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When You Hear Hoofbeats…

When You Hear Hoofbeats…

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Here, at Casa de Kolchak, we consider ourselves fairly dog savvy.

We dabble in all things dog and we can talk with confidence about food, behavior, training and other doggy topics. Even when we don’t feel comfortable enough to advise people, I’m always eager to be a part of a conversion and exchange ideas. I think I’m fairly well tuned to my own dogs and their needs, wants & fears. There are entire cultures that haven’t been studied with the detail that I’ve studied Kolchak & Felix.

This makes it all the more frustrating when we come up against an issue that I just can’t solve.

We’ve been battling a few behavioural issues on and off for a while now.  One I’ve told you all about – we’ve been trying to train Kolchak to sleep in. I’m not going to lie you guys, it’s not going well. Using all the tricks we talked about in that post, we’ve managed to get Kolchak to sleep until 6 am, but no further. I feel like we’re standing in front of the beardy guy from Lord of the Rings while he shouts “You Shall Not Pass!”

The list of potential reasons was long:

  • Medical reason (ie. diabetes or Cushings, leaving him starving after a long night)
  • Incorrect balance of protein to fat in his raw food
  • Not enough calories being eaten
  • Internal clock, set to dawn o’clock
  • Who knows what!?!?!

We’ve tried everything I can think of – varying his breakfast time, keeping it consistently at 7:30 (just before I leave for work), feeding him two meals or three meals or one big meal. We’ve tried adding pumpkin and green beans to add bulk and we’ve tried using fattier meats to help him feel more satisfied. We’ve tried EVERYTHING – and still? 6 am, like clockwork, he’s up and ready for breakfast.

It’s infuriating.

The other problem annoys Felix more than it annoys anyone.You see, the problem is that after Felix has been to the groomers, Kolchak humps him like he owes him money. It’s awful and embarrassing.

We faced another long list of potential causes:

  • Trying to exert his dominance
  • Extreme stress over Felix being gone for 4 hours
  • Hormone overdrive, since Kol is not neutered. (Here’s why)
  • Attention seeking behavior

We’ve tried everything we can think of – redirecting him, keeping him and Fe on leashes, clicker training, begging, shaking cans of change at him  – EVERYTHING. Nothing helped. As soon as Felix had a bath, Kol had his way with him. No exceptions.

In both cases, we sought the advice of a professional trainer.

We started working with Koly on learning new skills and building his confidence. We taught Fe to sit when Koly mounted him, ending the interaction. I slowly and painstakingly set my alarm 2 minutes later every week to try to creep him past the 6 am mark. We’ve worked hard to address these two issues, which the trainer, the Daddy and I were convinced were behavioural problems.

“When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras”

-Dr. Theodore Woodware

I feel like an idiot.

Recently we found the solutions for both issues and frankly, I’m feeling a tad sheepish. In looking at all the medical and psychological reasons we were having these issues, I over looked the ridiculously simple, right in front of me answers.

Simple Problem:
Kol wakes up at 6 because that’s when the paper is delivered. I assume he’s running to ask for his breakfast, he’s really trying to see if someone is breaking in.

Simple Solution:

I cancelled our paper subscription and put mailbox at the end of the walkway. It will take some work to break old habits, but I sure hope this is the last of this issue!

Simple Problem: 

Felix smells too darn good when he comes home from Dog Gone Beautiful. In fact, he smells so good, I bought a bottle of their finishing spray to use at home after “freshen up” baths. He smells so good that after his bath, Koly goes nuts.

Simple Solution: 

Our groomer Lynn (who is fabulous) remembered that I had mentioned this issue after Felix’s last groom and decided not to use the finishing spray this time, just as a test. JACKPOT. Kol’s not some kind of canine pervert, he just really likes to coconut finishing spray. If we don’t use it, he leaves Felix alone.

While I was off chasing dog training zebras, the answer was in front of me all along.

Have you ever had an issue that you over thought when the solution was breathtakingly simple?

Can you make me feel better by sharing it?? PLEASE?!







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Sunday 23rd of June 2013

We are super early risers but our problem is my cat sis Sophie who wants to get up at sunrise so in the summer we are talking around 4am. No idea how to cure that problem. We are all early risers but not that early! Glad you got your issues resolved!

Pup Fan

Wednesday 19th of June 2013

Oh wow... I hope that you're right and it was the newspaper all along! (Although I will be slightly jealous as I still haven't figured out why my nutjobs refuse to let me sleep. The other day, Tavish woke me up at 3:30 and then just stood in the yard barking at nothing - or at least nothing that I could see.)

Jackie Bouchard

Tuesday 18th of June 2013

Hope the newspaper solution works and he sleeps later. Rita loves to sleep late. It's her best quality. I'm sure we were in a similar situation a time or two, but a witty anecdote eludes me at the moment. You're definitely not alone though!

Gizmo Geodog

Monday 17th of June 2013

Unbelievable...those are such simple fixes ... it would have taken me years to figure them out cause I surely would have been out on a zebra hunt myself...My duh came recently and it's about the flock of ducks that is camping in our front yard...Gizmo was chasing them and while he'd never catch them I was worried he would follow them across the I started taking out a few crackers and having him watch me feed them...once I started feeding them he stopped chasing them...pretty simple fix

Jessica Rhae

Monday 17th of June 2013

Yes. As a matter of fact, I plan to write about one of my DOH moments soon. Not that I will be making a mockery of you, but I will link to your post when I do to prove my point :)

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