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Old August 6th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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More about the Black Lab

**Names of humans have been changed to protect the Innocent**

Okay, so some of you are already aware that I'm working with a client who has an inter-dog aggressive black lab, Andi.

We've been working with her for about two months now and have progressed SO much. (For those of you who don't know, this black lab came to me wearing a pinch collar and could not walk on the same sidewalk as another dog. We now have her passing other strange dogs - when appropriate - and she wears a martingale and can be safely walked).

Last night we had a lesson, in the rain no-less, and things were GREAT. Probably one of the best lessons we've had thus far. We even ran into another dog training class with CRAZY dogs that were barking at our black lab and she didn't react. I also had one of my other clients dogs with us, a big black lab mix named Cooper, and things were going awesome.

Of course by the end of the lesson we spotted someone with a dog off-leash in a non off leash area. This REALLY annoys me because a) I need to take dogs with behavioral issues to on-leash areas only so I can ensure that no fights break out unncessarily, and b) the other dog is in danger without the owner knowing it, because they're irresponsible.

Anyway, we waited on the bridge and watched while this guy threw a toy into the river (it was raining and storming and yet he was still making his dog swim in the water, but whatever...) and then we passed calmly while the dog was in the river. We were probably a good thirty meters away, walking down the path away from the dog and crazy owner and I was instructing Sally and Joe how to proceed.
Suddenly we hear this loud panting and Sally looks behind her, she was the one holding Andi's leash, see's this off leash dog BOLTING after us - and she freaks. As in quickly tightens the leash, starts saying, "WHATDOIDO, WHATDOIDO, WHATDOIDO?!?!" in an anxious high pitch voice and starts jogging and leading Andi to the side - who had no clue what was even going on (along with the rest of us, lol) but started spinning and getting anxious, and as soon as she spotted the strange dog began growling anxiously. I detered the other dog, and it only took a few seconds to calm Andi down back into a good state of mind, which alone was a huge sucess, but still.

My issue here is that Sally always gets worked up when she sees a potential situation, even after all the progress and 'wins' we've had with Andi, because she has seen her dog fight with other dogs and she's...'scarred', if you will.

Any suggestions on how to build confidence, or is this a lost cause? No matter how many times I try to build her up or reassure her that Andi has come so far, she's ALWAYS doubting her dog. It's really sad...but it's also hindering Andi's progress. Last week we had a lesson with just the husband and Andi was wonderful - no reactions AT ALL. It's clear that Sally works Andi up before anything even happens, and I TRY explaining this to her and she proves it to herself everytime. Last night was the first time I actually got upset about it though....mostly because I feel like I'm banging my head on the wall.
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Last edited by Bailey_; August 6th, 2009 at 06:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old August 7th, 2009, 02:24 AM
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MyBirdIsEvil MyBirdIsEvil is offline
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That's a hard one. I know how to build confidence in dogs, but humans are more complicated lol.

Maybe she's just one of those people that's always anxious about everything. I have a cousin like that and every single dog he's owned has taken on that anxiety. The dogs would be just fine, intelligent and receptive, with me holding the leash but change 100% when he was the one on the other end.

I really don't know what you could do about it other than keep do what you're doing and explain to her that if she doesn't tone it down and show some trust in her dog he's never going to improve with her on the other end of the leash because the main problem is her reaction.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 07:34 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Bailey - As dumb as this may sound, I would have her walk your dog (which I assume is stable) into situations that would frighten or stress her out. If you build her confidence on how to act appropriately this may assist when you feel she is confident enough or has 'learnt' how to react to uncomfortable situations.

I realize you are a dog trainer and not a psychologist, however to ensure she learns how to manage dogs under unusual or usual circumstances, no matter what you do for this dog, the woman will fail and so will the dog. Unfortunately, you have your hands full but she is your client. I would switch dogs with her for a while until she knows how to react appropriately in situations which she wants to avoid - with a stable dog.

