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Forum THE LOUNGE Dog Section & POSITIVE training (woof woof!)

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    • Vienna Blue in France
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      It occured to me that many of us animal lovers also have dogs and I thought maybe all info, tips and hints could be regoupred here

      I would like to emphasize that this is a POSITIVE training thread and any training advice using electric collars, prong or shock collars has no place here. Nor has ‘popping’ the dog (!), or yanking, slapping, shouting or any ‘negative’ physical interaction.

      This has come about as my new arrival, a 6y9m old male, black, collie/lab cross (we think!) rescue has come with some issues.

      His history is pretty much unknown.

      He is a dream in the house now (after 3 weeks here) he is great with the cats and the bunnies and seemingly with people. He has obviously had a lot of good education (I believe him to have been with a disabled 20 year old for his first 6 years), sits, stays, comes, plays fetch (and brings the ball back!) all with enthusiasm, a waggy tail and is obviously intelligent.

      The problem I have is he is VERY reactive to other dogs in the street. (I believe more like dominant barking, rather than fearful)

      We are currently binge watching Zak George  on youtube and going for walks with a ton of turkey in a pocket. And any reaction to another dog means we turn around and walk to a distance where he is ‘compliant’ with a “sit” and “look” up to my face.

      He is socialised to a certain extent as he is good in close contact with some dogs (at the moment, beotches) ETA “girl dogs”, BB alters if you write bitc… 

      All training walks are preceeded by lots of exercise or fetch to ‘get that pent up energy out’ !!

      I know it’s early and we are making some small progress (baby steps!) but I wondered if any of you have had the same problem and if you were able to resolve it relatively quickly with positive methods, how? and over how long?

      Give me hooooope! Please.  


    • ThorBunny
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      Hey! I love seeing your posts about your rescue dog

      I don’t have a dog of my own, but faced this exact same problem with the rescue dog my grandmother adopted a few years ago. Back story, after my grandfather died I went to go live with my grandma for a summer and we adopted a rescue lab, Barley, for her, so I was there for his first 3 months in his new home. He was about 4 at the time and we think came from an abusive background. He was also a love-bug at home, although a little skittish at first espeicially if you were holding a long instrument like a broom or hose ( It makes me so sad how cruel some people can be…)

      Outside he had the same problem, would lose it when he saw any other dogs and howl and bark and try to get at them. Interestingly, he was much better off leash although still nervous (is Baloo ok with dogs off leash?). We worked on the same sort of positive reinforcement that you are doing, treats given to him when he watches you instead of passing dogs, etc. But I think what helped the most was time. He got better slowly, but after about two months we progressed to him only growling at worst towards other dogs. And now he loves other dogs, you would never know he was that barking maniac!

      My interpretation of it with Barely was that he was scared of the other dogs and not confident we could protect him, so he had to lash out. Once he trusted us more, he would be more calm around other dogs. My evidence for this is that Barely still barks at other dogs on walks when he is walked by someone he doesn’t know, or someone he has only known for a short time. The longer he is around a person the less he barks on walks…

      Sorry if this isn’t much help to your current situation, but just wanted to let you know that there certainly is hope! It is so great you have given him a loving home, and I think that that in itself may go a long way to helping your problem Happy training!


    • Azerane
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      Vienna it sounds like you have it all well under control The only thing I can add is in addition to Zak George try watching some youtube videos from kikopup. She has some good videos on proofing behaviours and teaching dogs to be calm etc and uses the same or at least a very similar technique for reward based training in making it easy for the dog to succeed by taking a step back and so on.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I sound more positive when writing than i do in reality Az !! LOL
      TB it certainly does help, thanks, and gives me hope.

      Im thinking also that the more he sees the same dogs in our neighbourhood and gets to know the surrounding area it will get better too as he will know from afar that he’ll get treats.

      Any tips on hierarchy in the house within animals….? He is very food aggressive with a full bowl (normla, he was starved for 5 months) when the cats go near but he lets them lick the empty bowl.

      Should i leave this be, or feed the cats treats before i give Baloo his bowl?


    • Bam
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      I think I’d feed Baloo separate from the cats. Food is after all the most central need a being has. It has to do with survival among animals. But if he shows food aggression/ resource defense against you, it must be dealt with.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Absolutely agree with you there bam.
      Nope no agression against me at all. I can take a full bowl away. Put my hand in it and take away a bone too.
      I do it nearly every day too just to make sure something invisible doesn’t build up over these crucial first months.
      That was an absolute must for me !

      Ok. So, who has advice against a dog phobia walking over bridges where you can see the water or traffic below !????! (Grooooan)
      He was soooo freaked tonight walking over the bridges. EVEN with a hand full of turkey in front of him….. (it was dangerous he was pulling off the tiny pavement into the road!!)

      And i have a few bridges near me, living near a motorway and a canal !!

      Great…..


    • Bam
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      Could you find a bit of a quieter/less busy bridge to do training on? I did bridge training with Effi in the woods, on a bridge across a stream. Again and again until she forgot it was scary.

      If he can focus on you it’d be good.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hmmm yes. Think ill start in middle of road and work our way towards the edges…… over time…. hey ho !!


    • Reesebun
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      Maybe teaching him heel (teaching him to walk right next to you with his shoulders never passing your knee, and when you stop, he sits automatically) would work, and stop walking for a second every once in a while? He would spend most of his time paying attention to you to see when you stop so he sits automatically when you stop, and won’t really pay attention to the bridge.

      We never walked Eevie over a big bridge because one time when we were having a picnic next to a river, she slipped out of her harness. She saw geese and ducks swimming in the gross dirty river, and the edge of the river was kind of steep because the river was low. Without hesitation, she jumped right into the river. I guess it was deeper than she expected because she belly-flopped right into the lake, and the look on her face said “I immediately regret this!!” and we couldn’t stop laughing at the poor dog. She swam right back up to us and we caught her. She was so smelly and dirty that she had to stay in the trunk of the car the whole ride home and was crying the whole time. She would do it again in a heartbeat, because she never learns from her mistakes. (She also jumped off a mini walking bridge in the woods, but the creek under it was all dried up for the summer, and we got lucky with no wet dog, but muddy pawed dog instead)


    • Bam
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      Reese, that must’ve been so scary! 

      Vienna, I think it’d be great if you could teach Baloo heel, he’ll be focused on you until he gets his treat and his release-command. 

      We got Effi a winter coat today so she can keep her little behind warm when winter strikes. Not that it has a lot to do with positive dog training, but at least on the first pic it’s evident how intensely positive she’s feeling in her new coat. 

      I’m longing for snow now and minus 12 degrees C (10 F). 


    • Hazel
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      Grrreat idea Vienna!

      I certainly could use some help with Otis… He’s my first puppy and I guess it shows, he’s a mess. The first (and worst) problem we have with him is, you guessed it, leash pulling. It wasn’t such a problem when he was smaller, but he’s 6 months now and weighs 40 lbs. I can’t really take him for walks anymore because he’s way too strong and nearly rips my arm off when he gets going. I’ve tried to get him to focus on me, but he’s not interested in treats, or toys. All he wants to do is pull his way to the horizon. We’ve just gotten the backyard cleaned up so he can get some of that energy out, hopefully it will get him to calm down enough so I can work on teaching him some leash manners. Any tips are greatly appreciated!
      He also loves to play keep away with things he isn’t supposed to touch. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of when he’s “in trouble”, if we come after him whenever he’s stolen a blanket or a piece of clothing, he just gets more excited. The only thing that sort of works is if I growl at him. Then he will (sometimes) calm down, put his ears back and act kind of submissive, for about five seconds. I’m trying to teach him “drop it”, it works sometimes and he gets lots of praise.

      I know most of this is typical puppy behavior, but I would still appreciate any advice! He’s so bad we’ve considered renaming him “Notis”.

      Vienna: I’ve been watching Zak George as well! Poor Baloo, I don’t blame him, bridges are scary. Hopefully he’ll get more comfortable with it after a few more times, teaching him to heel is a great idea!

      Bam: Effi looks so cute in her coat! I’m sure she’ll learn to appreciate it.

      Reesebun: That sounds like a mess! But at least she came right back to you.


    • Reesebun
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      Hazel, Can I have some advice on drop it? We taught Eevie drop it because she is always getting on the counter! Now that she knows drop it, she goes on the counter even more because she thinks that if she steals something off the counter and chews it up, she gets a treat. She will only drop it if we say “drop it”, then hold the treat up to her face. This is a constant thing she does now. No matter how clean the counters are, she always finds something. What should I do?


    • jerseygirl
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      Popping in to say I LIKE this thread.


    • Hazel
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      Counter surfers are the worst, right?? Otis does this constantly, too. She sounds like a smart girl, or rather an evil genius.

      I would say the important thing is not to offer her the treat while she’s still being naughty, as in she’s still holding chewing/something inappropriate. Only after she’s released it should the treat come out. Maybe even have her go through a few other commands before giving her the treat so she doesn’t connect it with the undesired behavior. The way we taught Otis to drop it is not positive training, so I don’t know if it’s okay to talk about? I’m only bringing it up because Reese mentioned that her pup won’t drop it unless presented with a reward. Vienna, if you’re not okay with it, just let me know and I will remove it. If he grabbed something he’s not supposed to, I would put my hand over his muzzle, and put my fingers and thumb into his mouth from the sides. I didn’t apply enough pressure to hurt him in any way, but it felt awkward to him and he would eventually drop whatever was in his mouth. At that moment I would say “drop it” and then give lots of praise. We also taught him “off”, which means get your paws off the counter, again lots of praise when he complies.

      I think it would help if you practiced “drop it” with things she’s allowed to play with, like her toys. When she drops it, give her a high value treat (and like I said, don’t offer the treat before she actually drops it). If she’s got something off the counter, I would again get her to drop it, but only praise her verbally. That way she knows she did the right thing, but she also doesn’t get a high value treat which might encourage her to do it again. Or as I mentioned above, go through a few obedience commands after she dropped it before giving her the treat, so she loses the connection.


    • jerseygirl
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      Now that she knows drop it, she goes on the counter even more because she thinks that if she steals something off the counter and chews it up, she gets a treat.

      She sounds like a smart girl, or rather an evil genius.

      Agree!
      Although I she likely does associate the treat with “drop it” rather then stealing and chewing BUT she’s creating scenarios where you’ll mostly likely say “drop it” ie TREAT. Smart.
      Ive speculated about my sisters dog doing something like this too. Where he does something he knows he shouldn’t but gets rewarded when he stops.
      How old is Eevie?
      Maybe you need to mix up how many times she gets a treat for “drop it” so it’s less predictable for her? You can reward with your words or affection.


    • jerseygirl
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      He also loves to play keep away with things he isn’t supposed to touch. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of when he’s “in trouble”, if we come after him whenever he’s stolen a blanket or a piece of clothing, he just gets more excited.

      That’s annoying but cute at same time, Hazel. Do you have trouble keeping a straight face?

      Getting some of that energy out in the yard should help, I think. After he’s expended some of that, could you do some short leash training sessions with him at home?  You mentioned him not being interested in treats or toys, is that just when you’re trying use them to help couteract his pulling? Is he interested in them at home?  That would be valuable in training sessions. 


    • jerseygirl
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      Vienna, it sounds like Baloo has come a long way! I wasn’t aware of his first 6 years history, only the more recent damaging history. Im glad he’s had that life earlier on.

