Every afternoon between two and three o’clock, my husband and I treat ourselves to a cup of hot tea (we both work from home).
When the whistle blows on the teapot, our dog, Tre (Trey) knows it’s tea-time and wants to join us. He goes straight into his crate and waits to be served.
Of course, he doesn’t get served tea. He gets his special dehydrated sweet potato treat.
I’ve made it no secret that we’ve had struggles with this pup. He became part of our family in June (2021) when he was 21 months old. He never had any guidance. Thankfully, he did come to us housebroken, although he’s had his share of accidents since he’s been here as well.
It’s not like we haven’t tried a lot of different things to calm this very hyperactive, unfocussed dog.
I talked to multiple trainers, who did nothing but condescend to me as if I don’t understand dogs at all. No, I just didn’t understand this dog. I never had trouble training my other dogs for obedience.
We take Tre on three walks each day. THREE. Two of them are shorter walks and one is a long walk.
Even on these 15-degree days (-9c).
We looked into doggy daycare, which so far, we haven’t found one with good reviews.
We looked into agility, but neither my husband nor I are very agile ourselves. We both suffer with chronic pain, and it may be difficult to chase around an agility court with the dog.
Since Tre is a herding dog (Australian Shepherd), we decided maybe herding sheep would be good – maybe help him get out some energy. We found a farm and a trainer and got him involved over the fall. After three months, the trainer told us he wasn’t focused enough, and she wasn’t able to train him at this time.
A herding dog – not trainable – to HERD.
When a trainer can’t even get him under control, we got trouble. The good news is, she said we could take a break and try training him for herding again in the spring.
After all this failing, I hired a dog walker to come a few times a week (now we’re down to once a week). She was not a trainer but very good with dogs. She did a great job of helping to teach Tre how to go on walks. We’re still struggling when he sees critters along the way, but when there are no critters, he walks very nicely by our sides. All due to our dog walker, not a trainer.
Some people suggested giving him a safe space to go to when he goes ballistic from noises and critters out the window. This is where tea-time comes in.
Every day we have our tea, we tell Tre to go in his crate for a treat. This teaches him that the crate is his safe space.
Tre got used to this routine right away. It’s hilarious how every time the teapot first goes on the stove, he gets in his crate. While we’re waiting for the water to boil, he comes out to check why he hasn’t been served his treat yet. When the whistle goes off, he goes back into his crate. It’s adorable.
Now, he does go in there when we need him to calm down, but that doesn’t mean he calms down. He still yips and wails, begging to go outside and catch that squirrel.