Time for another update.
With the extended winter just about done; today has been a heady twenty degrees hopefully we will able to make use of the longer days and warmer weather and get out and about more. Despite being a large dog, we have noticed that Rio needs lots of walking; I normally take him out twice a day but due to the inclement weather the walks have been shorter, especially during week. This results in having uncontrollable bouts of excitement which has often meant he’s had to be excluded from the living room as his ‘play’ is just too rough for everyone. We have worked out that any sort of play with him indoors normally gets out of hand after ten minutes or so resulting in him being dragged out to calm down. He is also still biting during play, which is unacceptable, especially as when he catches you it tends to lead to bruises and skin breaks. Still, we now know the signs he’s going to start playing up and soon take action.
Anyhow, now that Spring has arrived I have started to take him out for longer walks, even letting off to play with other dogs and go chasing rabbits which he seems to love. Unfortunately, yesterday morning we had our first incident of him running off; I let him off in a place I’ve released him many times but on this occasion he decided to go off chasing bunnies into an area not easily accessible. Three quarters of an hour later and I was starting to get worried when I couldn’t find him, only to locate him back at the spot he’d gone from in the first place. For the rest of the walk he stayed quite close to me, clearly shaken by his experience of ‘being lost’ for a while.
The garden is still out of bounds to him; his small patch of grass is now a mud bath and currently ‘electric fenced’ off. We will soon be creating a terraced area there so he will have a little more space to roam. He still continues to dig when he gets a chance on the main lawn so we have had to restrict his access to short periods only. He is quite difficult to get back off though; with even treats not tempting him away from the freedom of the lawn. He did help me with some gardening last weekend though, pulling up dead shrubs and digging the border where I was about to plant some new ones. We definitely have a dog who’s a digger!
Back in March Tina decided that Rio was getting uncontrollable when visitors called; to a point where he was knocking people over in his eagerness to say hello. We have tried different things such as putting him on a lead when people arrive but it only seems to have a temporary effect and as soon as he’s free he’s jumping and biting feet. Normally he’s then excluded until he calms down or our visitors leave. Anyhow, Tina rang a local dog behaviourist and explained the problems we were having with Rio and she said it sound Rio was a ‘reluctant leader’ and she would visit to offer advice and try to help with walking, something Tina is now unable to do since he bit her arm. A week later and ‘Trish’ arrived and within five minutes he had ripped the sleeve of her top, demonstrating the challenge she faced. She offered some suggestions to counter his bad behaviour; being much firmer with him and making him know that the humans are leaders in the family. Also she suggested we make our visitors ignore Rio which will make him lose interest in him. Unfortunately this advise has been difficult to follow as Rio is difficult to ignore when he’s jumping all over you!
Follow-on sessions were arranged, including Trish saying she would bring along her dogs to help with the training but unsurprisingly Trish has failed to turn up to subsequent sessions. I think that may be her way of saying ‘ Rio is a lost cause!’. I would say that some of the stuff she said has been useful although he is still just as uncontrollable at times. Looks like we’re on our own from now on though!
So all in all, it’s not been a great time with Rio recently. He’s a lovely dog when he wants to be, but he is also still very hard work. Hopefully as the Spring turns to Summer and he moves from puppy to adult he will calm down. yeah right 🙂
Until the next update, best regards Graham (& Tina)