      Do you have some friends with male dogs you could work with around him? I think it is so hard to work around these issues (reactive to dogs) when on a walk because it’s somewhat unpredictable environment for the owner (meaning, you don’t know who is out and about) and it’s a majorly stimulating environment for a dog. So getting that focus could be an up hill battle – exhausting. When the walk is supposed to be enjoyable bonding time for you both.

      Like Bam mentioned she did bridge training with Effi in a quiet, out of the way spot. – could you do similar with the reactive to dogs issue?


      @Thorbunny
      , that was a great outcome with Barley! Interesting that he was better off-leash. Ive seen that a bit with my sisters dog. He is good with other dogs generally, but sometimes on leash he’s more uncertain. Im interested to know how Baloo is off-leash too! Vienna, have you been able to take him to a dog park at all or is it too early days for that?


    • jerseygirl
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      Sorry to now be spamming this thread.   I wasn’t able to get to it until now.  I’ve mentioned my sisters dog a few times (1yr old border collie) and will be asking for some thoughts about his behaviour at some point. He’s a lovely dog & bit of a hoot. But has a couple of behaviours he needs work on.  His major one is barking and lunging at cars. I did find a video that features a dog behaving exactly like him. 

      I have a dog at home too.   Hunter, 14yr old tenterfield terrier. He’s only been living with me this past year. He’s actually another sisters  dog (and husband) but with young kids, they weren’t able to give him the attention he needed and asked if I was willing to take him.

      He’s been overweight for a long time but he has trimmed down a fair bit now. I was a bit apprehensive about having an older dog lose weight but the vet mentioned about the risks of pancreatitis in older, overweight dogs.

      Im now walking him fairly often with the border collie I mentioned.  He wasn’t continually socialised with other dogs, so he barked at most other dogs we came across and at people if they looked directly at him. But the more exposure he’s gotten, the better he’s become. 

      Now, he walks with this other dog, even becoming more playful with him when off-leash and we often come across a group of dogs in an area they can be let off-leash. He copes quiet nicely. You can teach old dogs new things.  


    • Reesebun
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      Thanks for the suggestions! Eevie is a bit more than 1 year old. The problem with telling her to drop it and not give her the treat is that she won’t drop it unless you hold the treat up to her. If you don’t give her the treat, she will play keep-away until you catch her. When you do catch her, you have to pry her jaws open and she will growl and bite (She is a really good girl though! she is not a mean dog). We keep her tired and active too because she gets more naughty when she is bored. 


    • jerseygirl
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      Is it food she had taken off the counter that you’re trying to get her to drop? Or random items? 

      ETA: I guess whichever is irrelevant really.   Do you think she is snatching stuff off the counter to initiate a game? 


    • Reesebun
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      Anything she can pick up! She might be trying to play, but it is really annoying!


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Just popping in late tonight to say I will write more tomorrow at a more decent time of the day.

      I reckon Reese though it’s NOT a good idea to take something out of the mouth of a dog that’s growling and could bite!. He should make the decision to leave it on his own and to do this you need to follow Zak George’s advice and train with a tug toy. Make it ever so exciting for him pull pull pull tug tug tug, and then hold the toy still and do NOT move until the dog becomes bored. When he does he will slacken his hold on it and leave it, so you clicker or say the word “leave” and give oooooodles of praise. Do it again and again.

      Jersey, pop away like a little bag of popcorn and spam away like a tin of…. spam !!! LOL.
      Lunging at cars is worrying.
      Have you checked Zaks video with the dog who is obsessed with lunging and biting trees !!!!!??? Could that help you ?

      Baloo has been off lead with two beotches in a dog park type enclosure. It went well. (Id checked his reaction when he was not with them… he is polite! Which is what gives me hope!)

      He was in a public place yesterday (a sports hall) on an SPA open day…. it didn’t go well… soooo many distractions and dogs and people, he was the only one making a scene (and me with my hotdogs in my pocket trying to appease him!!!) if i wasn’t so upset, I guess I’d think it funny.

      I’m going to get professional help….. well it worked with Henry !! ( )


    • jerseygirl
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      I’m going to get professional help….. well it worked with Henry !! (  

      Are you thinking to have someone come work with you and him at home or booking him in to a school?

      Jersey, pop away like a little bag of popcorn and spam away like a tin of…. spam !!! LOL.
      Lunging at cars is worrying.
      Have you checked Zaks video with the dog who is obsessed with lunging and biting trees !!!!!??? Could that help you ?

      Biting trees. lol.
      I watched this one which pretty much is Danny but as a GR rather then a BC. The similarities in this dog and Danny were uncanny.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDEvueJ5QDc
      Coinicidentally, has a bit in it that demonstates what you described for ReeseBun at the 5:20 mark, so I knew exactly what you were talking about. 

      One of the 1st ZG vids I watched had rabbits in it.  Did you see that?  The zoom in on faces of these domestic rabbits in a park somewhere.    

      I feel like we might need a separate thread for video commentary. Not just his series but of the ones you end up watching by other people that are related to the topic. Ive tried not to watch too many as I’ll find hours have slipped by.
      I literally clapped my hands when I watched one last night and the dog made progress on what ever it was being taught. I was so proud.
      Their faces and how they cock their head from side to side when curious and interested… it’s so adorable.


    • Reesebun
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      Vienna, thanks for the advice! Earlier I said she does drop-it perfectly. The problem is that she is taking stuff constantly now because she wants treats and will not drop it until I show her a treat and say drop-it. We do not pull stuff out of her mouth is she is growling and biting.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Are you thinking to have someone come work with you and him at home or booking him in to a school?

      Hmmmm, dépends who I find. I’m happy to do the work, I just need an interpreter and aide to find out what’s winding him up and advice on steps to take! Dominance? Fear? Frustration at being on a lead !!
      He can’t continue going round barking like a rabied angry writhing crocodile on the end of a leash !!


    • Bianca
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      Great idea for a thread!

      This is Mitzi. We got her as a 1yo rescue. She is 5 now. She was abused and starved for the first 8 months of her life, then dumped at a shelter when she was close to dying. She was on a drip for 4-5 days. Undiagnosed but suspected brain damage (suggested by vets). She has trouble focusing, but tries really hard. Particularly when she is tired her right eye goes out sideways. 

      She is terrified of (as in will have panic attacks):

      • Storms (even very distant) 
      • Harley motorbikes (most other bikes are fine) – even the sound in the distance
      • Nerf guns (but not real guns)
      • Water (we had to dry bath her for years, now sometimes I can gently sponge her)
      • People fighting (my husband and I don’t fight, but we play fight sometimes and if we get too loud she gets upset)
      • Small blond children
      • Children in groups

      For a long time she was terrified of men, and people who picked up anything around her. 

      She does have basic obedience, but only up to a point. We have taught her hand signals to go with them, and also physical signals for when she is distracted. For example, usually to sit we will say “sit”, combined with a hand held in front of her, index finger pointing up. If she is having trouble focusing (i.e. on walks) we may also touch her gently on the bum or under the chin depending on where she is facing – she responds to either so I see no point in changing it. For drop, we say “drop” and point to the ground in front of her. When on walks we put a couple of fingers gently on her nose as if guiding her to the ground. 

      To teach her these she gets lots of praise as her reward for trying. “Good girl” and a pat works very well. Sometimes at home she likes a treat as a reward too, but when out she isn’t interested in food at all. 

      She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

      Anyway, this is Mitzi!

      I think the bottom one is a much older photo – she hasn’t had that collar for a couple of years. 

      As you can see though, she is very good at sleeping. It’s one of her strong points. The top two photos are very recent. 


    • jerseygirl
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      She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

      Any pics of her in these boots?!!!

      Hunter has sensitve skin too and is on a grain free food. Are you finding grass is more irritating for her right now, it being Spring? Hunters skin got really inflammed last week that he needed go on a corticosteroid. It must be hard not being able to bath Mitzi to help get rid of allergens on the skin.

      How do you manage her panic attacks?


    • jerseygirl
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      What does everyone think this is about. Danny has a tendency to stand between your legs. 

      This is my niece but he does it with other family members and with me too. He even did it to someone they were chatting with in the park one time. 

      I think he displays some possessiveness at times. When I go around there with Hunter, after the walk and we’re just hanging out back at home, he’ll try commandeer all my attention. So if I then go to acknowledge Hunter or give him a pet, Danny will get right up close and demand it for himself, make it difficult for me to reach over to Hunter. He’s an attention hog. 

      Hmmmm, dépends who I find. I’m happy to do the work, I just need an interpreter and aide to find out what’s winding him up and advice on steps to take! Dominance? Fear? Frustration at being on a lead !! 
      He can’t continue going round barking like a rabied angry writhing crocodile on the end of a leash !!

      Vienna, my sister and I have speculated about this with Danny’s different behaviours like you are with Baloo. Some things can look like dominance when are actually fear or something else entirely. And vice versa.  But im now wondering, is it important to really know one way or the other? If the training for overcoming the behaviour is going to be the same method regardless? What im garnering from this positive reinforcement training is knowing when they’re about to go into the unwanted behaviour and being right there to redirect. 

      Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still be speculating the WHY’s of their behaviour until the cows come home. It’s interesting! But with Danny’s lunging and barking at cars/bikes for example – whether it is in fear, whether he thinks it’s a fun game, whether he thinks he’s protecting his humans from it, at the end of the day, cars/bikes are not really something that can be avoided. So whatever reason he has for going mental at them, he needs to learn a different, more acceptable (and safe!) behaviour. 

      Another one of his habits when on leash is dropping down during the walk when there is something/someone coming toward him. When he was going to puppy school. the trainer there said it was fear based. Then another woman who looks after dogs and often has several down at the park said it was about them assessing the scene, person, dog or whatever is coming. I tend to agree with that. Then another woman who saw him do it while we had him out on a walk said she had a border collie at home who does the exact same thing and she knew of another that did also. So then we got to thinking is it breed related… Like dropping down in a paddock and assessing a mob of sheep and which way they were going to move. Anyway, what was that I said about cows earlier?… 


    • Reesebun
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      Posted By Bianca on 10/09/2017 5:42 PM 

      She is terrified of (as in will have panic attacks):

      • Storms (even very distant) 

      Have you heard of dog “Storm Jackets”? They are supposed to calm your dog during storms (also works for fireworks and etc.)


    • Bianca
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      Posted By jerseygirl on 10/10/2017 3:42 AM

      She has a lot of allergies too, so she is on a grain free diet, 3 zyrtec tablets a day, and because one of her allergies is grass, we also have some expensive hiking boots just to take her on short walks. She is still getting used to the boots, they are only new. 

      Any pics of her in these boots?!!!

      Hunter has sensitve skin too and is on a grain free food. Are you finding grass is more irritating for her right now, it being Spring? Hunters skin got really inflammed last week that he needed go on a corticosteroid. It must be hard not being able to bath Mitzi to help get rid of allergens on the skin.

      How do you manage her panic attacks?

      I think I do have a couple of pics, but they are saved on my old phone so I’ll have to try to upload them later. They are on instagram (along with a video of her trying to walk with them) @mitzidoggo – you don’t need an account to view them on a computer I don’t think . They are the Ruffwear Grip Trex – $122 for the set! 😮 But they are holding up way better than the Petstock ones that wouldn’t stay on and fell to pieces. 

      Yes, Mitzi is bad all year round but much worse at the moment. Thankfully the zyrtec works on her. She can’t take the steroids designed for dogs –  they make her sick. She does have a steroid based spray to help on bad days but I have to dab it on because she is scared of the spray. 

