The Challenges of Training a Deaf Dog

Meet Snow, a sweet Dalmatian mix that unfortunately is deaf.

Snow in the snow

Snow in the snow

Snow has a very interesting story as she spent the past two years of her life in a shelter awaiting her forever home. In an effort to give Snow a chance, she was transferred to another shelter where it was discovered that Snow was going to be a difficult placement. Her time away from people seemed to have caused some behavior concerns.

Snow deserves a home…but this is not an easy task for several reasons.
• Thought to be completely deaf.
• Not that food motivated.
• Huge prey drive and will lung at squirrels, cats rabbits etc. (She actually started barking ferociously just at a picture of a cat.)
• Reactive with other dogs.
• Aloof or detached from humans, because of having lived in a kennel for so long.
• Very distracted

This is where Alternative Canine Training comes in. She needs so much special attention that the staff just didn’t have the time. It was decided that the best thing for her was to go Bonny’s Bootcamp.

I picked her up on Monday and was allowed to see her interact in the environment that she felt most comfortable. When I came into the room she approached with a little caution and after a few pets under the chin was one big wag. She was then off into her world. She was very distracted, but I know some of reasons why. If you can’t hear you are more apt to look around to see what is going on. These were my initial observations:

• A happy dog but also a serious and cautious.
• Very athletic and strong
• Very distracted and disinterested in what we were doing.
• Very curious about everything

So off she went to bootcamp. Upon getting her home I noticed several other things. First I quickly realized that she is only partially deaf. She can certainly hear base. So if I clap my hands I know she can hear it. It seems like higher sounds like a high pitch praise are inaudible to her. As always the first 2 days are just getting to know her and to start teaching her to walk perfectly on a leash.

Going for a Walk

Going for a Walk

Because, I don’t know how many verbal words she can hear; I use more hand signals. So instead of just saying, “Let’s Go” I also slap the side of my leg. I know she can hear the slap.

Snow became very proficient at walking perfectly in the heal position within a day. She would look up at me and for once actually focus. Well until she saw a squirrel. I have seen dogs intent on getting a squirrel.

What you got?

What you got?

Snow becomes possessed. Her brain literally shuts down to anything around her and would do anything to get at that squirrel. I can see she is used to just bullying her way to get what she wants. She is very strong and so will throw her whole body and pull in the direction of the squirrel or do a back flip trying to pull the leash from your hand and lung again towards the squirrel.

To address the squirrel issue is just a simple matter of making sure she understands what the heel position is. Another words as long as her nose stays behind my leg she will be praised. In Snows case that would be an occasional pat on the head or a treat. Once we are near the squirrel and if she tries to leave the heal position. She gets corrected and getting back to the heal position will produce a treat. Of course when she is trying to focus on the squirrel, Snow could care less about the cookie. Normally in this situation I would praise the dog profusely for staying in the heel position. So the process is going to take a little longer. For now I will just walk through the neighborhood, because of all the Oak trees there are plenty of squirrels. By next week, weather permitting I am planning on walking each day in the park.

Now for some control exercises like sit and sit stay. When I made the hand motion to indicate sit she would totally ignore me. Okay she sniffed my hand to see what I had.

What You Got

What You Got

I tried 3 different treats and same results. Each time she would see what I had. She showed an interest by the 4th treat, but rump only slightly went down. So I massaged her down as demonstrated on my DVD “Obedience for Life #1”. She is now doing much better at sit and for the rest of this week we will work on ignoring squirrels and sit stay.

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with her and I am glad that it has been decided to give her a chance. She really is a nice dog. In fact had to put her in an Irish Wolfhound size crate, because whenever I approach her crate. Her tail wags so profoundly that I was afraid she might beat the tip off. She really wants to be loved, but doesn’t know how. This stems from her being kenneled most of her life. Next week I will start working on home manners and try to introduce her to my dogs. I’ll keep you posted.

April 13, 2019 at 8:10 pm Leave a comment

Dog Friendly Activities in Michigan’s Winter Wonderland

Michigan is known for its lakes and recreational areas. In the summer there are all kinds of fun activities that you can do with your four legged friend. Now that the lakes are frozen and everything is covered in snow. What to do? Your dog certainly doesn’t hibernate in the winter and they will still need to get their exercise. Don’t think that just because you put them outside in your backyard that they will play.

