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So - our boxer Betty Bacon is about 6 months now.  She's graduated from her first session of puppy classes, is enrolled in another set to start in Oct.  I really feel that we've been doing many things "right" from the beginning.  We've set up clear boundaries for our little pup and for the most part - she can be a little dream.  That is, when she wants to...

There are a few key areas that we are having difficulty with, and I'm hoping that some of you can help me figure out how to deal with these problems:

1) Growling & Mouthing - This is probably the issue that we are having the most progress with. I don't say biting, because she is not doing this agressively.  I can tell that this is clearly her seeking out our attention the only way she seems to know how.  It happens a lot when we are outside in the backyard with her.  She'll get out there and start jumping all around us, growling and mouthing.  We've addressed this by keeping her on a leash at all times in the backyard.  When she displays this behavior, we say a firm NO, hold the leash close to wear it attaches to the collar so she can't bounce around or bite the leash, and make her sit there until she stops mouthing at our hands.  She is allowed to roam around in our (fenced) backyard - but we keep the leash attached (still working on the recall - making progress with that as well) once she has calmed herself.  Like I said, I feel like we are generally making some progress with this issue - but just looking for some feedback/suggestions/commentary from those w/ similar issues.

2) Those Darn Cats - We have three cats.  They all deal with the dog in their own unique way.  Let's go from best to worst.  Cat #1 - HOLDEN - is the only one that can really put Betty in her place.  He doesn't attack or act agressively with the dog, he simply lets her know when it's time to back off/not to get too close to him.  He usually can accomplish this with just a stare and betty will quickly back off, but sometimes he takes a swat at her, but it's gentle and I can tell that he's not trying to harm her.  Cat #2 - HUMBERT - is Holden's twin brother.  Humbert is completely submissive.  He could care less what the dog does to him.  Betty is pretty well behaved around Humbert, she mostly shows her dominance in a calm way, like resting her head on him.  I still try not to allow this as I don't want betty to think that she can control/dominate the cats in anway way.  I want her to be a part of our animal family, not feel like she is at the top of it.  Cat #3 - NICO - this is where the issue lies.  Basically Nico runs from Betty the moment she sees her, and Betty gives chase.  I understand that this is what dogs do - I guess my question is what can I do to stop this?  I've read that we should get Nico & Betty in a room together & shut the door, keep Betty on a leash, correcting her when she does bad things like lunge/chase the cat - rewarding her when she does good things like ignore the cat.  We've yet to try this but I was wondering if anyone else has any suggestions

3) BED-TIME No matter how much we walk/play with Betty during the day - she is rarin' to go at night.  I liken this to a child that refuses to go to bed even when his eyes are droopy and his head is bobbing back and forth from exhaustion.  She will grab a toy and start running all over with it.  We try to take her box of toys away, give her one and try to get her to lay down with it on her bed.  this sometimes works for a little bit, but she almost always gets up and gets going again at some point.  we've tried laying her down on the bed and calmly petting her until she calms down.  this also sometimes works.  things that always work: putting her in her crate or letting her on the couch. but i hate resorting to either of these methods.  she's in her crate for the majority of the day when we are at work & we have a crate in our room that she sleeps in. i would just like it if she would sleep on the floor until it's time to go in the bedroom ( i dont like putting her in there before she has to go in).  i dont mind her on the couch, but we've taken great pains to make sure that she is allowed on the couch when it is on our terms, and i dont want to "reward" her hyper/restless behavior by allowing her on the couch.  any help with this portion would be GREATLY appreciated :)

for those of you that read through this - thank you! i appreciate any/all feedback you can provide, and if you spot this on other boxer forums - sorry!  i'm just trying to get all the help i can!
 

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I just wanted to welcome you to the forum; can't wait to see pictures of Betty. Sorry I can't help with any of this (I am just learning myself) but there are many on this forum who will be able to give you some great suggestions.
 

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We had this trouble with Brady...it took a few months to get him onto our sleeping schedule. My husband and I took turns going downstairs to the couch with him so the other could get a decent night of sleep. Once downstairs, Brady would sleep fine. I think he was learning that if he stayed awake or woke us up, it meant he could go downstairs...that being said, we all pushed through a couple of bad weeks of sleep and made him stay upstairs all night. Now that he is better, we occassionally have slumber parties on the couch with him and he seems to do fine with that.
So, that being said...keep everything very routine. Try not to switch your techniques, etc. Push through a couple bad weeks and just make her sleep (or play) in the room all night (minus potty breaks) rather than alternating between the couch, crate and room. During those couple of bad weeks, don't hesitate to assist with the first few nights by laying on the floor with her for a little while until she's sleepy. Hold a chew bone for her to play with while she gets sleepy, hold it so she can't start running around with it. Brady would chew till he fell asleep.  Then wean off that as she gets more comfortable. We also allowed absolutely NO playing in our bedroom for a long time. I wanted them to associate that room with sleep, not with play.
Also, wear her out before bedtime. For a while, do LONG walks or frisbee sessions in the evening and try not to let her doze too much before bed.
Once her sleep schedule straightens out, then this all relaxes, but just until she adjusts herself, give it a shot. Good luck!
 

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Honestly, if she is bored by the tougher bones, it may be better bc she will bore herself to sleep basically if she has nothing else to chew on. Brady will chew for 5 or 10 minutes then settle in and doze off. Maybe dip it in a bit of peanut butter first and let her work in it...that way the PB will attract her to it and as she finishes that, maybe she will settle.  I found holding it did us better for a while because otherwise, he would start running around the room with it and fiddling with it. It was a good way just to get him to settle in. It will take a while...but just stick with it, it's the only way you will get there. Brady went from sleeping from about 9:30 pm until 1, getting up again at 2:30, 3:30 and being DONE sleeping at 4:30. Now, he sleeps from about 11 until 5:15 which our schedule. He occassionally wakes us up in the middle of the night for a potty run, but that's it. Also, as she becomes more house broken, you will be more comfortable with just letting her roam around the room in the middle of the night to find a new spot. Before, everytime either dog moved, I was WIDE awake and watching everything...now that they are housebroken, I know they will get my attention if they need to go out and don't worry anymore if theymove about the room for a few minutes stretching or relocating themselves.
 

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Welcome to the forum. I can really relate to your cat issues. We have adopted 4 inside cats and 3 outside ones have been dropped off and then adopted us, Donner is surrounded by cats!! 8O We have almost exactly your situation regarding personalities and dominence. We are Slowly having success with him chasing our female siamese, Maya by standing in front of Donner thereby stopping the game and firmly telling him "My Kitty" then asking him to sit, or lay down then praising him for that good behavior. This also gives Maya the opportunity to get away. Unfortunately this process is slowed down by the fact that our youngest cat, BooBoo likes to have the dog chase him and will often chase back! I'm hoping that Donner will eventually figure out that some cats are more tolerant than others. Just curious, is it just your female cat that gets chased? Maya is the only inside female and really is Donners main "target". Good Luck and keep posting with how it's going or any new ideas you may have with kitty issues!
 
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