Monday, March 16, 2015

Curious Amusement! Reactive Dog!


I've talked about Phoenix being a reactive dog a bunch of times. Her reactivity honestly just depends on the dog at this point in time. If it's a large overly hyper and rude dog she can get snarky. So we've been working a lot on that and we've been going to Thousand Acres really early in the morning so we can avoid most people and dogs. We are getting to point where we are seeing a lot of the same dogs, she's either met some of them already or she's avoided them (a lot of the time she chooses avoidance and ignores the dogs)  but recognizes she's seen the dog before and it's fine. After our hike, I will generally stand off to the side so Phoenix can see the action but not be in it. We play the "look at that game" and she gets food for looking at dogs. I've also been working on counter conditioning her to dogs in motion because that will set her off since her previous owners allowed her to fence fight.

So when my husband decided to do the taxes the other day and suggested that I go to the park at 3 in the afternoon I was a little hesitant. It was a warm and sunny day, 70 degrees! It was the warmest day we've had so far. I wasn't sure if it was a good idea. Generally the park is the most busy on the weekends and this was a week day. My husband really needed the quiet to get the taxes done and I decided to go ahead and go. I armed myself with some pretty high value treats and we were off.

When I got there I was happy to see that the parking lot was not full and I hoped there weren't very many people out there. We made it off the entry trails and onto some of the back ones. We encountered a few dogs here and there but everything was fine and just like when I go in the mornings. The girls were busy sniffing the sniffs, eating the grass and racing each other back to me for their prized treats.


We got to this one part of the trail that takes you down to the river and here comes this guy with a medium sized tan dog. The dog was young and looked a lot like the girls but with floppy ears and a bigger head. They greeted her properly and politely and continued up the trail. The dog came up for a visit with me and discovered that I had some delicious smelling stuff on me and it was all over. She began jumping all over me and freaking out wanting the food. I've learned that the best thing to do in this sort of situation is to just stand there quietly and allow the owner to deal with their dog. So I stand tall and ignore the dog. I look over and my dogs have returned. Zoe is a bit further up the trail but Phoenix is very close within three feet. Meanwhile this dog is still jumping all over me and sort of spazzing out. The owner calls and calls the dog but she will not go back and he just stood there and kept calling her. If I had started walking she'd have came with me and her owner was getting really mad so I stayed still.

I look over at Phoenix and she's just standing there watching this dog jump all over me with this curious amused look on her face. Like she was laughing at me! It was so cute and I was the proudest dog mom ever. Before, she would of gone into "I must guard and protect" snark, snap the whole reaction thing. Instead she just stood there wagging her tail and smiling at me. No reaction, no worried expression, nothing but curious amusement.


Eventually the dog figured out that she was not getting anything out of me and that I was a very boring person. She returned to her owner and we continued on our way. I am SO proud of Phoenix. It was a truly amazing moment for us and I'm so happy with her progress. This is the kind of thing that gives me hope that the training is having an effect on her and that maybe one day she will "normal". Whatever normal is.




30 comments:

  1. I needed this. Hope. Riko is such a troublesome little dude right now. I'm really struggling to stay positive with him and motivation to get out and train with him is becoming harder to find and hold onto.

    I'm so glad for you and Phoenix! I just have to stick with it, like you guys have, and maybe he will turn out "normal" too one day. Whatever normal is. ;)

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    1. Awe I'm sorry Riko is having a hard time right now! Sometimes a break is exactly what's needed!

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  2. So glad that it went well. Hailey is reactive when on leash, she is completely different when she is free. I worry less at the dog park then when we are on a walk.

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    1. That's good that she does okay when she's free! Phoenix will react either on leash or off depending on the situation so I have to be careful in both situations.

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  3. Fantastic! It always make you feel wonderful when you have a break-thru moment. Makes all that training worth it!!!

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    1. Absolutely! I'm thrilled at how good she was! Previously she would of felt like she needed to protect me.

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  4. Yay Phoenix! What a good girl. Barley would have flattened that dog if she'd seen that happen to me--which is why we don't go to off-leash parks.

