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nonaberry

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    Martinez, Ca

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  1. Hello again, Just a follow up. Brodie allowed his classroom trainer to approach him yesterday and did target work with her. Accepted payoffs with a nice, gentle mouth. We also met with the potential dog sitter who we will probably not be using. He's a nice man and has had some behavioral training in his background. But he appears to still be using dominance theory training mode, and in silly ways. Brodie met him on leash, moved in nicely doing basic obedience moves for rewards for him. VERY interested in the hot dog reward, which we do not use but trainer does. Trainer was sitting on my couch with a coffee table in front...not much leg room. As trainer asked Brodie to 'down' between the couch and table Brodie stepped on trainers foot...then moved back and into a down, mouth open and smiling, great eye contact with trainer the entire time. Hot dog, hot dog, hot dog.... Trainer's interpretation was that this was a dominance move by the dog...."any time a dog steps on a human's foot it's an attempt at dominance"......hmmmmm.....I could maybe buy it if a dog steps up and STAYS on your foot..... Just last night I was reading a study done by UC Davis behavioral staff about the dangers of labeling dog behavior too soon in the evaluation process. The study postulates that many people, lay persons and trainers alike, use the term 'dominant' as a catchall to describe dog behavior and that dominance aggression is actually pretty rare. They state that 95+% of dog-human aggression is not a bid for dominance. And that the term is too vague. It's an easy out and stops us from looking further for answers and understanding. Boy did this resonate with me....because..... Kind of like labeling a human psyche ( or other) patient 'crazy'...it doesn't really tell you anything about the patient's condition. I work in human medicine and all to often see the label 'manipulative/controlling' pasted onto patients. This usually occurs if a patient is frustrated, hostile or unusually insistent about something. Or angry. Or grieving in a less than perfect way. Or non compliant. Often the clinician has not taken the time to understand the patients needs or is telegraphing a lack of respect or interest toward the patient. I find this practice incredibly patronizing. It usually tells us volumes more about the clinician than it does about the patient. As a side note: Classical counter conditioning works! It is hard/embarrassing/scary/frustrating etc.. to reward your dog for growling/lunging at strangers but we keep at it, with the behaviorist pushing us from behind sometimes. 8 weeks in, Brodie is definitely beginning to associate strangers with good stuff .
  2. Hi everyone, thanks again for all the input. Brodie has been working with a vet behaviorist since the first week he came to us. We were looking for (maybe have found) a dog sitter with enough of a 'behaviorist' background to help reinforce the program on a daily basis. Re our am hikes: We have always hiked in the early am with the same group of people. The group varies slightly from am to am but consists of the same 3-5 dog trainers/sitters and a string of 5-8 dogs. We hike mostly off leash but leash up when necessary. The area is on the levy trails, specifically off leash for dogs, remote and not used by many people which is why those of us who avoid the dog parks etc...go there. Brodie was on leash the first 4 days then off leash with this group. He has done very well in this situation, a little shy at first but friendly and responds well to recall from all people in this group. They do not lean over him to pet him but do offer him rewards for good recall/sit etc..and to evaluate his stress level when accepting payoffs. We have not had any issues of aggression/stress at all with him in this venue. Our behaviorist scheduled our second encounter down here with him 'off leash' for this reason. The incident the other day did not involve any aggression on his part. That said, I was very afraid that it might. Having listened my own fears and to the input here, we are now using a long line on the levy trails. And we continue to observe him for signs of stress. For what it's worth, Brodie is not/has never been dog aggressive. The incident at my house was entirely d/t my poor judgment and will not be repeated. Brodie's main issues have been with one on one introductions to new people and those passing by our home. thanks again, Nonaberry