Come out and play!

Come out and play!

If you don’t find some way to exercise or engage them in some type of activity they may become bored and become destructive. As long as you are willing to bundle up a little there are all kinds of fun winter activities. In fact all of my dogs really enjoyed playing in the snow and couldn’t wait until the next snow fall. Well, all of them except for my Whippet.

It is important to also know your dog. A dog like a Whippet will get cold very quickly and so they need a coat. Your dog will usually give indications that they are cold. They might start to shiver or they simply may not want to play any more. I wouldn’t take my Whippet out to play whenever the temperature went below zero.

Making a fashion statement!

Making a fashion statement!

I actually think that when it was this cold his feet would get cold as well. The good news is that there are some nice booties for dogs. Of course you have to get your dog used to wearing them. Booties are also great if you take them for walks where there is a lot of salt. For dogs with lots of hair on their feet they tend to develop ice balls between their toes. This is very uncomfortable and can actually make them bleed. The good news is that besides booties there are some other products on the market to prevent this such as mushers secret. It is a wax that builds a natural barrier on the dog’s pads. It also provides a little protection against salt. I have also used Vaseline on my Irish Wolfhound’s feet. The problem with the Vaseline is that it would wear off quickly. Whatever you do make sure that you keep the hair trimmed very short on their feet, because this will help keep snow from building up.

Dogs just like kids love to Frolic in the snow. Of course to help them run around you can also toss a ball or Frisbee in the snow. The dog has to run through the snow using their nose to find the object. This can keep them busy for quite some time. This works great if don’t want to walk too far or your yard is small. I know someone who’s dog loved chasing the elusive snow ball. Simply make a snow ball and toss it. The dog runs around trying to find it. I have done this with my Labradors, but I always feel bad that they never can catch the ball.

Playing in the Snow

Playing in the Snow

So after a few fake ones snow balls I would call them to me and either given them a treat or took a real tennis ball out of my coat pocket This way they would get some satisfaction.

If you have a place to take your dog for a hike what could be more beneficial than that. You get your exercise and so does your dog. Michigan especially Oakland County is blessed with many really nice trails that you could hike for miles. My two favorites are the Clinton River Trail in Rochester to Auburn Hills along with The Paint Creek trail in Rochester Hills to Lake Orion. Just remember unless you have a car parked at the stopping point, whatever you walk one way you have to walk it back. Also make sure that you bring water with you. Just because it is cold don’t think that your dog won’t get thirsty.

I love catching snow flakes

I love catching snow flakes

Be sure to bring a poop bag with you. There might not be many people using the trail in the winter, but no one should have to deal with accidentally stepping in your dogs waste once the snow melts.

Enjoying Winter's Beauty

Enjoying Winter’s Beauty

I love walking the trails and they are so beautiful especially when the snow is covering the trees. If the snow is really deep, you can always us Snowshoes. Your dog will love bounding and jumping through the snow.

Cross Country skiing: Is for the braver of heart. For me I love to ski. Give me two inches of snow and Windy, Fireball and I are off cross country skiing. Because I can go in the morning; my favorite place to ski is the golf course.

Golf anyone?

Golf anyone?

There is usually no one out there, so I can let the dogs off leash. This way we both have fun and get a great workout. I have also gone cross country skiing when there are more people skiing, so under these circumstances the dogs have to stay on leash. They still have fun but they have to stay in the heel position.

Skiing with Windy

Skiing with Windy

If you are going to do this make sure that your dog will walk perfectly by your side. If not they might suddenly cut in front of you making you fall and perhaps severely hurt yourself. You could also find yourself running into them which could injure them. If you are going to let them off leash be sure that you have a solid recall. You wouldn’t want your dog to take after a deer or rabbit.

Another sport is Skijoring. This is a winter sport where a person wearing skis is pulled over the snow with one or more dogs pulling them. To be honest it looks like a blast, but I would be afraid that I would fall and break something. Of course you could always get into the wonderful sport of Dog Sledding. This takes a little more commitment on your part, but I am sure it would be an awesome sport. On the other hand I have attached my dogs to a sled and let them pull my little nieces and nephews. Of course the dog always gave them a few kisses in the process.

