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post #101 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-16-2018, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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I got up early enough to take Mocha to the park before church; today we met our first Doberman...we were walking along and suddenly a Doberman came around the corner about 30 yards down the trail, unleashed, and I started yelling "leash! leash!". It was a group of joggers and fortunately the other dog had decent recall (the lady had to call to him several times before he finally went to her). I took Mocha off trail and she totally ignored everyone as they passed by. Again, no rhyme or reason why she's cool with some, and not with others.

A couple of iPhone pics, first is the morning sky from my driveway as we were leaving



Another pic of the morning skies, along with the (still) waterless lake. I was digging those clouds and the blue skies.

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post #102 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't updated this thread for a while, mainly because nothing much has changed. I think we've either reached a plateau, or this is about as tolerant of strange people and dogs Mocha is ever going to be at almost 5 years of age and if that's the case, I'm honestly fine with that. I'm not big on people myself, so why should I expect my dog to wag her tail and be happy anytime she sees anyone heading in our direction?
What I have been doing the last few months however, is try to figure out why one person or a man and his wife and their dog can walk by us, and Mocha almost ignores them, then another person or dog gets her agitated/stressed. At first, I thought maybe it was something to do with size, clothing, smell, etc., but now, after really watching her, I'm thinking it's either a personal space thing, or she's being somewhat protective of me (or maybe even both).

If a group of people, or a lone person, or someone with a dog is coming towards us, she'll initially watch them but if they stay on their side of the path, and don't change speed/direction, stop, or start talking to us, she's perfectly fine and in most cases, pretty much ignores them as they pass by. However, if they start slowing down, look at us, and start talking more than a simple good morning, she gets agitated. No growling, lunging, excessive barking like before (so damn proud of you, Mocha!), but she'll start huffing, breathing faster, and in some rare instances, a single bark. I think that's her way of telling them to keep their distance and not get too close.

Same if the other dog acts out - (which unfortunately happens more often than I like, and over time I've gotten to know which dogs behave and which don't so if I see one of the loud ones coming, we simply go off trail until the dog passes us by) Mocha will respond if a dog goes off on her; again, I think she's just letting the other dog know she can bark too and telling it to hush LOL. Mocha also doesn't care to have people walking behind us; i.e. if someone is walking slower than us and we pass them by, she'll keep looking back and looking back until they're finally out of sight.

Now I'm definitely no dog behaviorist, and I may very well be way off base in my thoughts and observations but, this journey has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Not only do I have a much more relaxed and happy dog that I can take out to the park with me, but this whole process has helped me bond with her in a way I've never bonded with any other dog I've had.

Having said all that, here are a couple of pics from this morning's hike

So many interesting smells in the woods


If I stand still and blend in, maybe those Canada geese will come just a bit closer
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post #103 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:16 PM
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I haven't updated this thread for a while, mainly because nothing much has changed. I think we've either reached a plateau, or this is about as tolerant of strange people and dogs Mocha is ever going to be at almost 5 years of age and if that's the case, I'm honestly fine with that. I'm not big on people myself, so why should I expect my dog to wag her tail and be happy anytime she sees anyone heading in our direction?
What I have been doing the last few months however, is try to figure out why one person or a man and his wife and their dog can walk by us, and Mocha almost ignores them, then another person or dog gets her agitated/stressed. At first, I thought maybe it was something to do with size, clothing, smell, etc., but now, after really watching her, I'm thinking it's either a personal space thing, or she's being somewhat protective of me (or maybe even both).

If a group of people, or a lone person, or someone with a dog is coming towards us, she'll initially watch them but if they stay on their side of the path, and don't change speed/direction, stop, or start talking to us, she's perfectly fine and in most cases, pretty much ignores them as they pass by. However, if they start slowing down, look at us, and start talking more than a simple good morning, she gets agitated. No growling, lunging, excessive barking like before (so damn proud of you, Mocha!), but she'll start huffing, breathing faster, and in some rare instances, a single bark. I think that's her way of telling them to keep their distance and not get too close.

Same if the other dog acts out - (which unfortunately happens more often than I like, and over time I've gotten to know which dogs behave and which don't so if I see one of the loud ones coming, we simply go off trail until the dog passes us by) Mocha will respond if a dog goes off on her; again, I think she's just letting the other dog know she can bark too and telling it to hush LOL. Mocha also doesn't care to have people walking behind us; i.e. if someone is walking slower than us and we pass them by, she'll keep looking back and looking back until they're finally out of sight.