      Until recently her panic attacks (especially over storms) were managed with strong xanax. But I don’t want her on them forever. And I have discovered that she finds David Attenborough documentaries very calming, so the last few panic attacks we have played her David Attenborough docos – she slept through a storm that way recently! It wasn’t an overhead storm though, I think next winter will be harder and I might need some xanax as back up. 

      I have heard of the thunder shirts but haven’t bought her one yet. She is pretty happy to wear coats though so it is probably worth a try for next winter in particular. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Thunder shirts certianly seem to have 5 stars from people who need them for their dogs….
      When fireworks night is approching or there is a storm, i put on loudish pop music…. so any boom booms in the music drown out the boom booms outside.

      Jersey, interesting, yes. I think it does matter whether its dominance or fear. I treated Kyra as if she were dominant and i realise now she was sht scared of stuff and i should have been positive reinforcing rather than ‘come along dog, nothing to be worried about’….

      We’ve got an appt with positive dog trainer on Tues. . Watch this space…


    • jerseygirl
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      Jersey, interesting, yes. I think it does matter whether its dominance or fear.

      Yar. I watched some ZG videos with shy/fearful dogs after I posted.

      Watch this space..

      *watching* 


    • Azerane
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      Hubby’s mum bought a thunder shirt for one of his family’s small terrified dogs. I don’t know that it helped at all I think she was just too ingrained in her fears.


    • Bam
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      I don’t think it’s dominant for a dog to stand between the legs of the owner. It’s a good place where you are protected and can see the same things the owner sees.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Jersey…. errrrrr not before Tuesday…. you’ll get tired just waiting…. :


    • Bianca
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      Posted By bam on 10/12/2017 5:14 AM

      I don’t think it’s dominant for a dog to stand between the legs of the owner. It’s a good place where you are protected and can see the same things the owner sees.

      Or you are off in your own little world sniffing something and have no idea you just wandered through someone’s legs and nearly tripped them up because that smell is SO GOOD! 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      G’day all !
      Been a tad busy of recent,

      So we went to the positive trainer vet lady (it may not have been as joyous as it could have been as her business partner passed away the day before in the clinic !!)

      Lots of info which was the opposite of what I had heard (soooo many opinions on the net and with ‘specialists!’).

      Here’s some of the ‘positive training’ tips :

      I must always say goodbye when I leave the house – Baloo has been abandoned 5 times in 6 months so he NEEDS to know that I will be coming back and this code word will make him understand that I am coming back.

      I must NEVER play hide and seek (with my body – not with toys) as this will reinforce his fear of being abandoned again.

      I should use a loving nickname for him when we are having cuddle sessions and ONLY use this for positive.

      I can say NO.

      I can walk with a long leash and with Baloo in front, but he must be given the command from me to ‘move on’ or whatever…

      He is allowed to sniff (on command) and he must then come with a little tug of the leash and ‘come on now’.

      He can eat before me (and then go off and sleep and not bother at dinner table) as long as he waits for the command to eat when plate is on the floor

      I should NOT play ball with him by throwing it in the air and him having to jump up on his back legs (as this will become a natural movement for him which is unacceptable in dog-human or dog-dog situations. I WAS doing it to strengthen his hind legs – we’ll find another exercise for that. He has to understand that all 4 paws should remain on the ground. This is mainly because he is starting to have tendencies towards dominance of other dogs we meet. Maybe it’s not a problem with less dominant dogs.

      For the same reasons, I should NOT play tug with him or do anything which causes him to pull and tug and be ‘aggressive’ – even if it isn’t ‘aggressive with me’.

      As he is ball fixated and knows how to ‘find’ – I SHOULD play hunt games with several different toys with him in the garden to tire him mentally.

      I MUST work on the ‘heel’ command and/or ‘close’ command so he focuses on me.

      I SHOULD use a Gentle Leader / Gentle Walker (I’ve chosen a Gentle Leader as he barks, lunges and can appear aggressive towards other dogs)

      Calming plant-based stress relief COULD be helpful – I’ve ordered Bachs Rescue Remedy PETS

      I should use a clicker for training – it’s very consistant and he’s obviously a bright boy and needs channeling and boundaries to understand that I’m in charge, I make the décisions and he can just lay back and be led in life !!

      Hope that helps – I’ll let you know how we get on.


    • jerseygirl
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      Well VB, Im exhausted!

      Not from waiting for you to post but just from all that info ^. That must be difficult to retain and apply consistently. Or is some of it what you had in place already?

      Calming plant-based stress relief COULD be helpful – I’ve ordered Bachs Rescue Remedy PETS

      Didn’t you get some Pet Remedy for Henry? Would that one be worth a try also?

      Let me know how you get on with Gentle Leader head harness. Im trying talk sister into that for Danny. But they tried a head type harness for a previous dog and he didn’t like it so she’s already got in mind that he will be the same. I believe it can take a bit of getting used to anyway? 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Yes good memory jersey. I bought some “pet remedy” spray.
      I have tried it but I don’t really want to spray it every day when I go out and the cats Cali in particular goes mental when I spray it. she rolls about on the floor where the spray has obviously landed and it’s a bit like catnip
      For the gentle leader, that’s the one where the dog has to put the nose through the strap a bit like a muzzle, but the gentle Walker is where the shoulders go through a bit like a harness. so that could help your sister if her dog is pulling but without barking or being aggressive which is the impression that Balloo gives.
      but yes a dog does have to get used to it by putting his nose through to get the treat for example for at least a few days before he’s worn out on it on the lead. they say that you can make a dog put it on (by nose getting treat) and then leave it on in the house for a bit for him to get used to it it can be up to a week without going out with the strap on his nose for him to get used to it but I believe it will be worth it in the end.

      It has to be.

      And yes I’m exhausted too… lol… and as you so rightly say… it has to ALL be consistent….


    • Bam
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      GI think it sounds wonderful, Vienna! Now you have a plan and he will have rules to follow. I think it’ll help a lot.

      A back leg/hip strengthening exercise Effi’s physiotherapist has given her might perhaps be an idea, if he trust you to stand behind him. You bend down and lift one back foot off the floor so he must balance on three legs. Then you do the same with the other leg. Then you go further and push (very gently) on his hips, to throw him off balance a little. Just a little, just so he has to stabilize and find equilibrium on the hind leg he’s standing on. This isn’t a heavy duty exercise by any means, but it’s very good for building functional strength and stability.


    • Hazel
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      Posted By jerseygirl on 10/08/2017 8:04 AM 

      That’s annoying but cute at same time, Hazel. Do you have trouble keeping a straight face?

      Getting some of that energy out in the yard should help, I think. After he’s expended some of that, could you do some short leash training sessions with him at home?  You mentioned him not being interested in treats or toys, is that just when you’re trying use them to help couteract his pulling? Is he interested in them at home?  That would be valuable in training sessions. 

      Yes, it’s very hard to keep a straight face! 

      He loves his toys and treats at home. I think he’s more food motivated, I  tried to teach him to fetch and would treat him after he brought the toy back, after a couple of times he wouldn’t even go after the toy anymore, he just sat in front of me waiting for a treat. 

      Some pictures of the little monster:

      Vienna: Glad to hear that you found a trainer! Some of her advice didn’t quite make sense to me, but she’s the expert and knows best I reckon.  How is it going so far? Can we get some pictures of Baloo? 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hazel : yup no worries. Once I’m on my pwoper compooter and not this silly ipad thingy

      What things didn’t make sense to you ? ( If i can’t explain them to you, then me neither ! Haha)


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Here is the gorgeous, handsome, proud Baloo (who is driving me crazy (and sad) with his reactivity towards other dogs….)

      Just look at him  


    • Bam
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      He looks like the happiest dog in the world ?


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Yeah well… the things which hide behind a photo !! LOL.

      We were alone in the forest and so he was happy. Had their been another dog around he would have been in high alert zone and barking his agression to the entire County…

      We are hanging off on things that wind him up for now as he will be in surgery in 2 days time so I’m spoiling him a bit.

      Training will recommence when he’s back on form.


    • jerseygirl
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      Maybe ask the vet to hypnotise him while he’s under?
      “When you wake up, you will be the most perfectly behaved (and healthy!) dog the world has ever seen”. Or something like that.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Ooooooo yes, I LOVE that idea !!!!!

      Or just remove the hormone out of his brain which is sending him bonkers !! LOL

      Although I AM sure that Bach’s Rescue Remedy has NO effect on him !!


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Currently at kitchen table practising positive reinforcement as neighbours yappy dog is going hell for leather next door and of course Baloo wants to join in (walls are thin!) – so the cheese bits on the table are doing a grand job !!!!

      He is calm – So am I – yay !!!!


    • Hazel
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      Aww, Baloo is so cute!

      Yay for neighbor dogs helping with training!  We have one like that next door too. Luckily Otis doesn’t feel the need to bark back, I think that dog scares him.

      About the trainer’s advice, a good bit of it made sense to me, a few things didn’t. Like the abandonment issue. I figured if a dog is anxious about being left alone, it would be best to make as little a deal about leaving as possible, and rather put more emphasis on coming back. Turning your leaving into a big routine seems counterproductive because I think it would just amplify the dogs stress level. I also disagreed with him being allowed to walk in front of you. That’s a leadership position and I think giving him that spot could confuse him about his position in the pack. I would have him walk behind or next to you. That’s only when you’re actually walking of course, if you’re hanging out somewhere and let him explore on a long lead, that would be different I think. But maybe it also depends on the dog, if he’s naturally a follower then allowing him to do this might not have the same negative effect as with dogs that are more dominant. And lastly, I don’t think playing tug would make him more aggressive. In the wild it’s more of a team work thing, it’s how they tear apart their food. I think it’s actually a nice way to bond with your dog, or for the dog to bond with other dogs. After all, it takes two to play tug.  I think it would only be a problem if he doesn’t actually want to play, but rather wants to take the toy away from the human/other dog. But even then, it would be more of a possessiveness issue than an aggression issue, in my opinion.

      Just my 2 cents, but I probably don’t know what I’m talking about. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I think the tug thing is as he’s a dominant (or trying – lol) if he plays tug he gets it into his head its OK to ‘play rough’…. whereas in a doggy meets doggy situation, it wouldn’t be polite to be overboard. He’ll of course have his instincts, but we’re trying to downscale them a bit.
      (I guess in the case of an extremely submissive dog who gets ‘beaten up’ or bullied by other dogs, maybe they, inversely, would need to play tug… ?)

      I’m really not sure of the walking in front bit either – so many different theories – I think it’s based on the “he must come back when called” theory of leadership (same when eating before human : can only eat on command)

      As he is leash reactive, to walk by the side or behind would be making him 3 times more frustrated than he needs to be. And, trust me, he is VERY frustrated already !

      The ‘I’m going out’ command is said calmly and matter off factly (is that a word?!! lol) and when I return NO fuss is made (big fuss = “Oh my god, I’m back it was SO horrible outside, cuddle – lucky you’re here now!! Pleeease don’t let me go out again).
      I suppose it makes sense (although again so many different opinions on the net) to say “I WILL be back” don’t worry. As opposed to a “silent I’ve disappeared, NEVER coming back” as he has had so many times in the past 8 months.

      I remember once with bridge dog Kyra, I once left her with my parents in their house for an afternoon.
      Knowing how she panicked when she saw me leaving, I snuck out without her seeing me leave, thinking she would just think me in a different room

      OMG ! M&D reported back that she stressed for the whole 5 hours I was gone, searching upstairs and down and up and down and in the garden, not settling at all.
      I vowed from then, to always make sure she saw me leave the house (I didn’t say anything, nor excited) but just so she understood I left through the front door and I will return back through it…. It was much better for her.