The dog I grew up with loved to go tobogganing. Ryan, a black Labrador mix would run after us, jump on the toboggan and ride down the hill with us. Or he would race down the hill after us. He never tired no matter how long us kids could bear the cold. He would sleep the rest of the afternoon and so did we. I am sure Mom was happy as well.

I have a client/friend whose two Golden Retrievers love to make snow angels. She takes her dogs for a walk on a golf course and the dogs love rolling in the snow.

Making Angels!

Making Angels!

They will actually roll down hills on their backs. Golden’s have very thick coats, so they are not bothered by cold weather. Often times a dog will teach themselves this, but to help the process. You would first teach them to roll over inside the house. After they are proficient make them roll over outside in the snow.

Rolling Over

Rolling Over

A few times of doing this gets them to love rolling in the snow. I don’t think I would teach this to a short coated dog.

As you can see there are many things that you can do to overcome the winter blues that will help you and your dog stay fit and prevent cabin fever.

I love Snow

I love Snow

The only difficult part is that you have to bundle up and in some cases bundle up your dog. I attached a listing of all the parks and trails that Michigan has to offer. http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails There is no reason that you and your dog can’t go out today and have some fun. Enjoy!!

February 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm 3 comments

Training a Deaf Dog Week Two

Things are going very well in the training of Snow. Truly, whoever adopts her despite her being partially deaf will adopt a great friend. She is very gentle and has a lot of love to give.

Day 8: Today I introduced Snow to my yellow Labrador, Windy.

Let's Play!

Let’s Play!

I did muzzle Snow at first just in case. Upon introduction I could tell that there wouldn’t be a problem and so quickly removed the muzzle. Windy who is always good about getting a dog to play. Was able to get Snow to chase her for about 15 minutes and then Snow was off looking for squirrels. I also took her for a walk in the park. She still gets excited when she sees a squirrel and needs to be corrected. The good news is that it takes a little less of a struggle to get her to focus on me and not the squirrel.

Days 9 & 10: Introduced her to Fireball, my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Fire & Snow

Fire & Snow

Snow thought that Fireball was neat. In fact she was much more interested in trying to play with Fireball than Windy. Of course Fireball is much smaller and Windy is also the Alpha female in the pack. I did have to correct Snow a few times in the beginning, because she kept trying to put her paw on Fireball’s back. The last thing Snow would need is to try to dominate. Fireball corrected her as well.

Chasing Fireball

Chasing Fireball

From this point on I always let her out with my dogs. It is so nice to see her just run free in my yard. Her obsession with squirrels makes it so that she’ll play for only a few minutes and then stop and look for squirrels. Once she realizes there are no squirrels she will play with my dogs for a few minutes and again stop looking for squirrels.

I am free!

I am free!

Days 11 & 13: Took her to the pet store. She did wonderful. I could see the first time that she went she was nervous. In fact initially it was a struggle to get her to sit. Down forget it. By the second trip she would sit and hold a sit stay.

I am so good

I am so good

Snow was fine with all the dogs that she saw at the store. Of course she gets excited, but one correction, lots of treats and she would pay attention to me. Snow was wonderful with all the people that approached to give her cookies, even little kids. She did try to lung towards pictures of dogs or cats. The lung was not aggressively but more do you want to play. It is actually kind of funny. You could imagine her surprise when I finally let her run up to a picture and it was just a box. It was too cute.

Day14: Took her to one of our obedience classes that was being taught by Cindi Fleishans. Cindi is a great trainer who is also a certified service dog trainer. What can I say, Snow was great.

In class

In class

Of course it took a little to get her to pay attention to me, but in the end did what was asked of her. She even got to say hello to several of the dogs and was good. I have found that she is great with all dogs and really just wants to play.

A new Friend

A new Friend

Once I was at the store and a client asked me about the classes that I hold at Pet Supplies Plus in Royal Oak. They had a little Shih Tzu with them and Snow very calmly stood at my side the whole time I talked to the people. Originally I was concerned with little dogs, because of her prey drive. She is fine.

