I don’t recommend the stress diet: TOLT

Today I’m Thinking Out Loud about generalities and how much I hate them.

If one more person says to me that little dogs are just nippy, I think I will scream. Little untrained dogs can be nippy, yes — although it’s still not a given.

Or all the people saying “well, it’s just the adjustment“. Of course there is an adjustment, but a well adjusted dog is not going to bite without provocation even when his world is turned upside down.

How about “don’t worry, he’s friendly!“, even though the dog has made it pretty darn clear that he wants to eat you.

Or all pitbulls are dangerous. They can be — but again, they can be the sweetest dogs ever. It’s all about how they’re raised.

Speaking of raising, too many people ignore the warning signs. I’m quite sure Bandit’s previous owner did. In fact, she told me he’d sometimes lift his lips and snarl at her other animals when he was on a chair (after we’d had him a couple of days, of course), and that it didn’t mean anything.

Except it really did. You don’t want to train out growling, because a dog that bites without growling (growling is a warning sign that they are uncomfortable with something) is unpredictable and scary.

People make excuses. They’re in denial. They don’t want to put in the hard work.

Train your puppies
And I’m not talking about housetraining, although of course that’s important. You can never get that puppy time back, that time when you can properly introduce them to all sorts of people, noises, objects.

Yes, it takes time. But the years you’ll have with a well adjusted dog are priceless. Sure, all dogs have their quirks and always will, but proper training when they’re young is crucial. I can’t emphasize it enough.

And God forbid you should ever have to rehome your untrained dog for some reason — it can be very, very, very very difficult to get rescues to even talk to you if you have a dog with issues. You just never know what life will throw at you.

Crates are not the devil
Again, you just never know when your dog might have to be crated. A vet stay. A vacation. A new animal that comes into your home and needs to be separated. God forbid, being rehomed.

The whole point of crate training is to give your dog a safe place.

Every single dog that has lived with us is crate trained (we’re working on it with Bandit). Of course they don’t like it at first. You have to liberally treat them when they’re in their crate, and it can’t be just any old treat, either (see last week’s TOLT for what worked wonders for Bandit).

Give them something yummy to chew on when they’re in there. Don’t use the crate as a punishment. Get them used to being in it when you’re not there. Feed them in their crate.

When Lola is scared or nervous, she goes into her crate. She was no longer crated until Bandit came into our lives, and now we only close the door briefly sometimes when we want to make sure she’s not in Bandit’s face.

Lola came to us at 10 months old. Some previous owners would put her in the crate with a puppy pad until she used it. Wrong on so many levels — not only was she not house trained, she was not comfortable in a crate, either; she’d circle and whine until I wanted to slap her.

And today, when she’s nervous, as I said, she goes into her crate and just curls up.

Crating is not punishment; it’s safety.

So back to the title
The first couple of weeks with Bandit were so stressful I could barely eat. Yeah, I lost a little weight but I really don’t recommend it.

On the other hand, my weekly mileage got up to 15 miles, and somewhere between that and 20 suddenly I can start eating more and still lose weight.

I don’t really know which was responsible, but I do know I made a real effort to eat healthy as much as possible because I knew eating crap was a one way ticket to sickville (not that I’m sure I’m staying away, but so far, so good).

Recuperating — both of us!

I swear Gizmo took 9 years off my life!
Above we’re relaxing in his outdoor kennel after his ordeal (read about it in my Wednesday Word post).

Lola being her sweet, goofy self
I was taking a break and playing with her one day in the bedroom. Somehow she dropped that toy on the way up the stairs.

Gnome app

Excited to try out Gnome tomorrow
I recently updated the software for my Garmin Vivoactive (affiliate link). And that got me to thinking I should really look to see if there’s a metronome app — yup, it’s called Gnome. I meant to try it out last night on our walk, just to see if it works while you’ve got an activity app running, but I forgot.

Tomorrow I’ll probably run on the treadmill, so I can at least try it out then. Why it didn’t just come as part of the watch, which does track cadence (silently), I’ll never know.

Talk to me. Tell me in the comments:

If you have a dog, is it crate trained?

Every successfully trained a dog to wear a muzzle?

Ever considered creating an outdoor enclosure for your cats?

I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for her:

Thursdays are for thinking out loud

20 thoughts on “I don’t recommend the stress diet: TOLT

  1. I would love, love, love to create an outside enclosure for the cats. I have dreams of mansion-type kennels for them to roam safely outside so they can have the best of both worlds. Hmmmm, you’ve sparked a thought or two…
    Yes, I agree, crates are a dog’s friend. I wish people would educate themselves before getting into something they can’t handle. I don’t know this gnome of which you speak, but I’ll have to check it out! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gnome is an app available on connect iq — it works with more than just the vivoactive, apparently.

      We bought dog kennel panels from a hardware store & Mr. Judy rigged a roof for it, too. We’ve got furniture in there, a ladder for Giz to climb, an old composter. . . it attaches to the house & there’s a cat flap in the window so Giz can come & go as he pleases & we can still close the window at night.

      Be warned, if they’re hunters, they can still occasionally get animals! Maybe I should do a post on it someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a good outlook on raising puppies! We got really lucky with Baylee and my husband and I often ponder the whole nature vs nurture thing. I think labs are pretty easily trained though. I agree about the crate. It’s not a punishment but a safe haven. We started Baylee off in a crate but as she got older she now roams the house ( I was happy to take down the crate as it took up a lot of room). I notice she now makes her own little safe spot between our couch and coffee table!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think both come into play — both nature and nurture, and Bandit is a great example.

