Tye-Tye’s Total Training Transformation

August 25, 2023 | General,Pet Guides | Cari Evans
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Tye-Tye’s Total Training Transformation

This is our dog Tye’s total training story. Tye  is our 3.5 year old Aussie Doodle. Tye has been a challenging dog for our family, not because he’s a bad dog but because of reasons completely out of his control. Tye’s behavior issues included: counter surfing, marking constantly (inside and outside), resource guarding our daughter, “bullying” our lab and not letting her play fetch, keep a toy or a treat to herself, whining and crying excessively when he couldn’t be right next to us, pretty much classic separation anxiety, barking and frightful growling at visitors coming to our home, even small children neighbors who came to our house almost daily, Nervous Nibbling on peoples hair and clothes, forcing a hand to pet him or touch him if he wasn’t getting attention, barking while home in the kennel by himself, and counter surfing. He was a hot MESS.

Setting The Stage

For some background on our family dynamics, Tye was our first “designer” dog. Our other two dogs were hunting breeds, trained by a professional before they were six months old. Tye on the other hand we picked up from the breeder when he was 11 weeks old, right on the brink of the COVID-19 Pandemic. He fit into our family wonderfully. A lot of personality and loved playing with our then 2 year old English Setter, Mack. That next week our life threw us for a loop due to the COVID shut-downs. Our kids aged 9 and 11 were no longer going to in-person school. At-home, online learning lasted almost the entire first two years of Tye’s life. Meaning he had someone home with him almost constantly.

His Home at Home

Tye was crate trained from day-one. He wasn’t using it very much during the day but always for bedtime. He had a secondary, sleeping crate in our daughters room. Officially he is “her” dog. We have always been advocates of crate training and it’s always been a huge benefit with our dogs. He didn’t like being in it if it meant he was missing out or couldn’t see everyone, but at night he was happy going to sleep in his crate. This was also the only time we knew for sure he couldn’t terrorize our house with counter surfing or marking.

When It Went Wrong

At age two, is when Tye’s behavior started to spin into a downward spiral. When the kids returned to a normal school routine Tye started to struggle to stay calm or content. This is when we started to notice his marking behavior in the house. In fact, it got to a point where he and our setter were both marking inside! It was like he taught our other dog to do it or they were just having a pheromone war everyday in our house. Talk about a nightmare for this dog momma. The last straw was one day when Tye marked on Millie our spayed female lab right in front of me. At the time I was thinking, this macho match is over boys! Unfortunately, getting them neutered did not fix the marking problem. I opted for keeping Tye in a reusable male wrap at all times when he wasn’t in the kennel. This worked great to keep urine out of our house but it wasn’t a long term solution.

Freedom Isn’t Free

We always kenneled Tye up when we left or tried to be diligent about it when we were not inside the house but we dropped the ball on that enough that his marking became a huge issue. But being busy with two kids needs, cooking dinner, doing homework, practicing sports, etc we weren’t able to keep our eyes on him at all time even when we were home with him. We also installed a self-service doggy door on our back porch door which was amazing for convenience reasons since our dogs loved to play “tag”. Come inside, immediately want back in, only to want back out again 10 minutes later. Little did we realize we were only adding fuel to the fire in our issues with Tye. Giving him that free rein to do and go where he pleased on his terms was not good for him.

When It Rains It Pours

Tye also had become growly and borderline aggressive when a visitor came to our house. His bark was no longer hey, someone is here, it looked like loud insecurity. He did this relentlessly, even with neighbor little kids that came over to play almost everyday for years. He could stand at the screen door and see the kids walking up the stairs and would still bark and bark until they got all the way into the house. Most people he would eventually warm up to if they completely ignored him. The everyday kids learned quickly to ignore his barking and he would eventually calm down and turn off his sense of insecurity. Our family loved playing outside with the neighborhood kids and families. And if Tye wasn’t invited to come join, he would bark, howl and whine until someone came back inside.

Somethings Got To Give

At this point, as a busy working mom I was finding myself very unhappy with this dog. He was definitely causing me way more stress and anxiety than satisfaction or fulfillment. Honestly, I started to resent him. I hated feeling like we couldn’t ever do anything even in our own home without catering to Tye. We tried a couple of dog training classes and we did learn a lot but we were not able to give enough follow through to keep progressing and not regressing. After a year of us trying to handle or fix Tye’s behavior issues, it finally came to the point where we had to make a decision to get him professional help.

To the Rescue!

And lucky for us, we knew just who to trust with our dog training needs. Amy & Brian Griffin with Companion Canines. We have had a great relationship with Amy for several years. She has been grooming Tye since he was a puppy and already knew about a lot of his quirkiness. The training program she offered included keeping Tye at their home and working with him day in and day out for two straight weeks to get him to a baseline of expectations we could handle and finish with follow through at home. I like to think of it like “breaking a horse”. One thing they made sure we were able to acknowledge was that after they put in the effort and training at their place, it would be completely up to us and being consistent with him afterwards to make it all a success. It was a financial investment and a bit of a learning curve for our family once he came home. With determination and setting up a routine, we found a new normal. It seemed incredibly daunting to be strict with his needs but after a couple of weeks it really wasn’t a burden.

The Transformation Phase

Amy kept us updated daily on his progress with what they worked on as well as photos and video of him. He was constantly improving everyday. We did end up deciding to let him stay an additional week beyond the two week plan to work through more of his kennel whining behavior. Some may call it separation anxiety but Amy read it as more of a temper tantrum after observing him for several days. She was able to work him through it. And when Tye came home he was a completely different dog. We were both stunned and thrilled! The best part of it all though is Tye is a happier dog! He is no longer feeling the anxiety of not knowing his “job” during moments we expect him to just be a calm dog.

Speaking the Language

He still sometimes needs to be reminded of our expectations and we use a Dogtra 280C e-collar to help us communicate with him. The rules she enforced during training MUST remain the same at our home which means zero freedom unless it is on our terms. He loves his bed which is his “place” in our living room and also his kennel. He no longer has to follow us with every move, does not ever have the opportunity to mark, and is no longer bullying our other dog.

Rest Easy

A song comes to mind for my conclusion to our story… “I can see clearly now the sky is the rain is gone”. You know the one! I’m not sure who learned more during the training with Amy, Tye or us humans. Amy and Brian went above and beyond for Tye and for us. I cried when we had a follow up meeting because I was so grateful to them for helping Tye work past his behavior problems so we could live in peace. Not everyone can use Amy and Brian, but the key is to find a trainer who is passionate, experienced and knowledgeable. We were lucky enough to have found the best, right here in our hometown. If you are at your wits end and have tried all you know how on your own, take the next step and find help with a dog trainer near you.


About UPCO Pet Supplies

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