Basic question on timing of play and training

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Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Tue Jan 19 2016, 10:44

We have a morning routine now established with Una. Wake up at 5, breaky and a snuggle in our bed, then 45 mins to an hour's walk, getting home around 9am and then it's sleep for two/three hours. Two days a week I head into work which seems to work as Una just goes into down time and snoozes until I get back.

The afternoons are more challenging, as when Una awakes or I get back from work we have playtime and training. I'm not doing it right as Una doesn't seem to settle down again afterwards and ends up digging the carpet or chewing something she shouldn't. My gut feel is that I'm not working her head enough.

I was wanting to ask guidance on was suggestions for breaking up the afternoon, say from 1pm to 5pm. I'm going to add a mid day walk around the block starting this week but how would you split out the play and training sessions in the afternoon?

She usually settles again by 5pm as we're coming into her dinnertime and then we're off out for another walk around 6.30/7pm which is again 45 mins to an hour and a mix of pavement (trying to heel) and long leash in the woods or park).

Thanks!
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by smudge95 on Tue Jan 19 2016, 12:44

I found with Buddy after playing or training if I want him to settle I give him a stuffed kong and get him to lay on his bed or in his crate -and often find by the time he has finished licking it to death he has either nodded off or has calmed right down , if he still awake I take him for a little walk and then back home for snuggles and sleepy time
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Tue Jan 19 2016, 20:40

Good point, that works really well for me when I leave Una at home so I could replicate it for the afternoon - thanks Carol! Side question - what do you stuff Buddy's Kong with?
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by LizP on Tue Jan 19 2016, 20:50

I'd try not to be too rigid with timetables. Once animals get into routines, they can be hard to break! Play with her when you have time, add bits of training in here and there (remembering that she is learning and you are training all the time), but don't get fixed about needing to do x amount per day or whatever. It'll be a millstone round your neck if you do.

In between, I'd find 'mind games' for her. Kongs are great and if you find the same as Carol you're sorted. Alternatives include my favourite hiding treats in cardboard boxes or tubes, as they have to work out how to get into them. You can buy activity toys as well, we have a couple and the dogs love them. Have a look for dog activity toys on Amazon, for example. We have the Nina Ottoson ones, they're well thought through and well made. You can also hide treats round a room for her to sniff out.

All these things not only occupy, they stimulate the brain and that is in fact quite tiring.

Does that help?



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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Jan 20 2016, 09:18

Oh that's good to hear about not getting too rigid with timetables - I wasn't sure on the balance of routine and flexibility. Yes you're right, we're training all the time, from taking treats gently, to not barging ahead through doorways.

I'm struggling with working out the best way to manage our afternoons so they are productive for both of us. I hide treats around the room then we play find it, we do the kibble under a container and have just started switching the containers around (pea under eggshells game) and I'm starting to work on the basic commands with just hand signals and no words.

Treats in boxes were great, but Una tends to be a full on destruction as the route to get into them, the boxes don't last long and Una gets a bit hyper so I eased off in case our post got "Una'd", but yes I'll check out Nina Ottoson on Amazon

Una does tend to race through activities and it seems to take a while to tire her brain out, so while I'm working on slowing things down a bit, I'm keen to get enough tools/ideas on hand to work through. At 8 months old I'm guessing she's full on energy with barge in first and think later as her mode of working so hopefully if I stay consistent she'll start using her brain a bit more!

I'm home all day today so we'll see how the afternoon pans out after her lunchtime walk Smile
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by smudge95 on Wed Jan 20 2016, 09:29

its great you are doing so much with her they are like little sponges soaking up everything you do with them - I put various things in buddies Kong - sometimes his kibble sealed with a bit of peanut butter, cream cheese and ham frozen , yoghurt and mashed banana frozen , sweet potato , sandwich spread - he has two types the normal kong you can really stuff and the kong bone where you put treats in the ends - dependant on how much of a rest or he needs or what I need to do time wise , I give which ever one suits - all the hard work you are putting in you are going to have one lovely little lady!
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Jan 20 2016, 09:57

Thanks Carol - Yeah I've tried banana but she got bored before finishing it, but I've got a kong bone in the post which will let me rotate the style and I'll try your fillings. I've just Amazoned a Nina Ottoson toy as well so we'll try that too - thanks Liz!