  3. Good Morning Everyone, Brodie took his Prozac yest and this am and kept everything down. Slight decrease in appetite but he is eating. When hiking off leash this am we were surprised by a runner coming around the corner fast. All dogs ran towards him with DH and I at full speed behind them, calling. My heart stopped. The runner stopped, held his arm straight out and said 'stop'. Brodie stopped in his tracks. I then called him to me and he came, I leashed him....... This guy runs on the off leash trails frequently and is never nice about off leash dogs (not sure why he chooses to run at this location??). The bad thing is that the interaction could have been awful. The great thing is that it wasn't. Still, I feel like I was an irresponsible owner. It seems like there's no risk free way to give Brodie the daily workout that he needs. We've decided to go right at sunrise tomorrow. On another note, I found a local behavioral consultant who has his own dog sitting business. YIPEEEE!! I've been looking for this combo. He got his training at the Marin County Humane Society with Trish King, a well known/respected behaviorist here in the SF Bay Area and he uses all positive methods. He took a short intake over the phone and will come to our house this Sunday am. I like that he asked me if Brodie had any food allergies and queried me about which 'high value' rewards work for Brodie. Clementine and Sage were attacked by my friends newly adopted, 3 y/o female, deaf Jack Russel yesterday. She has an older, mellow JR (believe it or not) that my 2 have a love affair with and she wanted to introduce the new girl. Relayed that she was very dog friendly but no obedience training yet. We took introductions slowly and I kept Brodie crated in another room. Within 5 minutes the new JR had cornered my 85# boy, biting his face repeatedly..he cowered then lashed back. As I took his collar, the JR turned and went for Clementine who flew through the house like a bullet. I put both my dogs away with treats and words of comfort. My poor dogs..... Very traumatic for all. My friend was in tears. We finished the visit with her new girl back in the car. We tried to end on a positive note with our two and her older Jack having a little time to regroup and play together. This went very well and seemed to calm everyone down. Brodie heard the whole thing, however, and was more reactive yesterday aft., jumping up and barking at the slightest sound and checking the front door from time to time.
  4. We always tethered or 'wore' all guide dog puppies. When they demonstrated some decision making skill and confidence they graduated to short periods on tie downs in the room we were in. That meant that once they were old enough to walk on the ground they went to the potty with you, sat by your desk, were 3 feet away at most while you cook dinner, slept right next to the bed and sat in the foot well of the front passenger seat of the car (prob not allowed now). It was always on the left and once they learned to heel it was on the left without exception. I have followed some of this practice with all new dogs mostly out of old habit but find that it works very well to bond them to you. When she was really little Clementine would cry in the crate at night until I put her leash on and threaded it through the front of the crate. She's better now but both the young bc's will ask to be 'worn' on leash if they are scared or overwhelmed!
  5. Here's a pic of my pb bc smoothcoat girl at 4 months:
  6. Hi Daisy, Here's my front door scenario. Sage, my oldest, is a chow/lab. He is my second chow mix. I like this mix because the majority of the time he is a couch potato. He lays around like a slug, we step over him and he is relaxed and friendly with guests who enter the house. But he alarms when anyone approaches our home. I live in an urban, downtown neighborhood, mostly nice stable neighbors but with some transient folks around and a county jail just one mile down at the other end of Main st. So I feel safe with Sage at my front door. I always respond immediately to his notice and he is easy to call off ,although not perfect.He usually gets in a final soft 'woof' after I've told him to stop. The thing is that his bark is actually a crazy bellow....like a bull or an ox. This is a great deterrent for possible intruders but also sets off the young ones. Right now we are crating Brodie when anyone comes to the house. Clementine stops barking when Sage does. Nobody jumps up and they are friendly when I open the door but they definitely crowd arriving guests for the first minute or two. Maybe I will crate Clementine when I crate Brodie. Any thoughts?
  7. Hi guys, Tried the Prozac again this am...8mg, so far he is keeping it down and kept down breakfast. If he starts vomiting again I'm going to call the vet to see if it's ok to start him on 4 mgs instead.Thanks again everyone for all your support; because of it I'm feeling like Brodie might actually be rehabilitated. I'll have to take more pics and post them so I can share how elegant and beautiful he is.
  8. cody you are right. 7 weeks is not a long time. Why have I been forgetting that? The last few days have been very good for Brodie and he is growing in confidence and trust. I see lots of nice things. One is that he watches and gently thumps his tail now when I stroke the other dogs. Clementine and Sage have always done this. Visible affection to one seems to make the others happy too. My son has agreed to call/ring bell before opening the door. He's no novice to dog training, having done guide dogs through 4H for years. But, like us, he has a learning curve re fear aggression ie just redirecting at the front door won't work here.
  9. talked to my vet tonight who says she used the mist when her 3 dogs were fighting...per vet it calmed them down and no problems since...If this stuff works this well..I wish I had been the one to come up with the formula! Maybe someone will invent HAP?