Now I'm definitely no dog behaviorist, and I may very well be way off base in my thoughts and observations but, this journey has been one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Not only do I have a much more relaxed and happy dog that I can take out to the park with me, but this whole process has helped me bond with her in a way I've never bonded with any other dog I've had.

Having said all that, here are a couple of pics from this morning's hike

So many interesting smells in the woods


If I stand still and blend in, maybe those Canada geese will come just a bit closer


Hello from west tn. You have a gorgeous lady!


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post #104 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Hello from west tn. You have a gorgeous lady!


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Hello from middle TN (Clarksville), and thank you



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post #105 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:33 PM
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Hello from middle TN (Clarksville), and thank you


We live in Buchanan! Hey neighbor!


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post #106 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 07:35 PM
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Hey TN...

I totally agree about the bonding experience. I have had dogs with every sort of response to other dogs and strangers, running the gamut from benign, aloof, wary and 100% reactive to the point of ready to attack.

When we got McCoy I was determined to socialize him to the best of my ability. Starting at 10 weeks old. I would take him to a public area, where we just sat and watched passers-by. A bit later, I started to let people who wanted to interact with him under my explicit supervision. Later (maybe 4 months), I would let him tentatively interact with other dogs. He was always allowed to interact with his "brother" The Sheriff.

Today at about 4 1/2 years old, under my control, he is the most socialized dog that I have ever had. He does get anxious when approached by dogs off leash (he is always on leash) and by small yappy dogs. It seems his demeanor (stoic and immobile) is taken as a threat. It might also have something to do with him being intact. Regardless.... He and I came up with a solution for that. When he is uncomfortable, He comes to my side and lies down until the "threat" passes by. It works wonderfully.

I get thanked a lot by other dog walkers who assume that we are doing this for their dog's safety, when actually, it is simply for McCoy's sense of well being. In public, he never barks or growls. However, at home, he is extremely protective and vocal.

The bottom line: Working with him on this behavior was also one of the best bonding experience we have had. Probably only second to posting his ears.

John
Portland OR
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post #107 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
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Hey TN...

I totally agree about the bonding experience. I have had dogs with every sort of response to other dogs and strangers, running the gamut from benign, aloof, wary and 100% reactive to the point of ready to attack.

When we got McCoy I was determined to socialize him to the best of my ability. Starting at 10 weeks old. I would take him to a public area, where we just sat and watched passers-by. A bit later, I started to let people who wanted to interact with him under my explicit supervision. Later (maybe 4 months), I would let him tentatively interact with other dogs. He was always allowed to interact with his "brother" The Sheriff.

Today at about 4 1/2 years old, under my control, he is the most socialized dog that I have ever had. He does get anxious when approached by dogs off leash (he is always on leash) and by small yappy dogs. It seems his demeanor (stoic and immobile) is taken as a threat. It might also have something to do with him being intact. Regardless.... He and I came up with a solution for that. When he is uncomfortable, He comes to my side and lies down until the "threat" passes by. It works wonderfully.

I get thanked a lot by other dog walkers who assume that we are doing this for their dog's safety, when actually, it is simply for McCoy's sense of well being. In public, he never barks or growls. However, at home, he is extremely protective and vocal.

The bottom line: Working with him on this behavior was also one of the best bonding experience we have had. Probably only second to posting his ears.

John
Portland OR
In hindsight, I've realized (way too late) that this breed isn't like other breeds. We thought we did all the right things for socialization and for the longest, she was ok until one day she wasn't (I think it was shortly after she turned 1, or 1 1/2). As for the ears, haha, what a fun time posting was! Especially the first few weeks which were filled with posts popping out, head shaking, eh, you know the drill. Once we had it down though, it was a breeze
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post #108 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 07:34 AM
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Some VERY interesting reading on here ! Thanks TN for your updates - as well as left coast John and others ! Mr. B has been a different breed of cat too and by reading TN's posts - Trying to figure out Mr. B - He has always been edgy around other dogs - when young - VERY BAD ! One time - he and another dog was talking smack at the Vets office and the Vet came out to see what was going on - he seen Mr.B and started laughing and went back in to the dog he was seeing .

This lead to more OB classes , ( group ) and it really did help - but not prefect !

Now Doc's thinking - When Mr. B was younger - he was just unsure - He was protecting us - himself - they were barking at us - he was not going to put up with that - It was his job - But with working with him and teaching him it was OK - he has settled down - for the most part - Funny thing - he watches TV ! and if another dog comes on - he's on it ! Deep - deep growl - I will reach down and pat him and say it's OK - You should have been here last Sunday ! I let him out to potty , which he did - then let him in - prefect timing ! There was a Border running across the TV doing the Agility run at Westminster ! Boy he did not like that dog running in our house - with a lol ! Funny thing , it's not all dogs he will do this with - Much like The beauty queen !