What can I say? Whoever decides to adopt Snow will end up with a great dog. Her food aggression issues are all but gone. I can pet her, have my hand around her bowl and she is absolutely fine. I have also been able to take rawhide from her as well. She is great with people and wants them to pet her. Accepts other dogs and wants to play. The squirrel and cat issue is still a work in progress and it is best that she doesn’t go to a home with cats. I am also working with getting her to come when she is really distracted, but than for safety reasons. Because of not being able to hear very well, Snow will probably never be off leash other than in a back yard. Once again if you are interested in adopting her please contact me.

December 15, 2018 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Solving Aggression in a Pit Bull Mix

Buck is an awesome dog. He is a big powerful strong affectionate Pit/Lab mix.

Buck

Buck

The problem he has is that he is very reactive when he is surprised or feels threatened. Another words he will try to bite. Awhile back when he was being showed at an adoption event he lunged at a lady walking by and bit her. So for 3 years Buck has been living in a kennel, until last week when he was sent to Bonny’s Bootcamp.

My first impression of Buck was that he was not the killer that originally I was led to believe. I saw some trust issues and he got a little nervous when I reached for him quickly. The good thing is that even though he turned his head with a very serious look, he didn’t think about acting out. Driving him home was interesting. He would bark aggressively at people jogging, biking, motorcycles or if a car turned from a side street quickly.

Upon arriving at my house he was first allowed to explore his surroundings. The next step was to teach him too walk on a loose leash. I could see that the people at the kennel or someone had taught him the basic commands, but of course he was little stubborn about going in the down position. He had to decide if he really wanted to submit to me or not. After all when a dog does the down for you they are showing that they trust and will submit to you. I find some dogs even if you are using their favorite cookie will have a hard time with the down.

Day 2:
Worked on making sure that he knew he had to stay in the heel position. I also did a little brushing up on his basic obedience skills.

Day 3 & 4:
The rest of the training will be about taking him places. I needed to work on how he reacts to people and things in the real world. So I took him to pet stores and worked on his aggression in the car.

At the Pet Store

At the Pet Store

He did very well on his first visit to the pet store. You could see that he was a little nervous, but the previous training sessions paid off. Buck learned that as long as he paid attention to me and stayed in the heal position or did a sit-stay things were great. He received praise and cookies. Life was good. It was near closing time at the store and when they went around mopping the floor he got nervous and wanted to react. A quick correction and I could walk all around the people mopping the floor.

Our car rides at first were stressful. As I stated earlier he was very reactive and constantly wanted to bark, lung and growl at things outside the car. In the beginning he needed several corrections every time he barked, which for him was every time he saw something new. Another words, “I got corrected for the last person on a bike, but this is someone different. This person doesn’t know that they are supposed to be afraid of me.” The good news is that he hasn’t barked at anyone on the last 2 car trips.

Day 5 & 6:
Time to take him to the city. His first visit to Birmingham went pretty good. You could tell he was a little unsure of his environment. He was fine until a bike went by. I saw the bike before hand and so was ready in case he reacted. I placed him on a sit stay and worked with watch. He did great.

Hanging out in the City

Hanging out in the City

In fact the only time he tried to lung was at a motorcycle. The good news is that once he was corrected he ignored any other motorcycle for the duration of the training session.

Day 7 & 8:
Took him to the city and pet store to interact with people. For safety reasons I put a muzzle on him for this. To be honest I don’t think I needed the muzzle, because he was great with everyone. I can see that he is a little more nervous with men, but he dropped his guard very quickly.

I am a Lovebug

I am a Lovebug

It has been a little hard working him, because of the 100 degree temperatures. I decided to keep him for another 3 days so that I can continue to work with him around things that normally would make him lunged, growling and snapping. I have great hopes for him if he could go to a foster home or better yet a real home. I can only hope that because he is going back to the kennel that he won’t transgress to quickly. I will keep you posted on what happens.

November 27, 2018 at 8:04 pm Leave a comment

Teaching a Dog how to Swim

Kids love to swim and so do dogs. Teaching your dog how to swim can be fun and rewarding. When your dog learns to swim they can cool themselves off on a hot summer day. It is one of the best forms of exercise. In fact it’s the perfect way to rehabilitate your dog after an injury. It is also great fun swimming with your dog, but be warned they can scratch you.

Labrador and Golden Retrievers have an inbred instinct to love water. In fact I caution new puppy owners that they have to watch how much water the puppy drinks. If a Labrador can’t swim in it, they will try to drink up the whole bowl and if there is nothing in the bowl then they will carry it around. Understand that just because they love water doesn’t mean that they know how to swim.

