Have a mufflewhump
OK, I'll admit I stopped by here with a dog question or 2
We acquired a boxer a few months ago (the one that's taking up most of my profile pic on FB--I finally gave up on getting *all* the Pawloski ladies' faces fully in the pic after trying 5 times ) and, while I know boxers are supposed to be eccentric anyway, there's a few puppyish (maybe) behaviors that drive us (well, me, anyway) nuts.
First, some stuff that you might end up asking anyway. She's about 18 months old, spayed, and purebred, though not papered. We've had her since she was 14 months, and we're her 3rd set of owners, if you count the owner of her mother. Her previous owners had to rehome her because finances dictated that they move thousands of miles away into the home of someone allergic to dogs. Rumor has it that she wasn't taken care of very well, but I don't know how well to trust the source (there's some info she might not know that she's based that assessment on). We're currently living in a very small space, but Penny has access to a large fenced-in area to run around like mad in when the weather's not horrible (we're living in a static caravan, parked in our church's parking lot, so somewhere between a quarter and half an acre). Her leash manners are horrible, but we've had her long enough now that I have to say that that's our fault At least we got the harness off of her, especially since it was too small and I swear it was on backwards (I had to cut it off, because all the adjustments were in the back )
Anyway, she's great with the girls, except for one thing. When she gets excited playing, she opens her mouth partway and starts battering with her teeth. She doesn't bite, and mouths rarely, but getting banged by those canines still hurts, and I end up with crying girls (8 and almost 3) perched on the back of either the sofa or the recliners and an over-excited dog going after their socks. Sometimes I can distract her with her rope bone or one of her other chewies (I refuse to get her any plush toys, because she can't know the difference between hers and the girls', and I won't get her a squeaky toy because I can't stand them), but not always. Distraction/substitution is also how I try to curb chewing on inappropriate things, but we now own some dolls that are partial amputees...
Hm, I didn't realize that this was going to be so long, but just one more topic, if I may...
What's a good way to get a dog to eat enough to get up to a healthy weight, short of adding so much extra stuff to her food that, once she gets up to a healthy weight she won't eat it without the extras? Penny's fairly dainty, so she'd never be past the lowest end of the range for female boxers, and overweight isn't good, I know. You can see her pelvis and easily count her ribs, and that's with putting 3 pounds on her since we've gotten her (this we be why rumor says she wasn't well taken care of, likely). She had been on OKish food when we got her (low end of OK, higher end price-wise) but it had a lot of corn in it, which she (like most boxers, I found when researching after we got her) is allergic to. Just getting her off that and onto a grainfree dry food helped some--no more goopy eyes, better poo, and a lot less gas (she can still fumigate the place if she gets ahold of bread, though ) and some weight gain. The first time we weighed her, she was 39 pounds--at the last weighing, she was 42 (she may have gained more since--I should probably weigh her again soon). I give her a measured amount of food and then leave it for her to eat, refilling it with a measured amount once the bowl's empty again, which can be anywhere from 24-48 hours (though better since I switched to a wider bowl ) The amount I measure out is in the middle of the range on the food bag for dogs 40-50 pounds (looking at Penny, 45 pounds would be about right on her frame).
for reading all this
Have another mufflewhump.
As I haven't met her, I can't advise on behaviour, especially where children are concerned - there are a lot of reasons for the biting and unless I can see a dog I won't know why, so I won't know how to help you. It's also hard to comment on feeding, has she seen a vet to rule out a medical problem? I don't want to advise a feeding regime and then find I've killed her because she's ill!?
You don't mention how much exercise she gets (running around her own garden/yard is not exercise). Exercise needs to be physical and mental, so she needs new sights sounds and smells as much as movement, if she's very thin she'd need lead walking, which might be a problem if she's so horrible on lead. She needs to walk to build up muscles properly - both back legs moving independently rather than bouncing together at a run.
Sorry I haven't been much help, but I'd feel awful if I gave you advice and it was wrong for your situation and made things worse.
Fair enough I'm pretty sure the not-quite-biting is worse when it's been too nasty out to go outside, so it's most likely misplaced energy. Trying to work with her on getting better on the lead is frustrating, because she's not motivated by treats (trying to clicker-train her, but likely will have to start all over again because it's been so long, again)--once she gets the first, she doesn't care if she gets any others. What we need to do is find someone like you here locally, and find out how much it would be--I do know we can't afford to fly you here
And it was past time I said hi over here, anyway!
It doesn't have to be food to reward your dog. I prefer toys, but have used a drink of water, going to play, sniffing, licking my face... Whatever the dog likes to do! Remedial lead work is often done with forward motion being the reward. I can tell you how to find a good trainer if you like. I feel bad I can't help, on wet weather days have you seen any of my activity articles?
I don't have a lot of online time, unfortunately, so I hadn't even thought to look
Knowing stuff to ask would be great--I'd be extremely surprised if you knew anyone near Crescent City, California
Other than me, of course...
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