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So I just got back from walk and playtime w/ Maggie, generally a good thing that leaves me in high spirits, but today was different.

 

Maggie and I are starting to frequent a seldom used softball field about 1/2 mile from my house; this was our third visit.

 

This time we had been playing for about 30 mins when a guy and his 3 border collies comes onto the field. Maggie being semi dog aggressive, especially around more than one dog and such, caused me to leash her up and retreat to the bleachers so that she could watch the action from a comfy distance. No big deal right? Wrong. :rolleyes:

 

The guy yelled across the field that Maggie could play w/ his dogs, but I responded that she wasn't good w/ others some of the time. The shouts of course brought two of his dogs running over to say hi to the newcomer, which in turn stressed Maggie and she started growling and hard staring while I pinned her to my legs. After an abbreviated lunge, I swiftly tightened my hold on her leash and dragged her away while the guy got his dogs.

 

He came over to see what was up and we talked a bit; it turns out he fosters for Great Lakes BCR! This would be cool in any other situation, but since I'm going to be looking for a new dog in about 18 months and they're on my list of places to look at it could be quite bad. :D He now knows how Maggie reacts to other dogs, although I did mention that she's fine w/ fosters and in agility, therapy dog, etc. I hope if I try to adopt from them this doesn't complicate matters!

 

I'm thinking about writing him an email since I can get an address off the GLBCR website just to apologize for the way my dog acted and suggest meeting up sometime for a parallel walk w/ him and his dogs sometime. What do you think?

 

He was really understanding and said that Maggie seemed like a great dog despite her issues, so that made me feel better, but it still sucks that she reacted.

 

After 6 years I guess I haven't quite given up on having a dog that can play well w/ others no matter what, so this was tough to face again. I wish I could snap my fingers and have Maggie be a 'dog park dog' sometimes.

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How terrible for you and Maggie! I bet she wishes she could play too! Poor thing. What have you done as far as putting her in situations with other dogs? I guess that is a silly question. 6yrs. is a long time. I wish I could give you the magic wand you need.

 

Most places that adopt dogs out have you bring the resident dog with you so they can see for themseves how they get along. So if there is no prob there you should be ok.

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See that's the thing, Maggie is way less reactive than she was - she doesn't get upset/reactive until the dog is w/in 3 feet or so. We've done a lot of counterconditioning/desensitization stuff and she works well in class off lead w/ other dogs. She can even go to agility trials indoors with no problem! It's just the sniffing and w/in 3 ft thing that makes her react. :rolleyes:

 

She's fabulous with fosters - I've had about 7 and she's gotten along well with all but one, and the one she didn't like was one I wanted to get rid of asap 'cause he was driving ME crazy too.

 

The key is actually introducing them on her turf, reverse of what all the books say I know, because she knows the rules and knows the new dog has to follow them too. We do a long intro in the house as well, but usually within 2 or 3 days the foster and her are great buddies with only one or two minor scuffles about access to toys and bowls (which are completely controlled by me now :D ).

 

Maggie has about 10 dog buddies currently, mostly males but several females as well, all herding or working breed mixes except for one, just like my fosters. The dogs she plays with are all quite indifferent to her posturing and she's trustworthy enough that some of my friends use her to 'tame' their unruly dogs and teach them about giving space to dogs w/ seniority.

 

Maggie is just one huge tangled puzzle I guess lol.

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Maggie was 9 or 11 months old and I'm her 4th owner (all 4 in less than a year ).

 

There is a mix of causes for her reactivity I think: she will guard me from other dogs, but she also has some fear basis I believe as she *hates* fluffy curly tailed dogs and always has - they don't even need to be near me and she'll go after them.

 

In controlled situations (i.e. safe area and other dogs separated by a fence) I have had some success in walking away when she aggresses, but at that point, with a fence separating her from other dogs, she seems to be totally in her guard mode as her tail is up and ears forward.

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You know- we're all born with our "bag of tricks". Sometimes those tricks make us congenial, get along with everyone, sometimes they make us less social, but that doesn't make us bad (btw, I am the latter).

Same goes for dogs. Some dogs welcome others running up, some don't. I wouldn't worry about this with the rescue. People who rescue dogs know that they are not all the same, and those who really KNOW dogs, expect it Maggie is who she is, and she is making strides; be proud of her

Julie

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Yea I love my girl and am proud of her, but I can't help wishing she didn't get so concerned about stuff. Sometimes she's just so *serious*; I just wish she could relax and not worry so much I guess.

 

Any way, good news! I emailed the guy, Ray, and we're going to work out a walk meeting before school lets out Maybe Maggie will add to her cicle of friends again! :rolleyes:

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I'm sure she will. Parallel walking is the bees' knees as far as I'm concerned, for getting dogs to feel comfortable with other dogs.

 

Maggie may not ever be totally comfortable with dogs getting in her space, especially when she's leashed and has nowhere to go.

 

My previous Border Collie, Sam, never did become a dog party animal, and I got him as a pup from a nice litter of 8 with a very good mum. Always loved people (and was a therapy dog), but in spite of socializing, obedience training etc.etc., he never became comfortable with strange dogs in his space, although he was usually fine in obedience trials - except for the day he chased a GSD out of his ring when the GSD interrupted us in the middle of slow pace signal heeling in UD.