Swimming is Fun

Swimming is Fun

Over the years I have taught many dogs to swim. Some dogs just jump in and start swimming like a pro. Others may jump in, but swim almost vertical. They don’t go very fast and do a lot of splashing. A vast majority of dogs can’t get beyond the fear of not having a bottom under their feet and some can’t even entertain the idea of getting their feet wet. You might get them to wade, but swim no way. I had one Irish Wolfhound that would swim. All the rest would only wade up to their chests. On the other hand they all loved to lie down in a little kiddy pool.

Teaching a Dog to Swim in a Lake
The best way to teach a dog to swim is to take them to a lake were they can walk in and the water gradually gets deeper. The old fashion idea of throwing them in and the dog either sinks or swims can make a dog petrified of water. Also make sure that the water is not to cold. If you live in states where lakes and ponds freeze in the winter than you need to wait until the lakes and ponds have warmed up. March is not a good time to start.

If the dog retrieves than start tossing a ball or a favorite floatable toy in the water. Make sure whatever you use is floatable. At first you toss the ball near the edge of the water so that the dog is just wading in to get the ball. Keep tossing the ball or toy a little further each time until the dog actually has to start swimming to get it. Some don’t even realize that they are swimming. Others stop going towards the ball as soon as their feet leave the bottom. For these dogs, get the ball back and keep throwing it in shallower water for a little longer. You might want to wear some high rubber boots in case you need to go in and get the toy. If possible you can attach a piece of string to the object that the dog retrieves. This will insure that you can get the object back. Don’t progress too quickly or else the dog might get discouraged and stop trying to retrieve the object. Also make sure you praise when the dog retrieves the object from the water.

The buddy system is another possibility. If you or a friend has a dog that already knows how to swim. Great! The dog that never swam before might very well follow the other dog in the water. There is only one word of caution for your more timid dogs. If the dog that swims, likes to make a big leap into the water. They could splash the other dog and scare them. Also make sure that both dogs know each other before hand.

For many of our Non-retrievers you may actually have to go in the water with them. Begin by walking in with the dog and then gently lifting them in the water. Make sure you support their chest. If you see that the dog is making the swimming motion then slowly move your hand away. If the dog starts to struggle than place your hand gently under them. Keep repeating this until the dog is actually swimming. It is best to stand on your dog’s side. Otherwise you might get scratched. You can also place a lifejacket on the dog to help them gain confidence. A lifejacket is a must when teaching many of your barreled chested dogs. Breeds like Pugs are one example. A lifejacket helps keep them buoyant, and allows them to learn that they have to kick off with their back legs. Otherwise they end up swimming vertically and will sink. I almost had to go in the water and rescue one Labrador the first time she went swimming. She jumped in and then kept going under water. She was literally going up and down in a vertical direction. Thank goodness just when I was about to get my feet wet. She started kicking out with her rear legs and started to swim.

If you don’t have a lake around you then by all means you can have them learn in a swimming pool, but my best suggestion is to go in the water with them. DON’T JUST PUSH THEM IN THE POOL. This may traumatize your dog to the point that they will never even go near water. A built in pool obviously works the best, because most of them have steps that gradually get deeper. Remember take your time. Teaching a dog to swim in an above ground pool is even harder. If they are small you can of course gently left them in the water. I have taught larger dogs to use an above ground pool, but it is much harder. I first had to teach the dog how to go up a ladder and then with a friend’s help we gently lifted the dog into a pool. In fact my Irish Wolfhound that would swim first learned in an above ground pool. He was 5 months old when we started teach him how to swim.

Some Caution Needs to be Taken
• Don’t have your dog wear a collar while swimming.
If your dog is swimming in a lake that has sticks or branches along the shores edge. Be warned! If your
dog is wearing a collar. The collar can get caught on a branch and the dog will be stuck out there.
• Your dog can injure themselves on sticks if they are big jumpers.
Once again if this is a stick pond and the dog makes this big entry leap. That stick can go right into them.
• Know what is in the water.
Unfortunately some ponds and lakes are full of hazards. Fish hooks, Broken Bottles, Rusted pipes etc.
• In states where there are alligators and poisonous snakes it might be better to stay out of the water.
• Wash your dog after it comes out of a swimming pool. The chlorine from the pool can cause skin irritations.
• If you are using a long line on your dog while they are swimming. Make sure that it won’t get caught on anything.