    • jerseygirl
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      How’s everyone’s dogs doing?
      Vienna, any improvement with Baloo around other dogs?


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hi Jersey – thanks for checking up.

      It’s swings and roundabouts for us… or mountains and valleys – or whatever the right saying is.

      Baloo seems to have slightly more respect for me (oh, YOU, my owner?) when I call him, but he is still a nightmare outdoors on lead.

      When I say a nightmare, I mean when he sees another dog he kicks off from energy 4 into 10 within a millisecond and barks so ferociously that people cross the road to avoid us !!

      However, I have had another behaviourist come check him out with her dog (a 15yo very wobbly lab) and she says he’s got a great character and the barking is frustration not aggression.
      We went out on an organised ‘educational’ walk with 12 other dogs at the weekend and Baloo barked for the ENTIRE 90 mins. No, I fib, he stopped barking for the 10 mins I let him off the lead.

      When he is presented to other dogs, balanced dogs, on lead, he behaves and is ‘polite’. But the barking is pretty amazing and so strangers are NOT interested in interacting with us (understandably).

      He is whining and then barking at the buns when they have a chase and nip session or when Henry scratches at the litter box. I think this is getting worse as he woke me up at 6 this morning by barking which is the first time.

      So I’m obv not using the right training to get him to stop. I’m torn between a NO and a positive redirection (squeakie toy).
      Whatever I say (positive or not) it seems to wind him up even more. However, if I ignore him, he doesn’t calm down on his own either…..

      I give him naughty time out in the entrance hall which seems to work a bit, but it’s almost like a kid who says something naughty then goes and sits on the naughty stair by himself. Baloo barks loudly, looks at me, and goes and sits by the door to go out !! LOL

      So we are still very much on a flat learning curve, one that is not yet moving upwards !!! *sigh*

      We are working on clicker training indoors to encourage him to look at me more when outdoors, but I really can’t see a quick solution to this.
      Nor really, tbh, a solution at all !
      But I try to remain positive about it as off lead he seems to be OK. (Though he hasn’t yet met a dominant male off lead yet… *gulp* )


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Had ‘quite’ a good short walk round the icy block yesterday eve (it always OK when we don’t meet any other dogs!!)
      Alhough he escalated very quckly and aggressively when we passed a house with dogs barking, he only took about 100m to calm down rather than 200m !!

      He does “sit” very well when he knows there’s a click and treat – but only when he’s in his comfort zone away from the distraction.

      I’m also teaching him “silence” and “bark” (you can’t teach “silence” if at first you haven’t taught “bark”) and although at first Baloo barked very tentatively when I asked it, he now knows the command and loves giving a loud solid BARK !! (WHEN I ask!).
      I’m hoping it will pay off in the future when he barks at the buns or at front door or at anything he ‘shouldn’t’. Hmmmmm, Watch this space !! LOL

      What I DO know is that the GENTLE LEADER halter has saved Baloo from going back to kennels, because although I’m a strong person, he is stronger and would have pulled me over by now. It works exactly like a halter for a horse does enabling a hooman to control the head.


    • Bam
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      Watching this space. I think it’s wonderful what you’re doing.


    • Hazel
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      Vienna: I’ll trade Otis for Baloo if you want! Otis doesn’t react much to other dogs at all, he either tries to avoid them or stares at them like they have two heads. Our neighbor has a giant hairy monster of a dog, he charges and barks at us every time we go out the door. I was worried this might have a negative effect on Otis, but now I feel like it’s desensitizing him to rambunctious dogs, he doesn’t seem to care much anymore. I really wish I could let him off the leash without him speeding off, I gotta wrap the leash around my hand a few times before opening the door just to make sure he can’t get loose. 

      Regarding the training, I guess it all depends very much on the individual dog, what works for one might have the opposite effect on another. Sounds like Baloo is making progress, so that’s great!  It’s funny you mentioned the gentle leader, I’m about to try the same thing, pretty much. I’ll use a slip lead looped around the neck and snout in a figure eight, it’s basically a poor man’s gentle leader.  I hope it will stop him from pulling, he’s way too strong. How long did it take Baloo to get used to wearing it?

      I’m also planning to get the walky dog bike leash for him, I think  running him with the bike will be a great way to get that excess energy out.  Yesterday I read that dogs aren’t supposed to run on asphalt until they’re grown though, does anyone have an opinion on that? I’d hate to have to wait that long but there aren’t any dirt roads around as far as I know.


    • Bam
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      Hazel, dogs can’t do agility here until they’re a year old. The Kennel Club recommends you wait until the dog is fully grown until you start doing any heavy duty exercise. There are differences between breeds and you should wait longer with large breeds. I don’t know what scientific evidence to support this there is though.

      I have a friend who did inline skating with her dog (a lab cross) on asphalt and he completely wore down his foot pads, so you should probably start with short distances so the foot pad skin can get thicker gradually.

      Are there no nature trails you could use?


    • jerseygirl
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      I was wondering if Baloo took to the Gentle Leader. Yay! One less stress so you can concentrate on the other things.
      Vienna, would he respond to touch rather then voice to regain his attention when he starts barking at dogs when you’re out?

      Hazel, that slip lead trick is neat. Ive been trying Danny (my sisters dog) out by putting lead high around neck and walking around the yard and he fights it every time. He does not like his head being controlled! The gentle leader harness worked well for a while but he grew out of it. He’s now only walked with a slip chain and he pulls. But he has improved.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hazel – Don’t tempt me. I would SO SO LOVE a non reactive dog !! OMG it’s my only dream at the moment.
      People cross over the road when Baloo is barking as he is SO aggressive in his barking.

      It’s really not that much fun at the moment with him doing that. I turned around on the walk last night after 10 mins because he was so aroused he was barking into thin air. Like a small child in full hysteria tantrum mode. There was no getting through. Even with calm distractions “ooo look there’s father Christmas flying through the sky!!”

      re Otis rushing out the door, I presume you are already doing the ‘”can’t go out door until calm” routine…
      Opening door tiny bit, closing it when he head butts it to get out (lol), then doing it again… and again and again….. up to 20 / 30 / 40 times if needs be.
      it takes soooo long, but once they catch on, by golly they catch on quick !! Baloo has, tries once now, forgets, then sits and looks up at me as if to say ‘ok ok I’m calm, lets go’…. LOL

      Watch this link at 5:15

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8cPkTh7Y3k

      I think I think the same as bam – it was 1 yr for dog agility here…. it’s a bit like asking a small child to jog regularly and run a marathon – they might be able to do, but until all bones and joints have finished growing/fusing, the pounding or jumping won’t do them much good into adulthood.

      Jersey – I don’t understand how Danny can ‘grow out of’ gentle leader harness… “pleeeease explain”… (lol)
      The whole idea is that they tone down their pulling as their head turns if they pull. That won’t work with a slip chain. It works better with Baloo, I can still feel him pulling, but it doesn’t translate to be as hard or powerful as with a collar from the neck.

      He’s not impressed by it on his nose, he rubs up against me and all hedges to try and scratch it off, but then other things are much more interesting to be barked at
      But if means me being able to walk relatively normally then he’ll have to have it on until other things fall into place !!


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I meant to say I’m seeing another behaviourist on Tuesday (the first one is good but is pregnant and not taking on any more individual coaching !) who is happy to go for walks with us and see him in full action and then go from there…

      FINGERS CROSSED

      Oh! And it is THIS coming weekend I will attempt (using acting skills I don’t have, or friendly smiles that i do have) to prise some information from ex-owner (the nice one) or acquaintancies of hers to see if Baloo has always been like this (I don’t think so or she wouldn’t have kept him for 6 years…).

      FINGERS AND TOES CROSSED !!


    • Bam
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      I wish you could bring Q8 with you, Vienna. She’d threaten to throw a potato on the ex-owner if she doesn’t cooperate. And she’d throw the potato too, if it came to that.

      The We don’t go until you stop pulling/whining really works, but you do need patience until you’ve gotten the point across. Video was disappointing, though, I was hoping to see Balou being terrible =)


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Oh sorry, yes, i can see how you thought it may have been Baloo…. i would love to get Baloo on film… but need someone else to do that…
      One thing at a time.

      Having written the above post about 2 hours ago, Baloo tonight seems to be listening to “STAY” and “SILENCE” said with a bit more force, when he starts whining and working up towards the buns…. he’s on the couch me and i stick my foot out to stop him jumping down, and as soon as he looks at me he gets a YES and a treat…. yay for tonight.

      I did give him 2 loads of Bachs remedy rescue earlier. i wonder…..


    • jerseygirl
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      Haha, was it the regular kind or the pet one? The regular one does contain some alcohol…

      Oh lookie! I found this “alternative” Bach remedy, for people.  Clicky.  

      Jersey – I don’t understand how Danny can ‘grow out of’ gentle leader harness… “pleeeease explain”… (lol)

      Oops sorry!  I meant the Easy Walker!!  The one that goes around the body.  

      I hope you do get onto the former owner. It will be super interesting to know about his history, especially since he was a sort of therapy dog, right? 

      People cross over the road when Baloo is barking as he is SO aggressive in his barking. 

      It’s really not that much fun at the moment with him doing that. I turned around on the walk last night after 10 mins because he was so aroused he was barking into thin air. Like a small child in full hysteria tantrum mode. There was no getting through. Even with calm distractions “ooo look there’s father Christmas flying through the sky!!”

      He must be super stimulated when you go out.    

      I watch a vid last week where the owners thought the dog was being aggressive when out but it was actually just him being amped up and wanting to interact with other dogs. I’ll need to go back and view again to remember specifically. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Ahhhh Easy Walker…. thats understandable!! Haha.

      I would love to see that vid, that sounds exactly like Mr B.

      He’s not stimulated when we start, although he is v alert and aware of everything…. its when he sees or smells another dog…. and i find if i say anything, like anything, it sets him off. But if i don’t say anything, he goes off on one anyway….


    • Hazel
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      Posted By Vienna Blue in France on 12/06/2017 1:43 PM 
      The whole idea is that they tone down their pulling as their head turns if they pull. That won’t work with a slip chain.

      Actually I think it would work the same way, depending on where the metal ring is positioned. I’ve seen people do it different ways, but if you have the ring sitting under the lower jaw (same spot where the leash attaches to the gentle leader), it should turn the head if the dog pulls. Hopefully. I guess I’ll find out. 

      Yes, we’re doing the waiting by the door thing, and he’s actually not too bad about it. I have him sit, and open the door. Then I wait for him to look at me, and release him. I’m mainly afraid of him getting loose once we’re outside. He has this nasty habit of suddenly lunging with all his might to get back to the house. It seems that sometimes he hears something and it makes him freak out. Could be a car, or a bird, or the wind…  He’ll keep lunging so hard that he does a 180 in the air when he hits the end of the leash, then he’ll stop for five seconds and try again. I have to constantly brace myself for this, he does it very randomly. I thought it was some kind of fear phase, but he’s been doing it for a long time now. He’s gotten loose a couple of times because of this, and once he realizes I let go of the leash, he’s gone.

      Can’t wait to hear how it goes with the new trainer! 

      jersey: Yeah I bet Danny didn’t like it much. When you’re used to running around all over the place, I guess it’s kind of a bummer to have to walk nicely next to slow humans all of a sudden.  I reckon Otis won’t appreciate it either. 

      bam: We live close to a wildlife refuge with wonderful hiking trails, but unfortunately they don’t allow dogs. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Bad news : New trainer due tomorrow has been put off due to snow this evening and freezing températures over night.
      Pavements are ice rinks, so we’ll push it back a few days…. I don’t want to fall and with Baloo’s arthrosis he’ll slip around like Bambi.
      That’s the bad news.