 

Sam's doggie acquaintance group did grow quite large - but he would still know when there was a 'strange' dog - and go back into the hard eye, still body etc. - you know the scene - even if he was peering through the legs of 12 or so of his friends! :rolleyes:

 

I don't think you should be frustrated with Maggie - after all, she was at a disadvantage - and you did have control of the situation, and demonstrated you were a responsible dog owner.

 

I would have thought, if anything, the rescue folks should admire what you've done for Maggie. That willl tell them you're in it for the long haul, and you'll take the rough with the smooth.

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Just out of curiousity, and I've never tried this, but I would hate to have a dog I couldn't trust around other dogs. I'm a guy, and sort of big in the "get over it" category. Does it make sense to put some sort of muzzle on your dog and take her to a dog park--as a way of letting her be around other dogs, learning that she'll be okay, with no fear on your part that she'll bite another dog? Has anyone ever tried that?

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If I put you in the local prison with your hands cuffed behind your back, would YOU feel safe?

 

I don't think muzzling a dog and leaving it defenseless in a park full of dogs is going to teach the dog to NOT be uncomfortable around other dogs! Sorry, I see why you would consider it, but from the dog's perspective it's not a very effective method.

 

Maggiedog, *I* have a dog aggressive dog ... he is 9 now and still not "friendly" - over the years I learned how to redirect and control him, but I think expecting him to "get over it" is not realistic. He is who he is, all I ask is that he not get into with another dog because ultimately I am who I am, and who I am is the boss of him. So he doesn't fight, he knows to step away and let me handle it.

 

My point being, I have this a$$hole dog and I also run a rescue. I would definitely not turn down an applicant for having a BC who was a bit of an arse to other dogs I don't think you have anything to worry about.

 

RDM

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Originally posted by GeorgiaBC:

Just out of curiousity, and I've never tried this, but I would hate to have a dog I couldn't trust around other dogs. I'm a guy, and sort of big in the "get over it" category. Does it make sense to put some sort of muzzle on your dog and take her to a dog park--as a way of letting her be around other dogs, learning that she'll be okay, with no fear on your part that she'll bite another dog? Has anyone ever tried that?

Interesting thought. I am very similar on the 'get over it' type theory and usually just let dogs sort out what they will, but I am not so sure that would be a good idea. If a pup is already afraid, muzzeling and dropping her into a situation that is sensitive to a dog would create trust issues between you and your dog.

 

I kind of see it like someone teaching you to swim in the ocean, by handcuffing you and marching you in. Yep, you could do it, but you would probably remember it for a long time afterwards.

 

Erin - It is funny you mention the parallel walk... that is such an interesting concept how it works... and IT DOES!

 

As an aside... I let angel work with reactive dogs all the time. She is pushy, but non agressive. She takes and gives social ques really well. If something does start to happen, she will retreat to me for protection (as she is supposed to) and we can end the interaction at that point without conflict. I find it best to do this type of thing on neutral boring turf (baseball fields work great, because there is seldomly dog smell there)

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Yea muzzling Maggie would NOT be a good idea - I tried it with her and my parents' dog that she doesn't get along with and it just seemed to intensify the reaction. Especially with a potentially fear based reactive dog I would hesitate on doing anything that made them feel even more defenseless.

 

I've taken Maggie to a local dog park when there were a few dogs and she did quite well walking the perimeter on lead. The other dogs pretty much ignored us, but the few that approached seemed to get a warmer reception.

 

Luckily Maggie very rarely (once in 6 years) will leave marks if she reacts to strange dogs, so she has been able to work through the intros with a few dogs on short notice and with a relatively short lived period of discomfort, though I try to avoid those type of intros where at all possible.

 

Things do tend to go much better off lead and not right next to me I'm noticing. The one type of dog I can always count on a good end result with is an adolescent male dog that will take corrections for encroaching on space with no reaction and will continue interacting with Maggie afterwards.

 

One of Maggie's best dog friends is this type of dog and he lets her tell him off when he's rude (and he is rude, it's not just Maggie's impression of his behavior) but still loves chase and wrestling games. They met and were off lead w/ each other in about 10 mins with no problems past the initial "back off and give me space" snap and chase. I don't think Maggie even made contact as it was very clearly a warning and not an active offense.

 

I can deal with my dog not being a dog park dog really - it's just occasionally when I look at her and wish she didn't have to deal with her past 6 years later.

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New happy development! Maggie and I ran into the guy with the BCs (Ray) today again and this time I let Maggie off lead to investigate. After a few tussles she seems to have three new dog friends (and a much more relaxed owner too)!!

 

I'm so proud of my girl - I'm actually off to the park to play again as Ray said he'd be there around 5:30ish tonight.

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Good for Maggie! I read this thread with great interest, since I have a reactive dog, too. I can totally relate to wishing for a magic wand and "dog park dog", but we gotta work with what we have, and it sounds like Maggie is doing her best. You, too!

 

Good stuff in this thread. Thanks from a newbie.

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Is Maggie more reactive when she is on lead? My Rob was t-boned and jumped by a Chow when on a leash. Now, this is the only time he is reactive with strange dogs, off leash he meets and greets like everyone is his best pal.

 

Being that you let her off lead, maybe she feels more in control of her destiny. I know that it is that way with Rob Dog.

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