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    1. My dogs would of taken that dog out, too not very long ago. :) They don't appreciate other dogs being rude, especially to me!

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  5. That's such a huge deal!!!!

    I notice that when I have really good treats in my pockets - I tend to attract other dogs too. Thankfully, Blueberry doesn't have much of a reaction and it helps that I don't give out her treats. :)

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    1. Yes! Same here. I don't give away their treats either. That's one of my hard and fast rules. I've had some people get pissed at me for it, too. They feel like it's not fair that their dog isn't getting anything and that I should bring treats "for the whole class" like people do with kids at school.. I'm like oh hell no! If you want to give your dog a treat, you bring some! LOL

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  6. Happy for you that Phoenix was so good! But what the heck is up with that rude dog owner? Letting his/her dog jump all over you? I'd have had some choice words.

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    1. Yeah, it happens SO often. The guy was getting so mad at his dog, too but he refused to come get her. It's like.. "dude, stop calling your dog! It's not working and just come get her." It's not like he was that far down the trail, either. It was dumb.

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  7. Aw what a wonderful story!!!! I'm so glad it all went well! I have been working on this with 2 of my huskies as well. Still having issues though :/
    ჌ husky hugz ჌ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. Thank you! It can be tough at times and she's not always this good. We just keep working on it and I keep hoping it will sink in. I love to celebrate these little moments instead of focusing on the thing she didn't do right. I find that it helps me stay positive.

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  8. Yay Phoenix! That is pawesome! I think Dakota would have lost his mind trying to have the other dog stop jumping on me. Great job Phoenix!

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    1. Thank you!! Previously, both of my dogs would not have been at all impressed by the other dog jumping all over me and they would of moved in to help stop it. I'm really glad they didn't though! I want them to know that I will always take care of them and that they don't need to worry about me.

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  9. Good for you Phoenix! Well done! Love that running pic too!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  10. Good job, Phoenix! One of my friends was joking that reactive dogs need AA coins to mark their progress. Hi, I'm Mr. N and I've been non-reactive for 43 days...
    What are you using for high value treats? I think I need to rotate mine. Mr. N is getting bored with them.

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    1. Recently I've been using Orijen freeze dried raw treats. :)

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  11. Yay, Phoenix!!!
    I usually just walk away in such cases in hopes that the owner will be quicker to get their dog next time since they will need to do some penalty yards ;)

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    1. I think I was trying to walk away, I'd take a step or two and the dog didn't care. I really wish the owner had just come to get her. I don't know what he was thinking!!

      LOL at penalty yards!! :D

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  12. Yay, Phoenix!!! What a douche of an owner the other dog had though.

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    1. Yeah he was!! He was even swearing at the dog but still refused to walk his butt up the trail and come get her!

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  13. That's great that Phoenix did so well! Hooray!

    But - oy, the other owner. I've been in a similar situation - but even worse, the other owner yelled at ME for bringing treats to the dog park. We never go to the dog park anymore. Too many unknowns and too many jerky owners! :\

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    1. Oh no! I'm so sorry! I've had that happen to me too! The other day some guy said, "YOU'VE GOT FOOD!!" and I said, "It's not a crime." I just kept walking, too. The other little dog park I used to go to someone used to call me the "treat lady". I used to be so offended by it because I'm not the "treat lady". I have treats for MY dogs when they do something amazing. LOL. Eventually I told her, hi! My name is Lauren. I'd appreciate it if you could call me by my name. Thanks. She never called me the treat lady again. Thank goodness.

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  14. That is so great to hear! I'd love to go to the dog park, to be safe we to stick to play dates though.

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  15. Way to go Phoenix!!! Great Job!!👏👏

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  16. That is excellent. It is nice when all the training comes together! Good job! I will never understand people who just stand there when there dogs do not recall and keep calling them. Um you already lost the battle so walk over, get your dog and put it on lead. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened to us. The last time was when we were out hunting.

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  17. Congratulations, that is a huge milestone and you have every right to be proud of yourself and Phoenix!!

    You've got to tell me your secrets, Delilah is similar in her reactions, I can never gauge what will set her off.

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