      The good news – the OH so exciting good news is that I have been able to speak to Baloo’s ex-owners (the nice ones, not the nasty man) who have been able to give me ALL Baloo’s history.
      It has filled in ALL the gaps and dotted all the “i”s and crossed the “t”s.

      Due to serious medical issues and a very excitable Baloo (yup, he has always been so) they gave him up at the beginning of this year to a man they thought would take care of him. He didn’t. I showed them the skinny Baloo photo – they were devastated. The woman cried.

      Baloo has been the companion of a 20 something year old lady since he was 3 months. He had a backyard but was never walked by the lady (too strong & excitable) but could be by her brother who trains dogs (to attack! ring?) and I don’t really want to know by which methods he trained Baloo… in his presence Baloo behaved. Hmmmm.

      So basically, Baloo was very rarely taken outdoors, socialised very little with other dogs and has a tendance to be dominant when he does meet them. Oops.
      He has always barked!

      So we have work to do, but I gather he did not pay any notice to the lady’s commands, so that’s changed for him in my house!!

      And with the behaviourist coming soon I am hopeful we’ll be able to get into his head !

      But is great with people and kids.

      It was lovely meeting the girl’s parents and time will tell if she is happy enough to speak to me and even see Baloo again (in a while when he knows I am now his family!).


    • jerseygirl
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      Oh wow! What a great update. Im really glad you were able to get onto them. Very interesting!! I think they’ll be very glad to have met you and know he is in good hands with you now.


    • Bam
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      I’m sorry about the trainer =( But it’s force majeure and not in our human control. We have plus degrees and almost an inch of snow. Effi was very excited about the snow today. I hope it’ll be gone tomorrow or I don’t know what to feed Bam the grass slayer.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Trainer is coming tomorrrrrow….


    • Hazel
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      So, how did it go with the trainer?


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Oh yes, sorry, gosh… well she came for the home visit on Weds to see Baloo, the house set up, the problems we have and went for a walk to see how he reacts to other dogs (we saw some, he reacted, i’m glad, so she saw him in action).

      And then she returned the following day for a home training visit.

      We have since been out in the woods together (with Baloo!), met lots of dogs (some cool, some bark-worthy and one reactive Jack who attacked) and are due to have 4 more sessions this week.

      The problem at home is that he barks unnecessarily and loudly at the buns. Sometimes it is because they are moving and sometimes he just turns looks and barks. Their puppy pen takes up a third of the downstairs open plan area. It stretches from the living room into the kitchen area so we pass it every tilme we move basically.

      Trainer reckons he is barking to get my attention as I do react when he barks loudly enough to shake the walls!!

      But I don’t understand why he then gets up all alert and excited and barking when I’l giving him my ALL attention, laying on his back with me scratching his belly…
      The buns moving has become the trigger within the trigger (my presence)

      So it’s still a catch-22 situation.
      He onlead gets very frustrated seeing other dogs as he wants to go say hi.
      But instead of frantically wagging his tail and keeping calm and polite so we can go over and say “hi” to other dog and owner, his frustration shows in barking, and barking loudly and aggressively and so others don’t come near us.
      The advantage of being in the woods is that other dogs come to say hi to us offlead, if they want to.

      Baloo seems polite (although tensioned) and sniffs in all the right places. When they leave when their owner calls, he gets frustrated again and starts barking !!

      I suppose it’s like me being starved for a week then someone waving a huge scrummy chocolate cake in front of my nose, allowing me to take a lick then taking it away again !!

      So we have to work on that. And it’s a LOT of work.

      He is exceedingly wearing in the evenings. Tonight, after the walk, I have given him 2 stuffed Kongs and a rawhide bone, just to keep him chewing and not annoying. The buns have settled too, so that helps.
      Overnight he is fine. Early morning (6am) Henry attacks the litter tray with a vengance (I can hear him from upstairs!) and Baloo does not react one bit, not even a whimper.
      So, it really does seem to be ME the trigger which upsets me because I dont know how to correct it without me not being present !!

      But we have to work on it, we will work on it, and it HAS to work, it just has… or else the fun and enjoyment that taking on another dog was supposed to bring me, has failed, on a 5 year (atleast) scale…

      The work at home to work on is to get Baloo to sit and lay and stay from a distance. Like, me asking him to lay down from a distance.
      Sounds easy… not so. So I put him in sit, go into rabbits, he moves I return. Repeat !!
      Then I’ll be able to put him on his bed when I’m in rabbits’ enclosure and ask him to lay and stay. In theory.

      Current training is, I am on all fours, cleaning the buns out and checking on Baloo who is 10 inches behind me on other side of puppy pen. The minute he is not whimpering or barking I CLICK and throw treats over the enclosure to reward his good behaviour.

      He seems very frustrated, his compass is completely out of control and he needs complete consistency, which I’m maybe not giving, unconcsciously of course.

      Hence the trainer. And luckily she’s not too expensive if it’s just educative walks and not home visits. Phew !


    • Bam
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      If you can’t do this, nobody can. Teaching him to sit and stay put might need to be done in veeeery small steps. But you know all that. Start by backing away from him, don’t turn your back. One step at a time if you need to.

      It takes extra time because he’s still learning to how to read you, and you him. That will of course also improve with time and training.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Training walk in the woods and park this morning. Lots of dogs came to say hi and Baloo politely sniffs and wants to play but at moment he is still on lead. We spy people walking their dogs and trainer says, ok lets go frustrate Baloo, lol (not worth paying to go on a walk if we avoid all triggers!)
      So we were following a lady (65ish) who had a long haired pekinese off lead and she was looking back at us and hurrying along and looking back again. And we were walking faster than her… lol. So we caught up and she held her dog and when i said “its ok he is not aggressive” she smiled and let “Helmutt” (lolol) go who ran up at speed wagging tail, threw his head under Baloos belly to sniff his willy andd Baloo said nothing!! (Yay!!). So they turned around each other a few times and Helmutt left without any probs and even the lady stroked the barking Baloo.

      So hopefully… with more and more positive meetings Baloo will relax (at the moment he’s fine, but he’s not wagging his tail in a chilled out manner, maybe waiting for another male to come say “HEY YOU! yeah yeah whats your prob, wanna fight ???”)

      The key is chilled out dogs. So the woods and park is a good place as they are mainly dogs who are exercised regularly and properly and are chilled. As opposed to yappy little town dogs or dogs who are just taken out to go toilet and back home again and are just as frustrated as Monsieur Baloo.

      Check up at vets this morning and Baloo barked so suddenly and frustratingly ( i was obv taking too long to pay!! ) that a lady in the waiting room (the other side of a closed glass door!!!) jumped out of her seat !!!! It’s strange how people look as me very mistrustingly when i say, ‘so sorry, but he’s really not aggressive, he’s kind, go on stroke him!!! ‘. Hahahaha


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Happy New Year !

      Just before Christmas one of the walks in the woods set off an exceedingly frustrated and aggressive Baloo, with first one male husky ( also on lead) and then a guy with three VERY chilled huskies. My dog trainer said she often had problems with huskies, maybe they have a different smell… luckily the three group of three huskies were not reactive at all and the dog trainer could see how Baloo works himself up into a MEGA tantrum.

      But MIRACLE. Read on !!

      That same evening (maybe it was a full moon) Baloo was BONKERS with the buns.
      So much so that I remembered the water spray (ed: “Hi Walker” *wave* LOLLOL).
      I gave him a “silence” command, he didnt, i sprayed once, he recoiled !!
      He looked at me as if I’d given him a 5 min electrocution session and whimpered off to his bed.
      5 mins later the buns moved, Baloo started whining (pre bark) so I asked him “silence” again.
      He looked at me, whimpered and took himself off to hide in the toilet.

      And he has since very rarely barked at buns and when he has ive asked for “silence” and he does….

      So the whimpering is him bascially deciding to not bark, going against his bark reflexes which have been isntalled for 7 years.
      He is in effect stopping himself from barking. Which is the aim, for him to decide HIMSELF that barking is not the polite thing to do.

      He still does whine a bit and the odd occasion he barks, it is MUCH scaled down (a loud bark rather than an aggressive one) and when I ask for “silence” he licks his lips (sign of being uncomfortable and calming himself down) or yawns (again sign of stress) and when he decides not to bark he gets a calm but energetic GOOD BOY SILENCE from me which reinforces his decision.

      I spent the week of Christmas saying good boy silence to make him understand his good behaviour.

      Over Christmas he had some good meets with other dogs and some less successful ones.
      This still makes me upset as they are aggressive meets. i presume this is from being unsure and scared but we still need to make him uderstand that not a good reaction.

      Fight or flight i suppose and as he is onlead, he only has once choice.

      But the fact that he is much more zeeeen at home with the buns is a HUGE help to my mental state, LOL.
      And obviously his too !!!!!

      I asked dog trainer if the water spray would work outside, she prefers to leave it as the indoor tool. When he is barking in the garden, i only have to hold the spray at the window and he comes running, quiet, wagging his tail. Always a bone waiting at the door. Lol.

      So we will try an ultra sound collar outdoors or a lemon spray one. Used correctly, ie with big positive reinforcement when quiet, he may only have to have it sprayed once or twice as he seems to pick up on the training so so quickly.
      I would NEVER go down the electric shock collar route, but he seems to be very receptive to a firm NO or a surprise, as long as it is followed up with HUGE rewards for being good.

      Thats where alot of people go wrong, they think punishment gets results, meeehhhh, but they don’t then reward GOOD behaviour.

      Goodboyheal. Goodboy silence. Goodboy couché. Goodboygentle. My entire days are filled with gooooodboys.. LOL

      Next challenge, Outdoors….


    • jerseygirl
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      You sound as if you have a great handle on the positive training methods. It’s really encouraging to read these changes in him. I think with this method, it’s slower then some other training methods and people give up when not seeing results sooner. Do you think?

      So, what is the “silence” command? Is it you just saying the word or a hand gesture??

      I spent the week of Christmas saying good boy silence to make him understand his good behaviour.

      Goodboyheal. Goodboy silence. Goodboy couché. Goodboygentle. My entire days are filled with gooooodboys.. LOL

      I wonder if you also mutter it in your sleep and the cats are like “WTH???!!” You’ll have them convinced they’re both male dogs before too long.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Oh gosh yes its so slow. That’s why I’ve given in slightly and tried the water spray. It wouldn’t work though if it is used too much. (Like smacks for a child…. sometimes you see parents smacking their kids, kids who have smiles on their faces. It has NO effect whatsoever!!!))

      I wouldn’t continue if there weren’t people saying it DOES work…. it’s hard.

      ( It hasn’t helped that my bunnysitter says it has taken her 7 year old dog 6 years to get better for his leash reactivity !!!! )

      The reason why i want to shortcut a bit this training is because i do believe he could be a danger in the streets if he reacted to a dog on the other side of the road and there were kids on my side.
      So if it takes a bit of discipline mixed in with the positiveness, then I’m happy doing it.

      Some total positive trainers would say the word ‘NO’ is not even allowed….


    • jerseygirl
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      It hasn’t helped that my bunnysitter says it has taken her 7 year old dog 6 years to get better for his leash reactivity !!!!

      Oh geez! Lol..