To be honest, we're shattered and I think Una is too Smile The first 9 days were the honeymoon period and then Una went into jump, bite and hyper mode which I think was perhaps beginning to be her behaviour in her previous home.

It's been a hard couple of months but this forum has kept us going along with an excellent local trainer who is helping us with basic training and socialisation with other dogs ... this past week Una has significantly decreased the pressure she's using with her mouth. It's less a bite and more a hold now which is such a good move in the right direction, I'm so proud of her for working it out. I know we're a work in progress but it's so good to see.
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by smudge95 on Wed Jan 20 2016, 15:11

its worth the effort when they are young - Buddy is still work in progress .. they are always learning no matter their age - but they are very quick learners - consistency is the key - Buddy only tries to nip now when tired and I can read his body language and normally get him in bed before he starts - and he stops playing when I need him to really easily so I can stop him getting over excited in play now which is good ,all the time spent with her will pay off ..
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Jan 20 2016, 20:07

Good to hear - It was very reassuring to see that our dog is just being a normal exuberant staffy puppy and not some demonic entity when she's full on zoomie with nips Smile

I am surprised at how much Una picks up each day, we're not polished by any means but she's really improved from day 1.

Today worked well, we had a walk at lunchtime, visited the vet, said hello to a lady we didn't know and then crashed out for an afternoon nap after a chew on a cow hoof - so I know it can be done, it's just a case of some fine tuning!
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by Elise-R on Wed Jan 20 2016, 21:21

Have you tried shaping? When I train my boy using shaping it tires him out more than our usual training as he's thinking a whole lot more!

Search 101 things to do with a box on google and it'll come up with a fun shaping game you can start with Una, I'm not sure if a clicker is mandatory for it but it sure helps! I played this game with Milo a few times and by the third session he'd learnt to put his back legs into the box for a click and treat Smile

I read before that you've ordered the bone kong- shove peanut butter into the 2 holes on the kong and give it to her, it takes my dog ages to get it out because the holes have ridges.

You've done so much with her already, she'll be a great dog when she's older Smile

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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by smudge95 on Thu Jan 21 2016, 09:19

I have tried the box thing with Buddy -- he prefers to rip it to bits and sit in the middle of the mess like a proud little boy LOL - I agree with the peanut butter in the bone kong ..Buddy loves it
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Thu Jan 21 2016, 10:09

Big Grin That's exactly what Una did - she was so pleased with herself. That's a great reminder Elise, I was going to look at getting a shallow plastic box to try it again - my puppy-brain forgot.

Good tactic on the peanut butter in the bone kong, I'll be doing that! I've a banana and honey kong in the freezer for this afternoon
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by Elise-R on Fri Jan 22 2016, 21:19

Carol- Hahaha why figure it out when you can rip it apart! I'm sure it's much more fun that way anyway Laughing

Ange- What a good idea getting a plastic one! I've always used a cardboard one with Milo and although he doesn't purposely rip it he tends to stand on the side of it or paw at it really hard and rip it anyway Laughing

Mmmm banana and honey, I'd eat that myself! Laughing
How is she doing now in the afternoons? Is she settling any better?? Smile
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by Mia05 on Fri Jan 22 2016, 21:32

id mix the play sessions and walks up everyday less of a routine this way incase you have to do something you forgot mental and physical stimulation works very well Smile

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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Fri Jan 22 2016, 22:00

You're right Crystal - I really like the idea of having less of a routine and as Liz flagged, it would probably cause us upset in the long run if we got into too fixed a plan.