I have just came to the fact - I will not understand what is going threw his mind , much like people - for what ever reason - one thing will trip somebody and not another , sort of like Mr. B - to just manage the moment - so to speak

TN - Even if you can't take a picture for chit ! You have done a OUTSTANDING job with Mocha ! And deserve a BIG ATTA Boy for your efforts with her !

Thank you for the updates and hope you keep them coming !

Doc
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post #109 of 120 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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TN - Even if you can't take a picture for chit ! You have done a OUTSTANDING job with Mocha ! And deserve a BIG ATTA Boy for your efforts with her !

Thank you for the updates and hope you keep them coming !

Doc
I'll try my best to keep working on my photography skills

As for the updates, not sure how many more there'll be but I hope that maybe one day, someone else in my situation will read this and realize there's always hope with a reactive dog...but it does take a lot of work and patience, and it doesn't happen overnight.
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post #110 of 120 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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This will probably be my last update to this thread but...we finally "graduated" to a regular collar; this morning I left the hidden prong collar at home.


I think we could have ditched the prong collar a long time ago but I felt like it was a mental crutch for Mocha because (I felt) with it on, she knew not to lunge or pull but to be honest, I think it was more of a mental crutch for me than her, if that makes sense. I felt better having it on her, but in hindsight, it was like I didn't trust her to be the dog I was teaching her to be.
Which was unfair to her, because she's really come a long way. And this morning was no different. She mostly ignored anyone coming towards us, and only exchanged pleasantries with one dog who started growling as we passed each other and, that's ok.

The important thing to me is that we can now go walking in the parks around people and other dogs, and at 5 years old, she's what she is, and I've pretty much learned what her comfort levels are and know how to read her body language so I can get her to a safe place before she stresses and things escalate. And most importantly, she's happy and relaxed while out walking.

It's been a long journey, and it wasn't easy by any means, but we both learned so much along the way and it was totally worth every second we put into it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
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post #111 of 120 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 09:15 AM
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This will probably be my last update to this thread but...we finally "graduated" to a regular collar; this morning I left the hidden prong collar at home.


I think we could have ditched the prong collar a long time ago but I felt like it was a mental crutch for Mocha because (I felt) with it on, she knew not to lunge or pull but to be honest, I think it was more of a mental crutch for me than her, if that makes sense. I felt better having it on her, but in hindsight, it was like I didn't trust her to be the dog I was teaching her to be.
Which was unfair to her, because she's really come a long way. And this morning was no different. She mostly ignored anyone coming towards us, and only exchanged pleasantries with one dog who started growling as we passed each other and, that's ok.

The important thing to me is that we can now go walking in the parks around people and other dogs, and at 5 years old, she's what she is, and I've pretty much learned what her comfort levels are and know how to read her body language so I can get her to a safe place before she stresses and things escalate. And most importantly, she's happy and relaxed while out walking.

It's been a long journey, and it wasn't easy by any means, but we both learned so much along the way and it was totally worth every second we put into it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
I'm super proud of you guys! You've poured a ton of work into Mocha and it's paid off tremendously!

I'm glad you've been able to walk without the prong, not because I have any problems with them, but because it was the final "proof" for you that all your training and work has really come to fruition. I know I'll never walk Richter without one because his prey drive is just too high...if we see a squirrel too close to us I might be planted on my face !

You and Mocha are such a team and you've come so far. I think she deserves a little extra special treat for this update!
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post #112 of 120 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 09:36 AM Thread Starter
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I'm super proud of you guys! You've poured a ton of work into Mocha and it's paid off tremendously!

I'm glad you've been able to walk without the prong, not because I have any problems with them, but because it was the final "proof" for you that all your training and work has really come to fruition. I know I'll never walk Richter without one because his prey drive is just too high...if we see a squirrel too close to us I might be planted on my face !

You and Mocha are such a team and you've come so far. I think she deserves a little extra special treat for this update!
Thanks, and thank you for the advice along the way, it was and is greatly appreciated
It's funny, if a squirrel is in our yard, it's game on for Mocha and it's pedal to the metal but on our walks, she'll alert when she sees one but never tries to lunge after them.
And yeah, I think a nice treat is in order
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post #113 of 120 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 10:24 AM
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Congratulations, TN--to both you and Mocha for a job well done (photography and training.)