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      I think different methods for different dogs with different problems is the key.
      Just like with kids and adults.
      Adaptability.
      Find what works and what doesn’t.

      The Key word within the key words? Patience and keeping calm. Hah !!!!!


    • Hazel
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      Sounds like you’re making great progress Vienna!  Slinking off to the bathroom when he’s bad! 

      I’ve read a little bit about shock collars lately. With Otis being a hunting breed, most websites about GSPs are for and by hunters, and they use them a lot, usually for recall. I kinda feel like they have a worse reputation than they deserve. The big problem I think is that a lot of people don’t know how to use them properly. They buy the collar, put it on the dog and expect him to come to them (or do whatever else they want him to) without first taking the time to teach the dog what the shock means and what he’s supposed to do. Then when the dog doesn’t respond correctly, they keep dialing up the intensity. So what you end up with is a panicked dog, cringing and crying in pain because he’s getting shocked on level 10 and has no clue what to do. That’s the image a lot of people have in their heads when thinking of a shock collar. A collar that’s set to a low level doesn’t hurt the dog, and most of them come with a vibrate setting that doesn’t shock at all. It’s just supposed to give the dog a nudge to snap them out of whatever they’re doing, just like Cesar Millan giving a little finger poke.

      I hope your collar works out for you both. Baloo is so lucky to have an owner who’s this patient! 

      Got my new leash for Christmas, and holy moly, it works like magic! I can actually walk him now, without getting my arm ripped off!  He’s not too happy about it, he wants to run but can’t, so he just prances along next to me. 


    • jerseygirl
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      Gorgeous He’s growing up so fast!

      What’s this halter/leash called? I’d come across one not very well marketed called safecalm collar you clip leash to the back (like yours extends from the back of neck). And had that had that toggle thing to tighten everything up.


    • Hazel
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      Thanks jersey!  Yeah he’s getting big, almost 50 lbs now.

      It’s nothing special, just a plain old kennel lead, looped around the neck and snout in a figure eight. His regular leash is a slip lead too, but it’s way too thick, if I put that on his snout he wouldn’t be able to see.  This one is pretty flat. We got it on Amazon, it’s made by KVP. It didn’t come with a stopper, so I put a hair tie on it, works just fine to snug it up.

      https://www.kvpvet.com/kvp-leads


    • Muchelle
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      So… since you all seem to know about dogs, I have a question!
      I don’t have one, but my bf’s family has two big ones, a Scotch Collie and a Maremma Sheepdog. I’m afraid of big dogs and I’m still wary of the collie, but I’ve made friends with Luna, the sheepdog, and I’ve started taking her on walks when I’m sleeping over at bf’s place (with bf. I’m not comfortable being alone with big dogs…)

      Luna’s always had a choke collar, which is illegal now but still accepted for heavy dogs. Since she’s 9 years old I’ve raised concerns about her collar possibly damaging her windpipe if she gets too excited while walking and we’re discussing about getting her a harness. So my question is: since she’s an old dog and doesn’t really pull on the leash except for the first few minutes after she’s out of home… would it be worth it to switch her to a harness? would it be hard to make her get used to it? Is there a kind of harness that’s recommended for a 40kg dog?

      Sorry for the n00b questions ^_^;;;


    • Bam
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      You could try a harness. It’s very common here for both big and small dogs. If she’s reactive towards other dogs, it could be difficult to control her in a harness though. Make sure the harness isn’t of a type that she can eel her way out of. For the first walks in the harness she could still wear the callar so you can switch back to the collar if you need to. It’s good if the harness allows movement of the leash clip across the back or the leash will pull the harness sideways.

      Effi often wears a harness. Especially when we’re hiking. Her harnesses are from a Finnish company called Hurtta. (She has several harnesses because she’s spoilt and pampered). I don’t know what you have in Italy, of course. I looked up Zooplus Italy, they seem to have Julius K9 harnesses, I haven’t used those myself but I often see them here on quite powerful dogs.

      I’ve also sown a Nome harness for Effi, if you like sowing that’s a nice little project.


    • Muchelle
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      Harnesses have become n°1 here as well after the righteous choke collar soft ban. I used to dogsit a wolfie that was barely controllable (bad bad owner) and that was one dog you surely didn’t want to put in a harness ^_^;;

      She doesn’t care or is afraid of other dogs, so she doesn’t go close to them or bark. She just cares about checking each and every pee she finds So she pulls a lot, especially during the first road cross
      I love the shape of the Nome harness, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be the best to go across trafficked roads because of the clip so low on the back. Julius K9 is really popular over here, so I can easily find it! I see some models also have a handle on the top, so that’s extra nice to keep her close by when crossing the street.

      So… we have to measure the larger point of her chest and her back to find the correct size?


    • Bam
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      Julius K9 seems to go by chest width only. For a Maremma dog you’d need either L-XL (stl 2) 71 – 96 cm or (probably XL) (stl 3) 82 – 118 cm. I’ve only met one or two Maremma dogs in my life, they look huge (and beautiful) but a lot of the size is probably fur.

      (I’ve put a metal ring to fasten the leash in on the part over the shoulders on the Nome harness, forgot to say. Otherwise it’d be completely useless on walks. I made it so she could pull a plastic toboggan, but then we stopped having snowy winters and now she has her back issues anyway.)


    • Muchelle
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      I wish I had a good picture of her. She’s all fur and is getting her grey tips but she’s still a beauty <3

      Ahh, now the nome harness makes sense! And I’m jealous of the facts that: 1) you have a dog; 2) you have snow to walk the dog in; 3) you have snow;


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hmm. Julius K9. Are these anti pulling harnesses? Im not sure. I see them everywhere. I hate them. Hate maybe a tad harsh…. People put any old harness on their dog and then wonder why the dogs pulls even more when the instinct of the dog is to pull like an ox.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Ooops logged out too soon,….

      Be careful with the sizing. I’ve just received a Halti Easy Walker which i ordered last week.
      Baloo is a lab/ border collie cross and weighs 23kg. I ordered an M.
      Too big !!!!
      Don’t be going telling me that he is an S??!!!! Unless it’s a pony harness !!!


    • Hazel
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      We have the Ruffwear Front Range harness for Otis. We really like it, it’s well made and comes in funky colors.  We don’t walk him with it, we bought it for car rides and to run him next to my bicycle when he’s older. There is a spot on the front (chest) where you can attach the leash and it’s supposed to help with pulling. I tried it out once, didn’t make it completely down the drive way before I turned around.  To be fair, this is not marketed as a no pull harness, it’s just a regular everyday harness. I always used to roll my eyes at people who were being dragged all over the place by their dog. Boy, am I eating a lot of humble pie now…

      When we ordered the harness, there was a sizing chart that went by rib cage girth. We decided he’s a medium, and it fits him perfectly.

      Vienna, how is the Gentle Leader working out? Did you encounter a problem with it or are you trying the Easy Walker just because?


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hazel. The Gentle Leader is great to keep the nose in and seems easier to ‘steer’ him by it. And because it attaches under his chin, it makes him walk closer to your leg at heal even when he is trying to pull.
      But when he kicks off at another dog he pulls and barks and then turns to face me and barks even more and shakes his head from left to right which makes him look like a fish wiggling ferociously on the end of a line. And a major part of it seems to be frustration at the GL. He is always charging head first in to a hedge or between my legs to try to get it off !!!

      So I’m trying the Halti Harness. (Second day) He seems happier to have a free nose. Although I feel his pulling a bit more. The straps are at absolute maximum for him. When he kicked off at other dogs tonight, the pulling is a bit more, but he doesnt turn around and bark back at me held only by his muzzle, which proves that it is that which he doesnt appreciate with the GL.

      I guess Baloo has multiple problems (issues) which i can’t sort out at the same time (pulling and reactivity).
      I am SO with you in the humble pie !!! ROFL

      (Although i do think the majority of those poeple really haven’t tried correctly at all )

      One lady (with her pointer dog) looked at me tonight as if I had a monster at the end of my lead…..
      Others i can explain to as we pass them : “Bonsoir. He’ll bark any minute now, but dont worry, we’re working on it – smile”
      Cue barkbarkbarkbarkgroooooowl-manicBARK!!!!


    • Hazel
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      Posted By Vienna Blue in France on 1/11/2018 1:50 PM

      One lady (with her pointer dog) looked at me tonight as if I had a monster at the end of my lead…..

      Wasn’t me, I swear!  At least Baloo isn’t actually mean. What I hate is people who insist that their dog is friendly when it’s not. We were outside with our dog once and this guy comes down the street with his dog. They act like they want to meet, and he says “It’s fine, she’s friendly”. Well, as soon as our dog got close enough, his tried to bite her face! Then, of course, came the obligatory “She’s NEVER done this before!”… Yeah, right. 

      And I agree, a lot of people don’t really try when there’s a problem. You’re working really hard with Baloo, and he’ll get there, slowly but surely.  Hopefully Otis will keep improving too.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Well im guilty of saying “he wants to say hello” and then try to snap, but i pull him back and then say oh I’m sooooo sorry and then go off and cry
      But of course you dont want Otis having bad experiences at his age and i dont go near puppies…


    • Hazel
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      Yeah well, some dogs just don’t like each other. It’s probably hard to tell if Baloo is mad at a dog or just excited, since he barks in both instances. But the important thing is that you’re working with him, and meeting other dogs is part of it. So don’t feel bad if it doesn’t always work out just right! 

      Otis would probably run from Baloo, he’s a big old wuss!


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Baloo vets this morn for limping, crying, yelping last night and generally being weird. He wouldnt get in a lift last night to a friends flat where hes been twice before this week, walking in without any hesitation. He couldn’t bend down and eat from his bowl last night. I lifted it up and he did eat so i wondered if it was cervical. He didn’t eat his Kong and is refusing a bone this morning. It seems to be his front legs and ankle joints which are preventing him from bending down. And now he links the Kong with pain so he’s not touching it (even with a hotdog in it !!!)

      Of course the vet pulled and pushed and twisted his paws and legs and neck and he didn’t yelp or lick his lips or anything (she called it the “vet effect”) lol. Although she did feel resistance in one of his ankles.

      So I’m doing three things to try to make a difference for him :

      1) putting him back on SALMON OIL he had for 3 months and which i stopped just before Christmas – this may or may not be making a huge difference.

      2) changing his meds from metacam to RIMADYL and adding LOCUX to the meds (horse type flexi joint supplements)

      3) putting him in the hard BOOT of the car when travelling and not on the soft back seat to prevent him from wobbling and trying to keep his balance on a soft cushion seat with his ankles that are obviously causing him pain and aggravating it.

      Maybe his bad attitude outdoors with other dogs is related to this…. who knows. We can but try….

      Ive also had a dog osteopathy suggested to me….. kerching kerching kerching… !!!!!


    • jerseygirl
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      {{{{{Baloo}}}}}
      I hope it’s only something minor.


    • Niamian
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      oh poor pup (((Baloo)))
      hope he will be better ASP

      Glad to see this post here, I will have to dive in one of this day in all this posts.
      Generally Rocky (German Shepard/ Malinoa/ Wolfdog) and I had a quite the journey for the last year and the half. But I must say a hugeeee amount of love, time and dedication does pay off.


    • Hazel
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      Oh no, poor Baloo! I hope he feels better soon!


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Thanks guys.
      Niamian. Oh really? Oh you must post your experiences…. what you learnt was good and what you would not do again.


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Double post


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      So after Baloo making his aggressive bark even more so, and for my own piece of mind, I’ll be looking at getting Baloo a cage muzzle for when we go for wood walks in close contact with other dogs.

