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Our nightly walks are turning into nightmares!!!

BusterBoo
September 4th, 2008, 04:40 PM
Sorry haven't been around much, I am still in the process of trying to unpack, settle in and get Buster used to his new surroundings.....which leads me to this post. In Buster's previous home, we lived in the country, not a lot of people, not a lot of dogs, so walks were always calm and enjoyable!

Now...I live in an area where it isn't uncommon to see 6-10 people walking their dogs through the park every night (and right past my living room window!). So, around 7:00 Buster goes to his leash and collar and whines, he wants to go for his 30 minute walk. I usually play inthe backyard with him before to burn off some of his zoomies and we head out.... so, we meet up with dog and owner #1 and as soon as Buster is within sight, he starts freaking out.....Owner #1 is usually quite good and allows Buster to approach dog and sniff and greet. By the time we get to Owner #5, I am stressing because Buster is still tugging at the leash, screaming everytime he sees a dog and making it very difficult to enjoy our evening. Last night I was about to walk into the park, saw 2 black labs, a yellow lab puppy and a couple of small dogs, everyone was getting along and I hesitated, turned around to walkl a different path, then decided to take Buster to see all the other dogs and owners. Well, it took a lot of sssshhhhing and "sit/stay" but he eventually was ok.

sorry for the long post.....how long does it take for an "unsocialized" dog to get used to others???? Buster has been to obedience class (believe it or not :D ) but he is having a rough time accepting other dogs.....

Any suggestions/ideas/HELP!!!!!

babymomma
September 4th, 2008, 04:46 PM
Im sorry i have no idvice for you, but I have the same problem!! keely came from a home with 12 dogs! And now everytime she sees a dog on our walks she Growls, barks, and pulls. She wasnt taken from her home to soon to be socialized, She was 3 months when she came with us :shrug: So im hoping to learn rom this thread too!

Love4himies
September 4th, 2008, 05:06 PM
I am so sorry to hear that, busterboo, with all that you have to deal with right now.

Don't have any advice, but will offer a :grouphug:

Ford Girl
September 4th, 2008, 06:48 PM
Hey!!! :) Is it excited to see them wanna play too hyper issues or is it aggressive bark and lunge not too friendly issues?

How is he with the meet and greet - proper sniff and tail wag?

Is there a place to socialize him off leash? Do you practice good leash skills as in not letting him pull, sit and stays at lights/inter sections, sit and wait while other walkers go by?

More details please. :D

BusterBoo
September 4th, 2008, 08:02 PM
Hey!!! :) Is it excited to see them wanna play too hyper issues or is it aggressive bark and lunge not too friendly issues?

How is he with the meet and greet - proper sniff and tail wag?

Is there a place to socialize him off leash? Do you practice good leash skills as in not letting him pull, sit and stays at lights/inter sections, sit and wait while other walkers go by?

More details please. :D


Well, it's an "aggressive bark and lunge not too friendly to start with", until he gets close enough to sniff and greet. That works good for now since most of the other owners understand that we are new to the area, but I am sure their patience will wear thin.

I am afraid to socialize him off leash as his recall sucks! I do make him sit at intersections, I do give the command "heel" when he pulls too much, but as soon as another dog is within his sight he tenses, which makes me tense, which causes all hell to break loose! I also do make him sit (or at least stop) when other dogs pass by, but I can just feel him straining to get to the other pup. Once he has met the other dog, he will sit and stay as the other dog walks away. My worst fear is that his collar/leash will come undone and he would be gone!

I am wondering if another session at obedience training might be a good idea??? Maybe if he gets used to being in a classroom with 6 other dogs, he will realize that it's a fun thing to be in a park! Do you recommend that I find a park where I could let him run free (probably trailing a 20 ft leash???)

Tonight we only saw one dog....a little tzu about 4 lbs, running in the park, not a HUMAN in sight!!! :wall: So off we went after this small pup and it finally ran down the street and under someone's fence. The neighbour said...Oh ya...it's his dog, it's always loose.... :wall::wall::wall:

I just want a well behaved Buster..... :shrug:

t.pettet
September 4th, 2008, 09:29 PM
I think I'd find a park and let him run (with a long 20 ft leash). Once he gets to meet other dogs then he'll be less anxious on your walks and will learn to approach and greet in a calm manner. A walk is nice but nothing beats running free with playmates.

BusterBoo
September 5th, 2008, 03:20 PM
I think I'd find a park and let him run (with a long 20 ft leash). Once he gets to meet other dogs then he'll be less anxious on your walks and will learn to approach and greet in a calm manner. A walk is nice but nothing beats running free with playmates.

Thanks! That's basically the type of park we go to, but I guess I am just too nervous that he will attack a dog and end up either getting hurt or hurting another pet. :shrug:

Ford Girl
September 5th, 2008, 03:40 PM
I think I'd find a park and let him run (with a long 20 ft leash). Once he gets to meet other dogs then he'll be less anxious on your walks and will learn to approach and greet in a calm manner. A walk is nice but nothing beats running free with playmates.

Thanks! That's basically the type of park we go to, but I guess I am just too nervous that he will attack a dog and end up either getting hurt or hurting another pet. :shrug:

I agree, some off leash meet and greet would do him good. As much as you are worried, you will learn lots about his intention with a few meet and greets, and other dogs won't tolerate rudness..."attack" is a strong word, it rarely ever gets that far....growling, pinning, teeth baring, air snapping are all pretty normal warnings dogs send each other if the meet and greet is inapproproate.