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post #114 of 120 (permalink) Old 06-29-2019, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Congratulations, TN--to both you and Mocha for a job well done (photography and training.)

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Thank you, dobebug
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post #115 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Dang it, here I went and made a liar out of myself. I said I wasn't going to update this anymore but...whenever we've been going on our hikes, I've been spending so much time watching Mocha when I see people on the trail coming toward us, to see if I could really pinpoint what gets her agitated about certain folks. I guess part of it is me trying to really understand this girl and what makes her tick, and part trying to solve that last piece of the puzzle to see if there's something I could do to solve it.

I'm now pretty sure I was right in one of my previous posts where I said I thought it had to do with personal space and being protective because, if the people stick to their side of the path and keep on walking along, even if they say good morning, Mocha for the most part ignores them and keeps right on walking with no more than a few glances in their direction. But if they slow down a little, or stop, look directly at us, and speak, she gets agitated and then as they pass by, she'll pull on the leash some, like she's in a hurry to get away from them and put some distance between us and them before she'll relax again.

Again, nothing major but this last little thing just bugs the heck out of me (Almost like I have OCD LOL). The weird thing is, if I take her somewhere like the vet, she always acts like the biggest angel and sweetheart, no matter who comes over and what they do. For instance, this morning when I took her to the vet, her regular doc was performing a surgery so we got to see a male doc, who Mocha had never seen before and when he walked in, Mocha acted like she's known him her entire life. He came in and crouched down to her level and she walked right up to him and stuck her face in his, while he scratched her head and behind her ears.

Anyhoo...if it is indeed her being protective, then that's not really a bad thing (IMHO). It is kind of interesting how she can be such a big ninny one second, then be super serious the next.
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post #116 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 06:26 PM
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Dang it, here I went and made a liar out of myself. I said I wasn't going to update this anymore but...whenever we've been going on our hikes, I've been spending so much time watching Mocha when I see people on the trail coming toward us, to see if I could really pinpoint what gets her agitated about certain folks. I guess part of it is me trying to really understand this girl and what makes her tick, and part trying to solve that last piece of the puzzle to see if there's something I could do to solve it.

I'm now pretty sure I was right in one of my previous posts where I said I thought it had to do with personal space and being protective because, if the people stick to their side of the path and keep on walking along, even if they say good morning, Mocha for the most part ignores them and keeps right on walking with no more than a few glances in their direction. But if they slow down a little, or stop, look directly at us, and speak, she gets agitated and then as they pass by, she'll pull on the leash some, like she's in a hurry to get away from them and put some distance between us and them before she'll relax again.

Again, nothing major but this last little thing just bugs the heck out of me (Almost like I have OCD LOL). The weird thing is, if I take her somewhere like the vet, she always acts like the biggest angel and sweetheart, no matter who comes over and what they do. For instance, this morning when I took her to the vet, her regular doc was performing a surgery so we got to see a male doc, who Mocha had never seen before and when he walked in, Mocha acted like she's known him her entire life. He came in and crouched down to her level and she walked right up to him and stuck her face in his, while he scratched her head and behind her ears.

Anyhoo...if it is indeed her being protective, then that's not really a bad thing (IMHO). It is kind of interesting how she can be such a big ninny one second, then be super serious the next.
Glad you posted again otherwise would have missed some good reading and great photos - That first page photo where Mocha is in mid turn, grass flying and her eyes focused on the ball very nice!
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post #117 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 06:29 PM
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I guess part of it is me trying to really understand this girl and what makes her tick, and part trying to solve that last piece of the puzzle to see if there's something I could do to solve it.
Give it up. You're a guy; you'll probably never understand why the females around you do what they do. You've got the wrong genes.
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post #118 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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Give it up. You're a guy; you'll probably never understand why the females around you do what they do. You've got the wrong genes.
I've been sitting here the last 5 minutes trying to come up with a witty counter argument and you know what? I got nothin'

Touché

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post #119 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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Glad you posted again otherwise would have missed some good reading and great photos - That first page photo where Mocha is in mid turn, grass flying and her eyes focused on the ball very nice!
Thanks modm, I had to go back to page 1 to see what pics you were talking about and I looked at when I started this thread...wowzers, 2 years ago which means Mocha and I have been at this for 3 years now. Where the heck did the time go?
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post #120 of 120 (permalink) Old 09-27-2019, 08:23 PM
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Time flies when you're having fun.

Hence the inference:
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