Once again getting a dog used to water and the pleasures of swimming has many benefits. That is why to me it is definitely worth taking the time to teach your dog how to swim. In fact I have had many clients want me to teach their dogs, such as, Carlos Guillen from the Detroit Tigers who wanted his Labrador to learn. This way when he went back to Venezuela the dog could swim in the ocean. Another client who wanted his dog to swim entered his dog in a Dock Dog competitions and won 2nd place.

October 15, 2018 at 5:28 pm Leave a comment

Housebreaking a little Tea Cup Yorkshire Terrier

I am so Handsome

I am so Handsome!

Meet Pixel a very small 9 month old Tea Cup Yorkie. He is so sweet and would be perfectly content sitting in a person’s lap all day. I could just imagine taking him in a purse while I went shopping in downtown Rochester or Birmingham. It is hard to resist carrying him and I am pretty sure that he spends a lot of his time being held. This is one of the reason for some of Pixel’s problems. As I stated earlier when you leave him alone in the kitchen and he isn’t with you. He gets upset and pees. By peeing on the floor he figures his scent will bring you back to him. Sometimes dogs will pee when you aren’t in the room, because when they accidentally peed in front of you, they were corrected. So they either pee in a different room or when you are not in the room. Since you said he could have peed outside, you bring him in, leave the room and he pees. I would say it has to do more with the fear of abandonment.

So the plan for little Pixel’s rehabilitation is a threefold process.

1.     Build up his confidence by giving him structure and teach him some obedience exercises. This way he will fell secure when left alone.

I am sittin

2.     Teach him to ring a bell to inform you of his having to go potty.

3.     Socialize him using the obedience exercises, so that he is more assured of himself.

Pixels Training Program:

Pixel is very timid. Everything new for him is going to be fearful, so the training has to be slow and introduced in a positive way. This includes teaching him to ring the bell. If we just start ringing the bell the sound would probably scare him. For 2 days I had to lay the bell on the floor and let him get comfortable playing with the bell. After 2 days, I then hung the bell on the door and taught him to ring the bell.  It took 2 more days of constantly putting peanut butter on the bell for him to ring it. The good news is that with encouragement. He would ring the bell every time he was taken outside.

Day 1

I have to be real careful with a dog as small as Pixel. They can injure themselves very easily and if stressed, tend to get diarrhea right away.  We had our first session on introducing the bells and a worked on sit and sit stay. You must have taught him sit, but he didn’t seem to know stay.

Day 2 & 3

After one day of Pixel being at my house it was time to start training. We worked on him walking on a loose leash, sit stay and down. For loose leash walking he wouldn’t lunge ahead. In fact as is common with a lot of little dogs he would just lay down. I used the harness that you gave me and within a short period of time he was walking very well. We struggled a little with down. He would go down or least it looked like he was down. His front legs would be down and his rump would be on the ground, but his belly would be up in the air. He wasn’t really lying down. The bells also went from the floor to the door and we kept working with him touching the bell.

Day 4 & 5

He walked on a loose leash, would sit and hold a sit-stay at my house, so it was time to start socializing him. I took him to several pet stores and he did great.

Hanging out at the Pet Store

Hanging out at the Pet Store

At first he was a little over whelmed and would shake. Within 15 minutes and many people giving him treats. He actually started to go up to people. He was so cute walking through the store strutting his stuff. I don’t think there was one person in the store who didn’t try to pet him.

Pixel still has had no accidents in the house. He goes potty and poop outside almost immediately.  He still needs to be told to ring the bell in order to go outside. Nine out of ten times when told he would ring the bell. He was starting to get it.

Day 6 & 7

Still working with all obedience exercises and socializing him. The good news is this morning while he was playing. He rang the bell and when I took him outside he instantly went potty. I know it still is going to take some time for him to really figure out the bell. In fact the average is 2 to 3 weeks. Sometimes when he tries to ring the bell he barely touches it and the bell doesn’t make any sound. I also want to continue working on socializing him. The biggest challenge will be when he comes home and everyone wants to constantly carry him everywhere.

