAY!). Thanks, Beth and Kathy! Sabu, our 9-year old rescue Ridgeback also thanks you for Crating Cooper. More on that later....

Cooper joined our family of three 2-leggeds, two 4-leggeds and one wingnut about a month ago. My kids (Izzi 6 and Zeke 9) adore him - except when he puts his mouth around their bellys, arms or legs and starts to gnaw - at which point they either grab for one of his twenty bones scattered around the house and replace their body part with that - or they grasp his mouth, tell him "Cooper No!" and when they get away, grab for a bone to replace a body part. Any ideas? He is just all puppy - chews on everything - including my great grandmother's dining room table and chairs (head level when standing - may as well keep chewing, eh? ...and head level when lying down whipping your big ole head and the bone around). Help!

I'm enjoying all the posts and pictures. It's fun to share similar challenges - and joys!


At 11/30/2006 4:36 PM, Blogger sibtigre2 said...

Have you tried spraying bitter apple on not-supposed-to-be-chewed-on items?

It doesn't always work but it's worth a try!

Everything you're doing sounds good...he will, hopefully, grow out of it...maybe...someday!

At 11/30/2006 4:56 PM, Blogger Patti said...

I used to spray the bitter apple on my kids feet and hands so they could play with the dog:) Replacing the wrong chew item with the right chew item is the right thing to do. Also, kongs filled with a bisquit take a long time to get out. Bones filled with cheese or peanut butter work great too.

At 12/01/2006 4:56 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Hey, I think I recognize that big silly belly - belonging to none other than Cooper ; )

Melis, yes indeed, you took the off-roads coming to terms with the concept of crating (read: bumpy, destructive, wanna scream at the top of your lungs) ...but you hung in there, asked for help and advice - and prevailed as evidenced by the pic of Cooper's chillin' (even shameless, no?) position in his crate. Ok, ok, so the window blinds didn't (hang in there, that is) but they didn't even stand a chance with a 95 lb frantic pup trying to claw them down to get to his new adoptive mom who was abandoning him (or so he thought) in an unfamiliar crate-house-city-state to take that other dog (read: new RR bro Sabu) for a walk, egads! >>> Sudden onset, situational, Separation Anxiety -- as resilient as these hounds are, Cooper obviously had had enough of being bounced around (18 mos young and had been surrendered by an owner early on, through a shelter, then into foster care) and while he was cool as a cucumber for several weeks in foster care with us, once we changed the rules again and plunked him down into yet another brand new playing field (read: new adoptive home)... he crumbled a bit (imploded?). I am not sure who I felt more sorry for, Melis or Coop, but keeping in touch, talking it through, communicating, brainstorming (basically thinking about it from C's perspective), regrouping and lots of DEEP BREATHS... voila!! A happy, well adjusted, albeit naughty, lovernose reemerged!

And yes, Melis, I do think it called for a Pina Colada (or 10) and had I been in MI with you instead of IA I would have been right over! For those folks out there wondering about the title of Melis' post and all this chatter about Pina Coladas - it ties back to a "jingle" I wrote for Cooper's rescue bio, and by popular request, here it is: Personal ad from RRUS Happy Tails Hotline: Unattached / Livernose / Male seeks Committed / Loving / Adopter . If you love Rhodesian Ridgebacks...and gettin' caught up in rompin' games ~ If you're not much on me fetchin'... 'cause you have hounds on the brain ~ If you like makin' time for ear scratchin'...and goin' for walks down the lane ~ If I'm the lovernose that you've hoped for...fill out my adoption application and explain!!

Kudos to you Melis for your tenacity - take care of your pack - one and ALL !!

At 12/01/2006 4:59 PM, Blogger Beth said...

As for Cooper's desire to chew on things - that should be easy enough to derail since he only has run of the house when you are home (crated in your absence of course)... I suggest employing the SRR method - Startle-Redirect-Reward : you'll have to eagle eye him for all of his free time for a day or so and be consistent (mom's have eyes in the back of their heads anyway, right?). When you spy him gnawing on granny's heirloom table, immediately grab the squirt bottle (which can be hooked to your belt loop, like a holstered weapon, haha), give a good direct spritz on the behind (or directly in the face if you can manage it) coupled simultaneously with the verbals "no, leave it", then as soon as he moves his mouth away from the not to be chewed on object, use the verbal "good" and replace with a sterile shank bone stuffed in one end with a hunk of cheddar cheese (that was his favorite while in foster care!). For the startle mechanism, you can also use the plastic 20 oz soda bottle filled with a handful of pennies, pitch it in his direction (even contacting him with it, he's big, he can take it!) and then proceed accordingly.

As for his mouthing of the kids, replacing said arm with a bone is great... and you might also try telling the kids to just tell him "no", fold their arms and turn their back on him - pause a moment, then turn back around and try to resume contact. If he persists, then repeat but this time walk away and withhold interaction for a good while. Hounds are smart, they catch on.. "hey, they don't want me to play like that, if i do, they stop and leave me". He'll change his play style soon enough - ridgies grow up by the time they are 3 or so... you've only got a year and a half to go : )

At 12/02/2006 4:15 AM, Blogger Mich Melis said...

Thanks, everyone, for your responses! The Kong is working great - and I will try the cheddar-stuffed bone. I FORGOT about the bitter apple - and what a good idea to put it on the kids! I will be out and about today (hopefully getting a Christmas tree - we got nearly a foot of snow here in W.Michigan and is it BEAUTIFUL!) and will stop at the pet store. Turning your back - GREAT ideas! I'll keep you posted!


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