Little dog tales – Peggotty settles in; (but makes up her own rules! part 2).

It’s been five days since Peggy entered our lives as a foster dog that needed a place to stay.  The first couple of days, I have to admit, was somewhat worrisome – not least because, after a few hours it appeared that Peggy was reacting quite aggressively towards Floss and, at the same time, was also being possessive of her food and toys.  I figured this was due to fear issues and knew this wouldn’t necessarily be an easy nut to crack.

The first day, Peggy spent most of the evening under the sofa behind my legs, growling at Floss if she came near.  I had already decided that, until I knew what was what with Peggy, she was not going to be allowed on the sofa, or on my lap and neither was I going to keep picking her up.

I encouraged her out from behind my legs each time and persuaded her to settle further away from me.  If Floss went near the food bowl, or I fed them doggy titbits, Peggy would sometimes growl.

The following morning I took Floss out for her morning walk, leaving Peggy in with a stuffed hoof.  Peeking through the window before I left she seemed fine with this and Floss and I went off for a quick spin across the common.

When we got back, Peggy met us at the door; but then like a rabbit out of a trap, flew to her hoof and stood over it snarling, running briefly back to Floss growling.  I scooped up the hoof and felt a bit gob smacked, if I’m honest.  I didn’t quite expect such a reaction from the tiniest, sweetest looking little dog I’d ever seen. I paused for a while before making myself a cuppa and sat down to decide what I ought to do about this.

Clicker training was definitely the way forward and it was clear that Peggy was going to need some direction and boundaries, with immediate effect!  Having not had any training previously, I needed to ‘charge’ the clicker up.  This involves introducing the concept to the dog or puppy, so that they understand the ‘click’ means a treat will appear straight after.  The click sound can then be used as a marker for when the dog performs the action you are looking for; this might be anything from a simple sit, to assisting with more complex behaviours such as guarding.  You can read more about how to get started with clicker training on our other Holidays4Dogs articles.  More on ‘Peggy Pea’ (she loves peas as a treat!) next time!