Elise - Una eats better than us, Coconut oil, peanut butter, banana, honey and so on Big Grin

I'm probably going to jinx us, but it's been good the past couple of days. I switched to doing breakfast after our morning walk and that helped her into "settle mode" for longer in the morning and gave us a gentle enter in the afternoon.

We've done a mix of things each day, some days a walk, other days play and training sessions in the garden. I've also moved us from my study/work room to downstairs so Una can look out the patio doors which seems to help break up her day Smile

Kong Bone and Plastic 101 things to do with a box will be next week's fun!

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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by LizP on Sat Jan 23 2016, 08:22

I'd watch the sweet treats. They will make her more active and they aren't needed. A tiny bit is ok, but on a regular basis I'd look for more nutritious and less sugary alternatives.


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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by Elise-R on Sat Jan 23 2016, 10:21

Good to hear she is settling better! Wait till she gets older- I bet she'll become a lazy lump! Laughing When I got Milo he was literally so crazy but with training and him getting older he's calmed down so much! This morning I let him out for his morning 'business' and gave him his breakfast, as soon as he was done he went back up to take a nap Laughing

Let me know how you get on with the plastic box Big Grin
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Jan 23 2016, 16:56

Thanks Liz, that makes sense about sweet things and I don't need Una any more active Laughing I'll let you know if the plastic box survives Elise!
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Tue Jan 26 2016, 21:47

Quick update - the plastic box worked, well it's a cheap rectangular washing up bowl from Tesco. As it's not cardboard it doesn't register (yet) as chew worthy.

We've had head in box, sniff the box, paw in the box, nose boop the box, nose nudge the box and lie down next to box. I've realised that we've focused so much on Una learning to lie "easy" that whenever she's unsure what action we're asking for, she defaults to "lie easy", so we'd a fair amount of that action.

So I think the 101 things to do with a box (washing up bowl) is a win and we'll continue with it Smile
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by LizP on Wed Jan 27 2016, 08:21

It's called thinking outside the box. And maybe thinking inside the box too!


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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Jan 27 2016, 11:04

Exactly - poor wee lass had her head on one side trying to work out what on earth was wanted from her Big Grin
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by smudge95 on Wed Jan 27 2016, 11:23

I tried a plastic box after reading your thread - buddy just picked it up walked round the room with it dumped it in the garden and came back inside to play with his ball... don't think the 101 game is for Buddy LOL
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Jan 27 2016, 20:26

LOL! Well at least he gave it a trip outside Big Grin
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by Elise-R on Thu Jan 28 2016, 21:11

Glad to hear the box game was a success! Since playing it a few times with Milo he's really got into offering behaviours, for the past few days I've been teaching him to walk backwards and since he was picking it up quite well I just waited for him to offer me the behaviour. In the past he would have sat down then got frustrated and barked but I could see him thinking about what he had to do, he gave me a sit then a lie down, then paw, then speak, then he went over to the fireplace and put his paw on it, then lay down on the fireplace (he's never been taught to lie on the fireplace or put a paw on it so i was so surprised that he actually offered these behaviour hahaha, shows he's learnt to think outside the box!) and finally walked backwards, thats when he got the click and treat which made him keep offering this behaviour!
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Thu Jan 28 2016, 21:20

Wow walking backwards - that's not easy with four paws! applause I love hearing what everyone's doing, keeps giving me ideas for things to try in the future.
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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by LizP on Fri Jan 29 2016, 08:06

You should have a look at heelwork to music, Ange. It's amazing what you can teach a dog, especially using clicker. Have a look at this, for example

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgWD6F-paE4&list=PL4140E9F6764ADAA7&index=2

Jaw dropping, isn't it?


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Re: Basic question on timing of play and training

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Jan 30 2016, 16:01

That's so impressive! They are just so smart - I love seeing Una trying to work things out.
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