      He had a fight with another dog this weekend. No puncture wounds. Surely all impressive nips and tumbling, but i can’t risk it until he’s used to other dogs… if ever. . It may or may not have been his initial fault, but he wasn’t an innocent party once it got going…

      The muzzle will also be a sign to others that i am aware and taking responsibility for my dog.

      Its such a crappy viscious circle that he needs other dogs to say hi to, yet the way he reacts, no balanced dog is interested, only the curious bold ones that make him go berserk. He can say hi calmly to some dogs, the trick is knowing which ones and there is NO pattern whatsoever.

      My trainer couldn’t understand him kicking off earlier today. The dog he was kicking off at was under control, not bothered at all in Baloo and about 50m away…

      I’m looking into other trainers too. Maybe with a different method. More effective for Baloo.

      The good news is, since i sprayed him with water when he was barking MENTAL at the buns before Christmas, he is almost perfect around them now. Hardly any barking and when he feels himself wanting to, he whines and takes himself off to his bed.

      I’m not sure using a water bazooka outdoors will have the same effect…. but i am soooo tempted (and desperate) to try.


    • Mimzy
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      People may not like this but harnesses are absolutely TERRIBLE for dogs, especially big dogs, it gives them more power to pull you. Also, please read all the way through before making any presumptions xD I will explain every bit of why this makes sense

      So take for example…
      If you think of a husky pulling a sled, what are they wearing? They are wearing harnesses. A harness gives them more upper body strength to pull heavy items. Dogs who are already trained well on a leash probably could use a harness if you wanted to. But an untrained dog should not be in one. It makes them want to pull more.

      Also with harnesses, I have experienced a lot of dogs easily slipping out of them even when they are as tight as they can go. There are SOME harnesses that tighten around the dog when they pull which helps the escape issue, but if they are still pulling, it’s still not a good fit.

      The flat collars are easy to slip out of too, your dog just has to back up out of it basically. I know choke collars sound bad, they probably don’t have a great name for them either. But there are a number of different ones now, they even have nylon choke collars where the majority of it is the soft nylon, & a small part of it is chain that tightens. You can make the adjustment on these ones to where if it’s loose, it can easily slip off, but if the dog pulls, it only tightens enough to where the dog can’t slip out. It’s similar to chain choke collars in the way that it tightens but….a chain choke collar has no stopping point of that tightness. The nylon choke collar CAN have a stopping point.

      There’s a common misconception of choke collars though if they aren’t used properly, I agree they can potentially hurt a dog. The idea is; dogs like to be comfortable. If they are uncomfortable, they are going to do whatever they can to be comfortable again. So if trained right & using the collar right, they will learn that a walk does not have to involve them coughing because they’re choking themselves, that it can be very calm & relaxing & still fun.

      When training or correcting your dog on a leash, you want the collar at the highest point on their neck. The lower it is, the more pulling power they have because like the harness, it’s on their shoulders.

      Before going on an actual full walk, you should practice in front of your house. Your dog is only allowed to go wherever YOU want it to go. It should follow you, not you following the dog.

      1. It’s best to start training in the street as long as it’s not busy, this way your dog is less distracted by smells in the grass. If the ground is too hot, you may need to do the grass or find a shaded area. Also, have a treat pouch ready with small pieces of a very desirable treat.

      2. Let’s say you picked the front of your house for initial training which is a very good start. Imagine maybe a 15-20 foot area, take for instance, the span of your driveway maybe. Walk with your dog in a straight line from 1 end of the driveway to the other. You should try to keep your head up looking forward, not continuously looking at your dog.

      3. If your dog starts walking ahead of you, immediately turn around in the other direction. (If your dog is walking on your left side, you will want to start off turning to the right.) Your dog needs to learn that you are leading, not him. They often think they know where we’re walking & start to take the lead, when you make a sharp turn in the opposite direction every time they do this, they begin to realize if they want to continue in a forward motion, they cannot be getting ahead. It may take a while for them to get this but they’re smart, they’ll catch on. I have practiced this on 4 dogs now.

      4. Once your dog starts to get a better understanding, you can slowly start to increase the walking area, maybe go as far as the end of the next house & repeat the process. The idea of this is the farther out you walk from your house, the more excited a dog gets to explore. You first are teaching him that we are in the front of the house, we are to remain calm & controlled. Now we repeat the process every time we go out farther so your dog learns that it doesn’t matter where you are, familiar area or not, you HAVE to remain calm & the same rules apply everywhere.

      5. If you are out walking & occasionally want to stop for a second & talk to someone or check your phone, whatever, you can practice this too. Your dog should learn that when you stop, he stops. To do this, as you’re practicing this exercise, plan for a spot you think you’ll want to stop at. Let’s say for visuals, there’s a twig on the ground coming up & you think “that’s my stopping point.” As you approach the twig, begin to slow down & slowly start to pull up on the leash. Once you come to a complete stop, there should be more pressure pulling up on the leash. The dog will realize this is uncomfortable & because they’re smart, will start figuring out how to get comfortable again. Some dogs will sit automatically & once they do, release the pressure. Sometimes a little more pressure needs to be applied (but don’t choke or practically hang them please!) If they aren’t getting the hint, keep pulling up but take your other hand’s index finger & press down on the dog’s butt. (not too much pressure where you’re forcing it to sit, but enough to be an annoyance where he’ll try sitting to get away from your finger. Dog’s learn by repetitive training so this will take some time before it knows what to do. Eventually, you should be able to stop with just a small tug & it will sit or, simply you stopping is it’s cue to sit. Whenever they successfully sit, they get a yummy treat!


    • Azerane
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      I’m totally with you on harnesses regarding control (or lack of). So many seem to get them because their dog pulls too much, but instead their dog can pull more. I get that people use them because they don’t want their dog choking themself, but there are alternative that prevent that and also allow control.


    • Mimzy
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      @Vienna, I know how you feel about Baloo! I had one with very similar problems. He had an accidental bite on record very early on when I first got him. A # of things went wrong…

      He was a rescue, I had him only 2 months so far & we went on a group dog walk with a bunch of other dog people. My small group stayed a little behind, my dog was on a long lead & there was tall grass on either side of us & a curve in the sidewalk coming up. I had no idea he had a fear of things on wheels & a lady came zooming by around the corner very fast, he got scared & tried to bite the bike, unfortunately he bit her. My aunt had gone to help the woman & my dog seemed sorry like he knew he just done something bad. He thankfully had all his shots & everything & to my surprise, my aunt had them handy in her purse, the lady was ok & knew it was an accident but my dog had to be house quarantined for 10 days.

      Unfortunately I was traumatized & ended up somewhat sheltering him for several years after that because if another incident happened, he would be put down. This caused him to be more uncontrollable any time we did take him out & I couldn’t afford training. After our other dog passed away, who was his buddy, he became pretty grumpy & also developed food aggression. He started to feel very insecure but aside from that, he honestly was a very loving dog.

      I finally decided to get him into training after he was showing more & more food aggression. The guy I found for training was affordable & was a military dog trainer, EXCELLENT trainer, he worked wonders. I didn’t trust anyone else to train him to the extent he needed it.

      Anyway, a few tips on food aggression, & something you tried recently due to a health issue with Baloo, continue to prop his food up. This is good for a number of reasons, 1, for larger dogs, it’s often too much strain on their necks to reach down to eat from a bowl, so propping it up is much more comfortable. 2, it also makes a dog feel less dominant over their food. A dog who is standing completely over something feels empowered & territorial over that item. Putting it higher gives them less advantage to defend something that’s “theirs.”

      We also started having my dog face the wall when he eats (maybe you do this already?) This way he’s not focused on any other movements behind him. & if you can, you can also crate him when he eats. This keeps everyone safe & it also helps a dog feel more secure because he knows no one can come steal his food so easily. I also did some training with my dog to make him leave food until I told him he could have it. I actually also started making him work for his food. So any trick he knew how to do, I would ask him to perform those tricks every time he was about to eat. (sit, such as shake, spin in a circle, down) & I wouldn’t tell him to “take it” until he made eye contact with me. Sometimes I tested it farther & made him stop eating when I told him to. This might sound mean in a way, but with a food aggressive dog, they need to know they cannot be so possessive over it. He was a rescue too, but they need to learn they are safe & no other animals are going to steal their food.

      Sort of same thing for toys, if they get possessive of toys, the toy should be taken away completely for a short time every time they get possessive. If they get too possessive over certain toys, you may want to take all of their “valuable” toys away & start that training with lower value toys, their less favorite ones.


    • jerseygirl
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      Anyway, a few tips on food aggression, & something you tried recently due to a health issue with Baloo, continue to prop his food up. This is good for a number of reasons, 1, for larger dogs, it’s often too much strain on their necks to reach down to eat from a bowl, so propping it up is much more comfortable. 2, it also makes a dog feel less dominant over their food. A dog who is standing completely over something feels empowered & territorial over that item. Putting it higher gives them less advantage to defend something that’s “theirs.”

      Oh, I like this. Makes a lot of sense. And totally hadn’t thought about the “standing over something” / empowerment connection, in regards to food before. So this is a really easy way to avoid that. Cool,

      I think I may try raising Hunters food & water too, even though he’s a little dog. He goes into coughing fits sometimes. Hes almost 14 and the vets think he may have lost some integrity of structures in the throat. It’s not a collapsed trachea, but something similar. I cannot recall exactly.

      @Vienna, does Baloo wear a muzzle without fuss already or are you going to have to train him to accept it. It’s would be good if they could wear learners plates lol. Sort of a way to signal to other owners that your dog is training in certain aspects and not necessarily a dangerous dog.
      The muzzle can take away some stress on you and that is a good thing. Hopefully Baloo will pick up on that. It also means you can exercise him longer and in different areas without worrying. Again, good for you both.


    • jerseygirl
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      A story about Hunter from this week: so glad he doesn’t live up to his name!

      I ducked out to the shops for about 15-20 mins this week and when I returned & opened the front door, Hunter was right there to greet me.
      He is normally blocked off from being able to go into the hallway and rest of house where the rabbits are. I don’t know how long he’d been there. It’s possible he only just came through if he heard my car or the keys at the door. Normally, if he’s gone into this area when Im home, he makes a beeline for any bins that may have tissues. I didn’t see any evidence of raided bins. And the barriers to the bedrooms were intact and rabbits not on high alert. Phew!

      This happened because I forgot to secure a door that is normally always left secure. It’s a sliding door that he can nudge open with his nose so I have a heavy crate in place so it cannot slide open. When I do the buns litterboxes, I often unblock this door to make a more direct route to outside for myself. I’ll have to come up with a way to remind myself to block it off properly again straight after or stop using that door altogether.

      I have had each rabbit individually on my lap and Hunter sitting right beside us and no dramas. So I was pretty confident in his lack or prey-drive.
      Still, it was unsettling to find him where he shouldn’t be. And a reminder how easily I can make errors and probably will continue to…


    • Azerane
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      Jersey I think you can get leads in bright colours with bold print that say thing like “FRIENDLY” or “FEARFUL” etc as an added caution to other dog owners. However you also need to be close enough to read it or have the leash not swinging around like crazy. I would think dog jackets with such print are probably also available.

      Found it. Not sure they’d ship to you but they do leads, harnesses, jackets etc. There’s one that says “NO DOGS” https://friendlydogcollars.com.au/


    • jerseygirl
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      Haha, that poor little dog model wearing the “nervous” coat. Seems to be well suited though!
      My brother is an advocate for local councils to implement some sort of colour code system that gives people a quick visual guide to a dogs status. It was a while ago that he mentioned it, but it would only be something worn on the collar like the registration disc, from memory. Im not certain how visible that would be.


