I asked my audience on Instagram, what you wanted to see on my website. One, which popped up quite a bit was my struggles with the dogs. I thought each dog should have their own post, this way you can see what experiences I have faced with both of them. So here we go, my struggles with Kaya…
If you have been following us for awhile, you’ll know that I always say, Kaya was a breeze as a puppy. And well, she was! She was easy to train, easy to toilet train, she was never a mouthy puppy, and she never destroyed anything. I did my best to keep her busy, and mentally stimulated. I did all the research and my family followed my instructions on how to interact with her. I believe this made her feel like a breeze, along with her temperament and nature. But saying that, we did have some struggles. They weren’t huge but it did make me feel frustrated and annoyed, also it did make me wonder, am I doing the right thing? I’m following everything from what I researched and not everything was going well. What am I doing wrong? These were going through my head when I encountered our struggles. I bet you wondering what I faced! Well there were a few things. The first was
Her Shyness and Confidence
That’s right! Kaya wasn’t always the confident girl she is today. Timidness is actually quite a common trait within White Swiss Shepherds. I did expect it but seeing it in person was different. Kaya wasn’t overly shy but she did feel a bit nervous around crowded places and new people. She would show signs that she wasn’t comfortable in such an environment. At the time, I was new to training my own dog. Kaya was my first puppy, and well, I didn’t want to stuff up. So I read and researched online on how to help her overcome it. Thinking back now, I know I wasn’t perfect and can see where I went wrong. In some situations I may have pushed her too far (which is why she showed signs of being uncomfortable). She just showed signs she didn’t want to be there and that we were out of her comfort zone. I went too fast and she wasn’t ready. I did realize early on what I was doing wrong, and changed my methods, by stepping back and slowly exposing her to new situations, and taking small steps at a time. After this change, I noticed Kaya was improving a lot, she was gaining the confidence and in no time, she became a confident girl who doesn’t care about crowded places or new people. This only happened as I changed my approach to helping her gain her confidence (I chose the method for her to focus on me and ignore the world so she wouldn’t focus on the bad but the good).
Being Off leash and Recall
Yes! I struggled with this too! The main reason we struggled with this as I was over baring. I wasn’t confident in the bond we had and was afraid for my girl to run off (when Kaya was younger – under 1, she would run off and play with dogs, and not come back when called) and never come back. It took me 2 years to really trust Kaya offleash and thinking back I can see why.
- My confidence – Kaya was my “first “dog. She was the first dog I had trained from a puppy. I was scared and afraid if I let her off leash she wouldn’t come back as she used to loved playing with other dogs. I wasn’t confident in my ability to train/engage/and our bond.
- The location – Where I used to walk Kaya when she was younger was at a location which wasn’t fenced. It was also on a main road (on every direction). This also made me scared that she would follow a dog/or car onto the road and get hit by a car (I was afraid about this for so long!).
As you can see, these two factors would play a huge role. Kaya was on a long for such a long time. There were moments where she would run after and play with other dogs and not come back, the me 3 years ago was always frustrated by this. It didn’t happen all the time but it happened (because us as humans, 1 bad thing impacts us more than 10 good things). I was also really scared she would run onto the main road (kids would always play soccer where we walked, and I was scared Kaya would chase the ball if it went onto the road). So my confidence and the location is why Kaya wasn’t fully offleash until she was 2 years old. How did I overcome all this? Well I worked on Kaya’s and I’s bond, our engagement and I showed her I’m the most exciting and fun person ever. If I were more exciting than the world around her, why would she want to leave me? Did I use training tools such as ecollars? No. Instead I used our positive interactions and made sure everytime I called her she was rewarded, no matter how small each recall was. It could of been at home, or inside, she could of been just in front of me, no matter how small, she was rewarded. I also made myself fun and exciting, just so she knew I was the best thing ever. I made it worth coming back to me. Now her recall is perfect, amazing and solid. I can call her off anything, and she will always return to me with just a voice command. I probably could of had Kaya offleash earlier but I just wasn’t confident about letting her offleash on a busy main road. It was a long bumpy journey but we got there.
Oh Kaya, you are such a clumsy dog. You always hurt yourself and make me worry. Do you have any idea how hard it is to see you hurt, while you act like nothing has happened! I know this really isn’t a struggle but it caused me a lot of headache! So I though I should add it in.
Kaya is probably the most clumsy dog you’ll met. When she was a puppy she snapped her canine, luckily it was just her puppy tooth and that it was a clean snap and it fell out a few weeks later (due to teething). But Kaya being the first dog I actually had responsibility for, it made me worry so much! She went to the vet and they said it was just fine. A few months later she actually broke her adult incisior, luckily she didn’t have to have it removed and it doesn’t cause her any pain. I could of had it removed (for cosmetic reasons) but as it wasn’t causing any pain, that didn’t need to happen. Those were her only tooth related injuries. But it doesn’t stop there! There was this one time she came inside and kept sneezing. When I inspected her nose, she somehow gotten a stick stuck in her nose. How you might ask? I have no idea to this day! As we don’t have trees or plants on our property! Also don’t get me started on on how many times we have been to the vet due to foot related injuries. She has scraped, cut and injured her feet more times than I can count. One time she sprained her toe and had to be on crate rest for a week. Another time she tripped and grazed her foot and she was pouring out with blood. Did it phase her? Nope. She acted like nothing had happened. The worst injury was when she sliced her paw up so badly, it had to have 2 surgeries on it (mainly because she chewed and reopened her stitches after removing her cone). She was on crate rest for 1 month. It was hard for both of us as Kaya couldn’t enjoy what she loves best. But yes, Kaya and her injuries have made me worry so much. She is never phased by what has happened but I sure am!