Originally Posted by VickyH
Bella is nearly seven months and shows no sign of calming down. She is mischief all the time, steal everything, chews everything. I need to have a constant eye on her. And I am sorry to say I don't think I can cope anymore. Even when I think I have put everything out of reach, she will find something.
Yupyupyup, life with (part) Bichons. I kept expecting Calypso to calm down. Puppies learn to cuddle, learn to settle, right? They can be trusted on their own in the house at around six months, right? Bwahaha my dog would like a word with you...
I don't know if you've read my posts in the behavior or training forums, but in case you haven't: Calypso has a little (read: big) problem with getting overexcited, to the point where she's just not in control of herself. It's the "positive" side of reactivity, basically (in that it's not based in fear). With Bella's behavior in the garden especially, I wonder if something similar could be going on? That she just gets so stimulated she can't *think* enough to be able to learn?
What is working--very, very slowly, but it is working--is sort of a global approach to training calmness and impulse control. Yes, there are still many moments when Calypso drives me to despair with the excited bouncing and inability to listen, but I see definite progress.
This is stuff like having to sit and stay in place
while I put her leash on before walks, while doors are being opened, while I get her meals together, etc. It is getting out the training treats, letting her smell them and go wild, but sitting quietly with a book until she calms down before I start the actual training session. It is definitely
still using her playpen or giving her bully sticks to chew on when all else fails.
I am also working through the training program described in
, which is an approach to teaching calmness with some intermediate steps (there are more reviews at the US Amazon page if you're interested). It involves training the dog to settle down on a mat (I use a pillowcase) first, and then gradually phasing out the using of the mat until the dog can settle on command. I have to say that while Calypso is a champion at "see mat, lie down on mat, wait eagerly for treats," she cannot seem to relax on it. HOWEVER, since we have started trying this, with daily practice, she has gotten much faster to settle down on her dog bed or in her playpen. She also has chosen a couple of designated "I lie down here when I want you to pay attention to me and teach me tricks (i.e. give me food) but if you don't notice I will start chewing things very soon" spots, which is new and wonderful
Maybe that book could be something that would help you? If you read through the preview pages you could see if it sounds like the author is describing Bella.
The point of the book is to get the dog to a stage where it *can* think, it *can* learn--in other words, to enable Bella (and Calypso) to tune in to themselves and understand that the freezing means "nipping=>playtime's over".
Depression is not stupid or silly, it's a medical condition exacerbated by annoying things like a puppy who acts like a puppy. Venting is good, as is pounding Play-Dough or setting aside a little bit of you time and NOT feeling guilty about using a crate or playpen when necessary as long as it is a positive experience for the dog.
And really, it sounds like a playpen or ex-pen would be *hugely* helpful to you. I would never in a billion zillion years have survived Calypso's puppyhood without it. (I only need to use it now about once a week for a couple of hours, usually when the weather has been so bad that her walk was drastically curtailed or happened too early in the day).
I don't know about "ending," but it does get better. Victory!: the first time Calypso ever in her life settled enough to fall asleep on the couch. That picture is from last Sunday, by the way.