    • Hazel
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      Vienna: I’m sorry Baloo got into a fight, that must have been so scary. How did the other owner react? I’m glad there weren’t any injuries. Getting a muzzle for now is a good call. I’ve considered doing that too in the past. Not because of aggression issues but to keep people from touching the dog without permission. It’s really aggravating when you turn around and find someone crouched down, being all over your dog without even asking first. And then, if the dog reacts negatively, somehow it’s your fault.  It can also keep people from letting their dog run up to yours. Yelling ahead “It’s fine, he/she just wants to play!!!” Well, maybe mine doesn’t?! 

      Mimzy: I agree with you about the slip leads. Lots of people consider them cruel, but I think it’s safe to use them if you know how to do it properly. We have two for Otis. The first one we bought is very thick and round, so it doesn’t cut into his neck. It does have a stopper on it that’s supposed to keep it in place right behind the ears. Unfortunately he pulls so hard that it just won’t stay put and slides further down his neck. We recently bought a different one, it’s thinner and flat. I put it around his neck and snout in a figure eight, which keeps it perfectly positioned. When he pulls it does put pressure on his nose. He’s catching on very quickly (staying next to me without a lot of pulling), and it’s much easier to walk him now.

      Azerane: I’ve never seen those before, that’s a cool idea!

      jersey: Naughty Hunter! I bet you didn’t know whether to be mad at him or praise him. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Mimzy. I agree, harnesses are built for pulling but these are anti-pull harnesses, not Julius K9 type ones.
      The anti-pull means the harder he pulls, the more the resistance. So they pull less.
      The trick is to then teach them to walk to heel, to praise for not pulling and then get rid of the training tool.

      I’ve seen the walker’s hi viz jackets and leads with the animals state of mind on.
      They’re good.
      And yeah, a muzzle will prob be enough for everyone to give us a wide berth
      Having said that, greyhounds are quite often seen with muzzles on but because they seem quite calm on the lead I didn’t take a wide birth with my old dog.
      I guess its for their prey drive, rabbits and mini dogs…. lol


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Just a little update. I can’t believe it’s been 2 months already since last post. WHERE did March go?

      About 3 weeks ago, a Monday night, Baloo wasn’t being particularly different but I “cracked” on a walk when all was going kinda OK and then we met a dog that he went berserk at. It was the last straw, I came home wrote to the rescue to find him a new home, in the country, room to move and no neighbours when he barked !

      So this was the 3rd RED CARD (soccer!) that Baloo had got from me in the past 6 months.

      After each evening of these ‘red card’ moments (ie being returned to the rescue!), evenings of tears and frustration and tears and knowing I’ve ‘failed’ him, he totally feeds off this energy and is near perfect for the next 72 hrs, the little s*h*t !! (lol)

      So, of course he’s still here !!!!!

      I’ve found another ‘positive’ behaviourist (having passed by another one who was only 50% positve (!?!) and with Baloo’s behaviour “would certainly have NOT been given positive education with his rehabilitation” ) who we have seen once just last week and I have found private land where we can go, off lead and train, without other strange dogs around.

      Behaviourist has said that Baloo is stressed to almost max (whining and hiding when bunnies move and barking at buns and turning and pacing) and that he should not be walked where we were walking as he is just too stressed to cope with all this new stuff (he was kept in the owner’s house and garden for pretty much his 7yr life).

      So no street walking, not yet. Hence the private land I have now access to.
      And certainly NO ecollar, which in his state would make him even more neurotic about the behaviour he should have.

      Also, he is so obsessed by his ball (think border collie), that it is an unhealthly obsession and he is no longer allowed his ball.

      He is also now taking Prozac…. (lol)
      The prozac molécules will hopefully ‘dull’ the neurones which send the panic into his head when he sees things he’s not comfortable with.

      He spends time with my friends’ two ENORMOUS Bouvier beotches. They are so totally non-reactive, that they don’t pay any notice to his incessant and uncecessary barking and they are big enough not to be intimitaded by him.

      So it’s a perfect situation which gives me a little ray of hope !!
      I’m so happy to see him seemingly comfortable in the presence of other dogs.
      A first in his 7 year life !!
      When my friends see him on their land, they are gobsmacked that I could even think about returning him to the rescue.

      I could never of course, I don’t think, give him up, not knowing where he would end up and quite sure that the person who took him wouldn’t be working quite so hard as I to get him sorted out. So unless I find the perfect person, he’s staying here.

      A part of me is so sad I’ve not got a sociable dog and prob won’t ever be able to take him to the beach or for forest walks or any walks actually, but the other part of me says accept him for who he is, spend these next few years with him, and then get a perfect (!! hah !!) dog to do all that stuff with later in life.

      I plan to work him 3 times a week outdoors, building our bond and making him understand he doesn’t have to be responsible for everything in life and stress about it.

      We are SO hooked on “click and treating” now. I realise my voice was too inconsistant for marking a good behaviour.

      And simply to let him run free on the land, without a lead (or his muzzle !!) and just be the dog he was born to be !!!

      (You wait I’ll be posting in a few months with a different version no doubt… but for now, with the long, light evenings, things are looking better than 3 weeks ago).


    • Hazel
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      I thought I would post a little update! Made lots of progress with Otis and his leash manners.

      Loose leash walking/heeling like a pro:

      Auto sit when I stop:

      He’s still pretty jumpy when we’re out walking, but he’s getting much better. He acts unimpressed when we run into other dogs, a leaf blowing in the wind might make him jump out of his skin, though. 

      Vienna: How are things going with Baloo? Would love to hear how he’s moving along! 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Hi Hazel, a little birdie told me you bumped this post so I thought I would get back to you.

      So many things have happened since April when I found the (then) new trainer. Although she is a positive trainer and exceedingly nice, I found after an immediate slight improvement in Baloo’s behaviour (reactions to rabbits and barking in garden) we had plateaued on acheiving any more improvement. In these very hard situations, all you need is hope from a professional and somehow you keep going forward.

      As Baloo was obsessed by the ball we started using this for only work purposes, he was not allowed a ball to just play with.
      But whenever we were out and he had got excited for one reason or another it was very hard to bring him down to a normal level.

      Fast forward two months ago and it was suggested by my current trainer to get in contact with someone she knew who specialises in reactive dogs.

      Fast forward to 3 weeks ago and I dropped him off for a two week residential stay at this lady’s house who has found a way to start Baloo on his next journey which hopefully will be a calm and contented one, for him and for me.

      Initially believing that he was simply undersocialised with all dogs, she introduced him to very calm non-reactive male dogs and although he at first tried to assert his dominance on them by mointing, they didn’t react and within one minute of the first meeting they were comfortable in each other’s presence. By the end of the third day he was happy in a small field with five or six other male dogs around him.

      This ability to have full-on contact with other dogs has helped him in the next stage of his rehabilitation which has been identified as being stimulated outside of the house. He would bark at anything out of his control : leaves on the ground; leaves on the trees; a bird flying overhead; somebody walking; a mopeds going past; anything at all. The more he barked, the more he barked !!

      So this is what the trainer has been concentrating on, and this is what seems is at the base of Baloo’s reactivity.

      It seems that he is very reactive to any voices and commands targeted to him (for the first seven years of his life he had conditioned himself and his family to answer to his every whim and request, making him a very frustrated dog when the human didn’t do what he wanted (ie. me!)) so the new training which seems to be exceedingly effective for him is just clicker training, absolutely no talking. Just hand gestures if required.

      She recorded her lessons and posted on the net each evening, so i could see his journey, his improvement, and what i should be doing too.

      The first week she had him she was very patient and waited for exactly the right time to use the clicker and treat (4mins 30secs of attention seeking, energetic, in-your-face barking) and as Baloo like any other dog, is very intelligent, he soon picked up on keeping quiet and I have had him for four days now and he is teaching me how and when to click (and treat of course!!) LOL. My treat pouch with chopped-up frankfurters is an absolute tool in this success.

      In time we will both learn to ease off on the treats and clicks but for now we seem to be moving in the right direction. For him to even see a dog in the street 50 yards from where we are and not react other than returning to me for his treat, is simply a life saving miracle in my eyes.

      All this has been achieved by a calm, quiet, completely positive method by someone who seems to be a dog whisperer rather than a simple behaviourist.

      I’ve had him back only 4 days and this is not a quick fix, nor is he the perfect pooch (yet) but i have been given hope and the right tools to move forward. She made it clear that HE has the capacity to get over this frustration, it is now up to ME to click and treat (initially) ACCURATELY to continue this work.

      No pressure, then.

      So glad that your work with Otis seems to be going in the right direction too! It makes such a difference to OUR own enjoyment of having a dog, doesn’t it?!
      Clicker training can work with jumpy dogs too, treats when something scary happens will make him less scared of scary things, as he will start to look at you for treats !!!


    • Hazel
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      Oh wow, I’m impressed! Sounds like you’ve found an mazing trainer that really understands Baloo.  So happy to hear he’s making a lot of progress, he’ll be cool as a cucumber in no time. How does he do with recall? Otis doesn’t really have any.  The other day he slipped out the door and ran down the street at full speed. Naturally he chose to go right for the highway. We managed to get him turned around and he ended up back in our backyard, where we had him trapped. It still took me 30 minutes to catch him, needless to say he was having a blast. Scared the hell out of me though, he could have easily gotten run over. Now that he’s good with walking on a leash, it’s time to tackle the next big thing, recall. 

      I love clicker training too! The only problem is, when he’s outside he’s too distracted to eat. However, the other day he actually took the treat from me instead of ignoring it. He did spit it out, but I guess it’s still progress. 


    • Vienna Blue in France
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      Finally a morning where BB doesn’t show me a yellow error page

      Hi! Since last post we have had our ups and downs. Mainly due to me doing wrong things. LOL. Two weeks ago I filmed myself doing some training and sent it to the trainer and she gave me feedback which was mostly – why are you doing that? What did I teach you? You’re going to have to start from zero again…
      So its ups and downs and some days are good and some days are bad. What we are concentrating on at the moment is in a dog free area (carparks late-night, private land) is the command “Leave”. This will then allow me to ask Baloo to leave when we see another dog. This is also accompanied by a pull on the lead so he gets used to that frustrating feeling of not being able to go forward. When he turns on his own he gets a click/treat. If he doesnt turn by himself, he gets pulled away with no click/treat.
      The ball has been completely removed from any training or games.

      Positives. Always focus on positives. He does not bark AT me demanding my attention. That is very clear. As soon as he does, he either gets ignored or isolated for 10 secs. It hasn’t happened for a while. And this was a big problem. And so easy to fix. Wow.

      Also when I’m home in uk and in a national park where i (and he) can see everything around us for a certain distance, this is great. Generally other (off lead) dogs dont come bounding up to us as there is so much other stuff to smell and do, so we can actually have “a normal walk”. –
      A rare but beautiful occurrence…. i am green with envy when i see other people with balanced dogs.

      If a dog does happen to come to us, one thing is clear, Baloo’s lead MUST BE SLACK. Its only happened three times, and my heart has jumped out of my chest, but its gone ok. If the lead is taught, Baloo feels it and starts frustration barking so that the whole meeting is scuppered.
      Street walking is still too hard from him.

      Recall training is – hmmmmmmm – good when there are NO distractions !!! LOL
      He is still on a 10m lead in public areas.

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