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Many of you know that we've had "aggression" issues with Chi. For those of you who don't, I think this aggression is fear based and we've worked very hard to overcome it and are making really great progress.

The other night a friend came over to drop her daughter off for a sleep over. Jenn has known Chi since I got her but hasn't been over for quite sometime. I had Chi on her leash when they came in (safety precaution I always take when we have visitors over). She sat down at the kitchen table, Chi and I walked over to get the coffee. After I sat down, Chi kind of stretched her neck over to sniff Jenn, Jenn (who knows Chi's issues and is a little nervous around her) tentatively scrathed her ear. Chi moved closer and since the intial introduction was over, I allowed her. Then silly Jenn decided to lean over Chi. Chi wasn't thrilled with that and barked and growled - important to note that she had every opportunity to bite but didn't - I immediately called/pulled her back to me. She recovered instantly, laid down in her bed right beside my chair and was fine the rest of the night. Jenn was able to move freely through the house, she didn't get nervous or antsy when the kids were running up and down the stairs with questions, she even tried to get back for loving and pettings from Jenn (don't think she liked that Petri was getting all the lovin'). Of course, she was on her leash and I was on my guard the whole time they were here.

The next morning, I woke early and took her to the field to run off some energy and work on some ob. On our way to the field, Gracie (a min. schnauzer about Chi's age) ran from out of the blue, growling and barking and snapping at Chi. I grabbed Chi's harness and prepared for the worst, but low and behold, her brain must have shrunk and was no longer being pinched because she did not react at all! She didn't growl or bark when Gracie's owner approached to collect the little bugger either. Of couse I was thrilled :) We went on to the field, I launched the frisbee, she ran after it, jumped and landed on Gracie who had wiggled out of her harness and came back to terrorize her nemisis. But again, there was nothing from Chi other than running toward me, stepping on the silly little dog with every other leap to return the frisbee. I really think that with just a few minutes of work, the two dogs would have been playing fine. (I have Chi on a 100foot home-made long leash when we play in the field btw, I just don't want y'all to think that I have this viscious dog out running off lead)

When she gets excited, she barks, if I don't throw the ball or disc fast enough, she barks and growls and carries on (of course I put her in a down stay and make her stay quiet for a min. before I will throw it when she does that). I'm beginning to wonder if these "aggressive" barks that she displays are more "I'm excited and very vocal" barks. It's so hard to tell with her.

But, in light of her reaction to Jenn the other night, I've decided to buy a basket muzzle. I've been walking her to the school 2x's a day for the past week or so when I take Jordan and she has done so well. Last fall, walking to the school was impossible. If a kid across the street started running she would turn into a beast. Now, we can walk with kids infront and behind us and she's fine. But, I don't allow them to approach to pet her (just to be on the safe side). I want to start allowing them to approach and offer her treats but certainly don't want to run the risk of anyone getting bit. I figure with the basket muzzle we can start moving further ahead with her socialization without risking injury. I'm prepared for the looks and the comments that we'll get - "OMG, why is that crazy woman walking a dog that is so mean it must be muzzled". I just can't think of any other way to move forward safely.

I really want her to earn her CGC and right now the only thing that worries me is the part where the friendly stranger must pick up her feet and stuff. Everything else, I think, will be pretty much cake, but if that "friendly stranger" leans over her to pick up her feet, there could be serious problems.

Just thought I'd share where we are now with training. She is doing so well with her recalls and stays, we've even mastered the dreaded, stand/stay! WooHoo :)
 

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good work with Chi...our lab mix coco has fear issues...from the home he had before we adopted him. When someone comes into the house...he will charge and bark bark bark with his hair standing up and crouch down towards the ground...we always know the people real well...so we tell them just stand still...and dont try to pet him yet...just let him sniff you. then coco is fine for the rest of the time. He is really fearful...and public places are really stressful on him...on walks he lunges for bikers...and stuff. were taking him to training classes...but in public every person is a new stranger.
we have a basket muzzle...just make sure you have it on right...or make sure its the right size...we had ours from our dalimation...and we tried putting it on duchess so she wouldnt eat the mud lol and she knows how to manage to get it off.
 

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I think that's a great idea with the muzzle, I agree this way you can move forward with socializing. Seems like your working very hard with Chi, good for you and keep up the good work!
 

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I agree it's a really good Idea to use the Muzzle. Better to be safe then sorry and the heck with whatever people say or whatever everyone will always say something you dont wanna hear.
 

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TracyJo, I think you are doing a great job with Chi. fear/agression/excitement issues are so hard to get over. Cody had the same issues, once new people were in the house for a few minutes he was fine, but I was always a basket case the first few minutes we had company.

fortunately it doesn't seem to be the case with Apollo. Tho he does get a bit more agressive on walks - but I really think that is more with wanting to play and having all that energy.

But Chi is still young and she will calm down. My vet told me Dobes don't grow a brain till they're around 2, and we really saw Cody start to settle down between 2 and a half and 3. So it really sounds like Chi is a bit a head of the game.

keep up the good work.

cc
 

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Tracy, that's great news with Chi! I have to say though, I think you hit the nail on the head with some circumstances, with Chi sounding aggressive and just being very vocal when she is excited. I remember the video of her chasing Mark around the house and yapping like crazy!

Keep up the good constant work, we'll see that CGC following her name soon enough!
 
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