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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Many of you know that we've been working through Chi's aggression issues of wanting to eat people and dogs on walks. She's made such great progress and I felt as though we were finally ready to start meeting and greeting - rather than calmly passing and observing - others. I'll admit that I'm nervous to the point of being neurotic of her biting someone/thing and do not totally trust her - so to help assuage my fears, I got a basket muzzle (better safe than sorry).
I asked my neighbor and her very calm (commatose) mixed breed male, Buddy to join us on a walk last night. I had asked Karen to completely ignore Chi throughout the whole walk and I know it was so hard for her to do it, but she did :) We met in the parking lot and the second Chi saw Buddy she started barking like mad - not sure if it was excitement or aggression to be honest - she is a very vocal dog and barks for everything but it's really hard to distinguish between the "I wanna play" barks and the "I'm going to eat you" barks. She hit the end of the leash a few times and was bordering on uncontrolable beast for what seemed like an eternity but was probably less than a minute. After she stopped barking she was still very antsy, prancing, pulling on the leash, snorting and trying to get to Buddy. I did my best to stay relaxed, pretend they weren't a few steps in front of us and just remind her not to pull (like I would on any other walk).
I am happy to report that within a 1/2 block she had calmed down considerably. On block #2 we were able to move up and walk beside them! We walked beside them!!!! That is something that was unheard of just last month. I've gotten her to where she'll tolerate the dogs in the obedience class we sometimes visit (don't agree with the trainers techniques but do appreciate that she allows us to crash her class for socialization) and she's okay if we pass a dog at a distance on walks but NEVER have we been able to walk with another dog just inches from her in a casual setting.
We still have a lot of work to do but progress is being made and I have to brag :) I was armed with my clicker and lots o hotdogs - the basket muzzle is big enough that I can easily still give her treats. I clicked and treated every time she was obviously indifferent to Buddy or when she gave me her attention.
Buddy was a saint and just kind of shrugged his shoulder at the crazy Doberkid who was acting like a nut - he did not react to her at all.
There are a few dog centered activities coming up this summer on the base and I plan on taking Chi to all of them (with the muzzle in the name of safety and my sanity :). One of them is Dog Days at the base pool. The last day of summer before school starts and before they drain the pool for the year, they open it up for dogs (how cool is that??). It's still a couple months away but I'd love to be able to take her to that and enjoy it.
She is such a smart dog. It took maybe 5 repitions of asking her to "finish" after she returned the frisbee before I threw it again before she was doing it automatically - not many people can brag their dogs are that smart (unless of course their dog is a Doberman). I know that all I have to do is convey to her what I want, I've just had some problems figuring out how to convey everything.
Sorry this is so long. As always, I appreciate any and all advice and feedback - I really don't know where we'd be now if it weren't for all the great info I've gotten here :)
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