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Nipping trying to defend me in the bud

PetFriendly
August 8th, 2006, 06:15 PM
Two things happened this week-end that got me worried.
First we were at the Arboretum on Saturday walking and training for long sit stay's. We had walked a fair and picked a nice open spot in the shade to practice. We were mostly doing recall work and for added temptation I had brought along a bunch of larger milk bone type treats and had them strewn about a small manageable area. When ever a dog would leave the path towards us, I'd casually walk over to the treats and gather them up to avoid angry owners (fact that the only reason i had to do this was because their dogs aren't leashed is a whole other topic :? ) Anyway, as I saw one rather large and fast chocolate lab running towards us I leaned over to pick up the treats, I kept my eye on Charley who was more than happy to say hello until the dog got within two feet of my face (I'm still leaning over), at which point Charley growled and lunged. At first, I thought it might be because the dog was going for the treats and Charley, who had been told to leave them didn't want anyone else taking them either so I dismissed it. Charley doesn't guard food or treats usually but this was a big dog that he had never met and we were in a park we don't usually go to...
What got me thinking he's defending me is he did the same thing to my Mom's golden, who he really likes. The only thing in common with Saturday's event was that I was bent over and Bart came running towards my face. Charley crawled out from under the lawn chair I was sitting on and went for Bart, full force, growls, teeth, the works like he did to the lab on Saturday, there wasn't a fight because Bart is a lover not a fighter and will run away before having to fight to defend himself. They had been running around playing together about 15 minutes before, and went back to play (at Charley's instigation) about 10 minutes after.

On both occasion I sternly said 'NO, not acceptable' then had him do a few push-ups...

So I have two questions, do you think Charley was trying to protect me from something he didn't think I was aware of, and was my reaction such that he'll get that I don't need to be protected again in the future?

jessi76
August 8th, 2006, 09:52 PM
From what you described, I think Charley possibly felt that "his pack" (he & you) was threatened, and he was willing to step up and control the "situation" because you were unable to do so at the time (bent over). it may not of been a "situation" to you - but charley may have perceived it as such, and felt he HAD to defend. (I'm just guessing here, i'm no expert)

If it were me, I'd accept a warning, but only a warning. I'd then take over & control the "situation" myself so my dog could relax. as for your mom's dog, I'd practice more in that situation. Your mom, and her dog, are part of your family, and should be respected as such. Charley needs to learn that. That your mom's dog is allowed to approach you (running, walking, whatever.)

My dog has lunged once at my mom's dog too... I immediately corrected him for it. It happened once, and all has been well since. Tucker knows it's NOT tolerated.

I think Charley will only understand you don't need protection if you a) keep aware of your surroundings (i.e. big dogs running up to you), and b) are in control of the moment.

PetFriendly
August 9th, 2006, 12:38 PM
My dog has lunged once at my mom's dog too... I immediately corrected him for it. It happened once, and all has been well since. Tucker knows it's NOT tolerated.

I think Charley will only understand you don't need protection if you a) keep aware of your surroundings (i.e. big dogs running up to you), and b) are in control of the moment.

I can certainly try to be more aware of my surroundings (we're using the tips from the barking thread and its working really well to stop the barking if I acknoledge what ever is making the noise on the street), but how do I demonstrate that I'm in control of the moment?

When I play in the house with bart and Charley and sit on the floor and restle with them. Since I was still living there when Bart was brought home, he thinks he can still fit in my lap and will try at least once a visit (I visit weekly for the most part) to sit in my lap and Charley has never taken offence to that (though maybe he didn't perceive that as a threat either?!)

jessi76
August 9th, 2006, 01:31 PM
being in control.... be calm, cool, and confident. if a dog (or whatever) comes up, put Charley in a stand-stay next to you, but use your body language to be clear YOU are in control. it's your presence, be aware and upright. If you're tenative, scared, apprehensive, worried, bent over not paying attention, etc.. your dog will pick up on it, and he will be in control FOR you. I get the best behavior from Tucker when I'm clearly in control and very matter of fact about things.

just a note: don't have your face in bite range with a strange dog running towards you (let him have the treats). you just never know. better to find out it's the nicest dog in the world while you're standing up straight, rather than find out it has people issues with your face in the way.

When my dog gets all puffed up if someone or another dog is approaching, I ask for a stand-stay. if he gets worse, and barks/growls, it goes to a sit-stay. When my dog lunged at my mom's dog, it was a down-stay.

PetFriendly
August 12th, 2006, 10:07 AM
just a note: don't have your face in bite range with a strange dog running towards you (let him have the treats). you just never know. better to find out it's the nicest dog in the world while you're standing up straight, rather than find out it has people issues with your face in the way.

When my dog gets all puffed up if someone or another dog is approaching, I ask for a stand-stay. if he gets worse, and barks/growls, it goes to a sit-stay. When my dog lunged at my mom's dog, it was a down-stay.

That's going to be a problem, I try very hard not be innocent and assume that the world is good, but basically I go on the presumption that all dogs at large parks such as this are friendly and never once did I even think that it might bite my face... I really have to work on that. I've always been that way, not sure I can change now.

Charley doens't do a stand stay very well, but his sit and down are good. I'm also trying to teach him TOUCH to give him something to do instead of barking and growling.