Off leash provides socailization, an outlet for pent up energy and a chance for him to learn and practice recall.

Don't give up the leash walking tho, it teaches patience, discipline, manners...you need a mix of both, so I suggest leash walking him around the block a few times with some sit - stays, down stays, quiet pauses...make your way to the park...as you are about to enter the park and unleash him, have him sit and wait...work up to 3 - 5 minutes...then unleash him and tell him to go play...

Be part of the play tho, watch carefully and be there if you should need to remove him, you will learn lots by the reactions of the other dogs, some are tolerant and will put up with rudeness others will run away cuz they cant be botherd, some will snap back.

When on leash he will be easier to control, stand infront of him if you need to block his view of an on coming dog, snap your fingers, say quiet - be firm and calm, let him know its not appropriate...demand his attention, he will get it. They show signs of arousel before they start freaking out, stop him as soon as his ears perk or he learn forward or the tail raises. If you stop it before it escalates it will be easier to get him back down to calm.

Its going to take some time, dogs learn best from other dogs...keep working on it, it's taken us a full year to get the leash walk down pat. Try to relax your grip when he is being a good boy, walk with your shoulder back, chest out - its your walk, not his...he just gets to come along. ;)

Seriously, walking like you are the queen and he's just a side kick wil help you control him, boost your confidence and show his he's to follow. :)

MommaKat
September 5th, 2008, 11:18 PM
I had this same problem when we first got Maggie our 2 and half year old newfie. She didn't have much socializing with other dogs so she went bonkers when she saw them.

We got her a Gentle Leader and it works great but she hates it royally, and because she hates it I hate it too. When I took her to the dog park the rules were that if your dog is too rough you put them in a time out and if they do it again you take them home but your still welcome at the dog park.

She was great when we took her the first time, and since taking her she has calm down loads. Another thing I hear works (if you have the spare time) is put up an ad to walk a dog with yours or even doggy sit. So your dog can have one on one time. You could also go early morning to the dog park when there is not a lot of dogs. That's my 2 cents:)

BusterBoo
September 6th, 2008, 06:45 AM
Thanks Everyone!

FordGirl, I plan on following your advice to the letter! I know Buster feels my stress and we will work on allowing him to meet and greet other dogs. I honestly don't think Buster would "attack", but he does lunge forward, back end low and teeth showing and snapping. I am sure all he needs is for one other dog to put him in his place (not biting, but just some strong woofs)

Unfortunately, it is pouring rain here today, so no walk for us. But most definitely tomorrow I will be off to the park, after we do a couple of walks around the block first.

:thumbs up

JennieV
September 6th, 2008, 10:28 AM
BusterBoo, I think you should correct it every time he oversteps the boundary. First of all, yes, he feels your anxiety when another dog appears, but you should just watch him carefully, as soon as you feel that he noticed the other dog and tenses up - snap him out of it, a strong tug on his leash, a sit/stay - whatever works for you. You are the pack leader (famous words by Cesar Millan) and you should make sure he knows that. You could bring some little treats with you and reward his good behaviour...Like as soon as he cals down - give him a little treat...Soon you wont need them, but at this time you need all the help you can get.
I agree with the other post, it is YOUR walk (he doesnt know that it isnt) and he gets to tag along, as long as he behaves. So yes, shoulders back and down (dont pull them up towards your ears, that creates a sense of tension right away), head up, NO TENSION! Deep breaths as you go along (in through the nose, out slowly through the mouth). You set the mood. As soon as his behaviour is unsolicited - correct it. It will be confusing at first, but he will understand.

Sparky was not very good on leash, he pulled in 100 different directions at once, lounged forward, then falls behind and lies down, doesnt want to move...It takes time, but now, a week later, he mostly keeps up with my pace and only occasionally do I have to correct him. Its still a work in progress, he doesnt listen to daddy as well, but its so worth it. You will have a nicer, calmer dog going on nice calm walks.

BusterBoo
September 10th, 2008, 06:45 PM
Well, it's been 2 nights that we have gone out for our walk and I must say tonight was the best so far! I had a pocket full of very small treats and would make Buster sit/stay about every 7th house, then a treat. By the time I ventured into the park, he was looking at me, paying attention, but .... not another dog in sight!!! :D So we practiced sit/stay/treat and walked out of the park.

Back into the park and we see MAX!!!! (the retriever from next door). Buster started wagging and lunging, but no barking. I made him sit, gave him a treat and he walked nicely over to Max for a sniff and greet! The lady (my neighbour) said she has noticed a big improvement in Buster :thumbs up and her and I walked home with Max and Buster side by side....(God, I was so proud of my boy!!!!)

She also told me that Buster never barks when he is home alone during the day and she doesn't mind him barking at the back fence when he is out because to her, it is obvious that he is very protective of me and she thinks that is great!

My boy got extra treats when we got home!! :cloud9:

jealma
September 10th, 2008, 07:00 PM
I"m so glad you are having big improvements with walking buster. Sounds like your doing something right :-) Keep at it.

Ford Girl
September 10th, 2008, 07:02 PM
What a great update!!! See what a little structure and expectations can do for them!! They need to be told what you expect of them!! Keep it up! Good for you and Buster!!

Keep us updated...oh, and maybe a few pics too..wink wink!!