Can we go shopping

Can we go shopping!

Even I have this huge urge to take him in a purse and go shopping at Somerset Mall in Troy. Of course this won’t help him learn to walk on his own four paws.

September 19, 2018 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Boxer Mix Exhibits Fear Aggression & Dog Aggression

I'm so cute!

I'm so cute!

Lucy, Lucy, Lucy what a shame that you didn’t have a better start in life. Lucy is a 1 year old Boxer Mix that must have missed out on being socialized when she was a puppy. She is very fearful of new situations, noises, people and dogs. Unfortunately, lately she has been acting out on this fear by growling and snapping at people and other dogs.

Let's Play!

Let's Play!

Once she knows you and feels safe, Lucy is a love bug. She will even play very nicely with other dogs that she knows.She is a rescue dog that is currently being saved by Michigan Animal Adoption Network.

Lucy didn’t do very well at the last two pet adoptions. She was growling and lunging at other dogs and even snapped at one of the rescue volunteers. The big question is what to do with her? I had met Lucy several months ago at the kennel that has so graciously donated a place for her to stay. At that time she was about 11 months and just a wild puppy with no manners. I noticed that she was a little fearful, stubborn and just a wild untrained puppy. As stated earlier she is now acting aggressive in certain situations, so I decided to take put her into Bonny’s Bootcamp.

Day 1

Initially I didn’t introduce her to my dogs and simply reworked her obedience skills. Such as walking on a loose leash, Sit- stay etc.. She was a little rusty. That evening I took her to a group class that we hold at Pet Food and More in Clawson.

What a Good Girl!

What a Good Girl!

She did great. I even had my niece work with her. You would have never thought that she was aggressive. I will admit that she did appear to be nervous. Unfortunately, because of her fear and anxiety she developed diarrhea for the next two days. I didn’t take her anywhere, but kept doing little obedience exercises. Even though I really needed to keep taking her to new places, but I didn’t want to create any stress.

Day 2 & 3

Worked on her obedience, took her for a walk around the neighborhood and let her play with my dogs. She had a blast playing with my dogs and both of us enjoyed the long walk.

Day 4

No more diarrhea, so time to go places. I first took her to downtown Rochester and she did well.

Hanging Out in the City.

Hanging Out in the City.

The next stop was at a pet store and this is where Lucy fell apart. There were many people in the store and one of people who gave her treats really got into her face. It was a man and I have discovered that she is more nervous around men. When this person gave her treats, he put his face 2 inches from her and roughly started petting her. This person also had a beard. She got very nervous, stiffened and emitted a low growl. No lung, just a growl. The problem after that her anxiety level was at its max and the next person that tried to give her a treat. Well she growled and then air snapped. There was no point in trying to socialize her anymore today. We went home.

Day 5

In the morning I took her over Karen Biddinger’s house for a little work on doggy socialization with the dogs at Karen’s house. Lucy was first introduced to Kodi, a Caucasian Shepherd. She growled and tried to lung. After two corrections, she calmed down and would take cookies with him there. Next was to introduce her to Karen’s two Pit Bulls. We placed a muzzle on Lucy and introduced her one at a time. Initially she growled and once corrected was okay with them. While muzzled she was also introduced to a wonderful little poodle. Her first response was again to be nervous and to growl. After corrected she kept trying to get the poodle to play with her.

Good Job.

Good Job.

In the evening I took her to a group training class. Lucy did great. Her first response was again fear and when placed near the other dogs she emitted a very low growl. Again she was corrected and by the end of class wanted to play. She was also introduced to many people at Pet Food and More. Again at first she was fearful, but by the end of a half hour she was laying in peoples laps to get petted.

I have 2 more days to work with her and then I will take her on Saturday to the next pet adoption event at the pet store. It is a shame to see a dog so afraid of anything new. The sad part is that Lucy has so much potential. To see her interact with dogs or people that she gets to know is beautiful. Being a foster dog her life is literally on a thread. My concern is what will happen to her after the training, since she doesn’t have a foster home to go to. After the training Lucy will be going back to the kennel and even though it is a great facility. She will not have the opportunity to be continually exposed to new people, places and other dogs. Check out my blog in a couple of days to see how Lucy does at the pet adoption.

January 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm 3 comments

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