      Nurtured right, he could have been the most awesome dog ever. He’s still pretty awesome. But he’s bad traits are very bad.

      We’ve always kept the crates out, but of course, we have little dogs. I can’t even imagine a lab sized crate!

      Chester & Lola were probably crated longer than I might have if I hadn’t had cats — I had to make sure they’d all be ok together. But they pretty much hadn’t been crated since we moved here 7 years ago.

      I did always feed them in their crates, though — it just “nips” more problems in the bud, but we traveled with them, too, and then I just fed them.


  3. I think a ton of people don’t take advantage of puppy time enough and use it only to train them in terms of housetraining and sitting and what not – all important, but to be honets, not crucial and all things you can fix later if need be. I’m not going to lie – we have a 3 year old lab mut who is not the best dog – he gets very excited (I mean,he’s a lab) and barks at cars and strangers and dogs (from the comfort of our fenced yard) BUT he is VERY good with people and children. My toddler can do just about anything to him (we’re teaching him not to, but he is still a toddler) and he will never react. I think part of it was that he was a puppy when i was pregnant and I realized that we needed to acclimate him ASAP. So we would touch him and pet him and bring him where he could see lots of little kids a lot just to he was comfortable.

    So no, he’s not great at anything other than sit and going outside, BUT he’s great at the important things. So there’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Being great at the important things is important!

      Sit is one of the most important (and versatile) commands. I think if you have sit & come, those are the 2 major ones.

      Bandit sort of knew sit, but not really, and even now, I wouldn’t say he REALLY knows it, even though it does it maybe 70% of the time when I ask.

      Barking is a tough one! Chester was a big barker — in the house. UPS, mailman, whenever we came home. Bandit actually isn’t a big barker.

      And training really is a life long process; it really never ends, and I know I’ve been slacking on it a bit. But in the end, it can really save their lives.


  4. We’ve always used crates (kennels) with our dogs. “Kennel up” has been the command, with a treat to follow. We rarely put them in the kennels anymore, but sometimes it’s necessary and they don’t seem to mind it because we haven’t used it as a punishment.

    I hope things calm down for you. I’ve been following along and I admire what you’re doing with Bandit. Most people would have just given up on him and took him back to a shelter. I hope that your family and Bandit find peace and harmony. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a topic I’m so passionate about, especially after we got our huskies and beagles as puppies. Our first dog was 3 years old, when we got her, and after a long time, I think we realized that it’s not the puppy’s fault when they have bad habits. It’s actually the owner’s fault. I realized how I was thinking wrongly about crating and being firm (but gentle) with them. It seems like dogs have a lot more respect for you when you are firm and when you have them on a routine of putting them in the crate (for safety) and they like their crate (instead of hating it) I agree with everything you said, and I’m so glad that you reminded me not to ‘generalize’ dog’s behavior, because every dog can be well-trained.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obviously, it’s a topic I’m very passionate about too!

      And people also give up too easily — crates are a big adjustment, but in the end, it’s so worth it for both humans and dogs.

      And yes, I firmly believe that dogs need (and thrive with) boundaries.


  6. So so so important to not silence a dog who is growling, like you said, they’re growling for a reason. I do have a pit bull, who is beyond sweet, a blessing around children & just wants to snuggle & be as close to you as he can. He has growled 3 times that I remember. Each time @ a very similar looking person. Similar stature, outfit & skin color. He was a rescue, so we can’t know his past, but we removed him from the situation & think he must have a sketchy past somehow. I appreciated his warning, as like a hey, mom, get me out of here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Believe, I do not have anything against pit bulls! I have a friend with the sweetest pit bull. And we had a really nasty one living behind us when we lived in TX — but the poor thing was chained in its yard all day long, and the family didn’t interact with it that I could see, plus it would get lose often.

      Lola doesn’t seem to like bald men (which is odd, because Mr. Judy is balding, although of course he had more hair when we got her, but she was also a rescue).


    1. The boys never had fleas. And I never used flea preventative with them, either.

      The dogs get flea preventative — and occasionally did have fleas. I doubt it would be that bad in your area — its not terrible here, but Austin was awful!


  7. I 100% agree with everything you said about training puppies and crates. I feel like a lot of people don’t understand that you -have- to be firm and create boundaries with dogs, and that giving them a safe haven is one of the best things you can do. Being nice and letting them get away with everything isn’t doing them any favours in the long run, because while a behaviour might seem cute and endearing when they’re a tiny puppy, it becomes a lot more problematic when they become a full grown dog. Ugh. I can’t talk about this because I start getting way too heated up 😡

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We have a pitbull pup who just turned one last friday. He was very timid when we got him from the shelter, he’s getting better. He is the sweetest dog imaginable. He is crated trained, and definitely sees his crate as a safe place.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh wow, I missed all these posts when I was on vaca last week. Hope everything’s ok. I’m sorry Bandit isn’t working out with your family. Such a bummer when that happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It hadn’t been fun, that’s for sure, although for the present, we’re kind of stuck with him. Still working on that rehoming!

      He’s a great little dog, but we don’t really enjoy living in a divided house this way.


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