You have got your hands full girly!
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Old August 7th, 2009, 07:42 AM
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I agree, she needs to experience a different "reality" while walking a dog because hers right now is Andi sees dog, Andi attacks dog, no control over Andi. Once she can experience a calm dog, her "reality" of walking socialized dogs while other strange ones are present may change.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 09:25 AM
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If you or they could get access to a vidoe camera could you try taping her walking Andi and a calm dog? then show her the difference in attitude with different dogs? show her what she is doing wrong with Andi while watching the video? Sometimes being able to see later what went wrong when things are calmer might help. just a thought.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 09:42 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ownedbycats View Post
If you or they could get access to a vidoe camera could you try taping her walking Andi and a calm dog? then show her the difference in attitude with different dogs? show her what she is doing wrong with Andi while watching the video? Sometimes being able to see later what went wrong when things are calmer might help. just a thought.
Great suggestion!
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:26 AM
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Watching answers here...

we have this problem at home...DW, who is really a natural with dogs, they just LOVE and respect and respond to her....she has 0 confidence with Gracie, and boy oh boy does it ever change Gracie's behaviour around other dogs...it's just wild. So I'm always the one to walk her in situations where there might be other dogs...no problems EVER...but DW just "can't" settle down about it...so weird.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:27 AM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts/comments on this. I don't want to get frustrated myself because THAT is also not good to bring to a lesson with a dog of this behavior.

Quote:
Bailey - As dumb as this may sound, I would have her walk your dog (which I assume is stable) into situations that would frighten or stress her out. If you build her confidence on how to act appropriately this may assist when you feel she is confident enough or has 'learnt' how to react to uncomfortable situations.
You're right, BM. The funny thing is I did think she was ready to handle Andi for most of the class. In previous classes whenever I pushed 'Sallys' comfort level and made her do things she didn't think Andi would succeed with, she always had some kind of doubtful comment. And then Andi would succeed and she'd eat her words, which would make me THINK that she had learned.

Quote:
If you or they could get access to a vidoe camera could you try taping her walking Andi and a calm dog? then show her the difference in attitude with different dogs? show her what she is doing wrong with Andi while watching the video? Sometimes being able to see later what went wrong when things are calmer might help. just a thought.
THIS IS AWESOME!!! Thanks so much for that suggestion. I think you're right - it's one thing to have someone tell you what you're doing wrong, but to actually see it for yourself is entirely different. THANKS everyone!!!!!
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendyfoot View Post
Watching answers here...

we have this problem at home...DW, who is really a natural with dogs, they just LOVE and respect and respond to her....she has 0 confidence with Gracie, and boy oh boy does it ever change Gracie's behaviour around other dogs...it's just wild. So I'm always the one to walk her in situations where there might be other dogs...no problems EVER...but DW just "can't" settle down about it...so weird.
Isn't it amazing how our behavior and reactions in certain situations can completley change a dogs behavior? I've known it before, but until meeting these people with their black lab have not seen it to this degree.
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"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail."

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Tippy (Collie/ShepX)
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Artiro (Cane Corso)
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  #10  
Old August 7th, 2009, 11:30 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Good luck and keep us updated. As you know, training people are 10 X harder than training the dogs.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMax View Post
Good luck and keep us updated. As you know, training people are 10 X harder than training the dogs.
So true. I'll let you know, and I'll see if I can get permission from Sally to post the video link once I take it. Maybe if some of you can also see it, it could help with suggestions.
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"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail."

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Old August 13th, 2009, 10:49 PM
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Bailey_ Bailey_ is offline
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Pictures!!!

Just wanted to post a couple of pictures that I recieved of the gorgeous Andi girl. She's come such a long way.

Andi before I saw her....



Andi now.


I like to think she looks happier in the last picture now that we've worked with her. She really is such a beautiful dog.
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"If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater. . . suggest that he wear a tail."

Bailey (Labradoodle)
Tippy (Collie/ShepX)
Vali (American Bulldog)
Artiro (Cane Corso)
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