  10. thank you Harlow. I hope so too. He's just so sweet (with us) that every time I think "I can't do this" he does something that makes me realize I have to keep going.
  11. Hi Blackdawg, We bought the 'reconcile' which is the vet. form of Prozac...chewable beefy thing, 8 mg dose per day. He started yesterday on the first dose in the am, no problem getting him to take it but he vomited dinner then refused breakfast this am. Ate a little 30 minutes later when fed by hand, along with his pill...vomited it all up after 5 minutes. I've stopped the Prozac for now because this boy was on 2 courses of antibiotics for pneumonia until mid June and lost alot of weight. I need him to eat so he doesn't drop down too low weightwise so for now I'll use the DAP collar, follow everyone's good advice and revisit the Prozac issue soon. He was out on leash with me today when we had guests in our home. I did not request that he greet them. He settled into a corner of the room with a chew toy very nicely. No stares, no jaw clenching..an occasional worried glance at the guest, who ignored him. Checking in with me or DH with gentle nose bumps on the hand, as he's been taught. My other two are starting to do the nose bump now too, as they've seen that Brodie gets rewarded when he follows the 'touch' command .
  12. thanks Cody and Duchess, yes, the son thing needs work... It's funny but Brodie seemed to bond with us immediately. I can do anything to him handling-wise and he will tolerate it. He's a big baby with all family members. I felt it was a step forward when he stopped fence running/barking. He now comes to 'tell us' that something is disturbing. He tells on people/things frequently and then we go check it out together, if he's willing. His early signs are subtle but usually noticeable. They include slight jaw clenching, a worried stare....sometimes just a heightened focus or stillness. Growling is a late sign and precedes lunging. My heartfelt thanks to everyone for your comments and input. Your encouragements, tips and assessments help me to feel that an ongoing effort is very worthwhile.
  13. Hi Blackdawgs, thank you so much for your insights. I should have come onto the boards sooner with my issues....it is so helpful to hear from other people who have been down this path. The Prozac might be a moot point. Brodie refused to eat today. Coaxing and hand feeding got him to take a few bites of breakfast. He took his prozac then spit it out. Half an hour later we tried again. This time he took it but vomited it up after 5 minutes. Hmmmmm.....I am a critical care nurse and fairly familiar with the concept of steady serum levels. Not sure how easily we'll be able to attain this....we'll see. I'm reluctant to remove him from his class because he clearly enjoys it so much. It is surprising that he's had no 'episodes' while there but what I see is a nice, polite excitement level while in school. He is upbeat all day after a class. They do not push any interaction between trainers and dogs, in fact they set up visual barriers so the dogs cannot see each other or the other handlers. We will keep an eye on it, however. I have also been reading "bringing shadow to light" and also "the Cautious Canine"..."Control unleashed" is on back order but I hope to get it soon. Here is a pic of my little Clementine when she was 6 months old: Nonaberry
  14. Hi Julie, Thank you so much for your kind words. When I decided last Friday that it was time to send Brodie to heaven my family split right down the middle in yeahs/nays. No body was neutral about it. Some are tired from all the work, some think he just needs more time. It was my husband really whose quiet protest tipped the scale. I was glad afterward that we had decided to give him more time as he surprised me this weekend with his awesome attitude. I'm not sure yet how far my family is willing to go re long term management. Brodie is not difficult to crate when we have company. We usually allow him out to say hello (from a distance)for a short period of time. He is either on leash or in my husbands arms and has done well in settling down with a chew toy at a distance from the guest. We don't push it and always remove him while he is still calm. The scary time is when my son comes home with a friend. I don't know they're coming, dogs are out and there is an excited meet and greet at the front door. Brodie is aroused by this, of course. He has twice lunged at someone, twice come up and licked them then trotted away. If we know someone is coming he is leashed or crated before we open the door. We are working with my son about ringing the doorbell etc. with only partial success. AND we need to work on our front stuff with all the dogs. They're not horrible..no jumping or anything, but I would prefer them to line up quietly and come forward one at a time (in order by age) for a polite greeting
  15. thanks urge... we just started two brodie journals. My husband and I are each doing one. It'll be interesting to compare notes! DH was a non dog guy when we married. He barely tolerated my extremely well behaved lab at that time. 10 years later he's in classes, dogs go with him everywhere, sleep on his chest, practically share his food LOL
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