Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Friend in Need

Aunt Andi needs some help folks. You all met Maverick here months ago. Aunt Andi and Mavvy used to be part of our morning ladies/dog mama's walking club. Marverick is the sweetest, most laid back fellow, and Aunt Andi is a first time dog owner. She's doing a great job with Mavvy. Maverick was found as a wandering stray with both heart worms and all his boy parts intact several years ago. So Aunt Andi took got rid of both and has given Mavvy a very happy home. I think he's around 5 years old. And nothing rattles Mavvy, except. . . male dogs that are still intact. With the exception of Mikey, either because he has known Mikey since he was a baby, or because Mikey has the ability to get along with everyone.

In any case, I'm not terribly surprised that a dog with an unknown history, that spent the first few years of his life intact, gets a little bent out of shape about other intact males. He barks like crazy and pulls on the leash, and even if she picks him up, he tries to wiggle out of her arms and continues barking. Going back to that 'Better Than OTCH' idea, the most important part of dog training is having a great companion. And Maverick's reaction to intact males is frustrating the he!! out of Aunt Andi. We've got a loose Rottie 'living' in our apartment complex, being fed by a couple of people, but no one is taking him in, and only one person here can touch him. His story is a whole 'nother post, but the point is, he's intact and he goes with that person when she walks her dog, meaning all of us around here run into him regularly. Since he's not on leash, he's gotten a little too close for Aunt Andi's comfort several times, attracted by Maverick's behavior.

Long intro, but the point is, I'm soliciting suggestions. Maverick understands no, and knows sit and, I think, down. My advice to Aunt Andi was to move over on the bayou as much as she can to let these dogs pass by, while saying 'No' to the naughty behavior and then immediately giving him something else to focus on such as asking for a sit or down. This would work best if there were treats handy to reward good behavior. Something I forgot to mention Aunt Andi, is turning Maverick so that he can't as easily directly look at the Rottie; don't turn his back to the dog, since that would probably make him feel vulnerable, but partially turn him away and then distract him with the sit.

So, blogospherians, please offer any suggestions you have in the comments section. Needless to say, positive reinforcement suggestions are expected. And remember that Mavvy has no formal obedience training, Aunt Andi is a first time dog owner, and Maverick is other wise very well behaved and very friendly to all other dogs.

In other news, I've decided to try and squeeze it all into Saturday. We're going over to my parents house to do some agility around 9 (Holly and Mikey are very upset that I haven't made a move towards going out to the bayou; be patient guys, we have better plans for this morning), and when we get home I'm going to knock the stink off and then we're going to Pet-Fest in Old Town Spring for a couple of hours, and then I'm going to dinner with my mom and dad. At least that's the plan.

Also, I have decided to start another blog for my rheumatoid arthritis. No reason to be a downer on this blog, but I need some place to vent. So if you've been coming to this blog based on the ra listed in my profile, you'll soon have some place to go. I'm going to try to get around to starting it this weekend.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.


C-Myste said...

As a matter of fact, there is a really good article in the AKC Gazette that just came about retraining a dog with dog-aggression. Do you get the Gazette, or can you get a copy? If not maybe I can scan it and send it to you.

Cardimom said...

Is the Gazette the one that come electronically? I get something? every month in my e-mail, but have never really checked to see what it is called. I actually got a chance to see how Maverick is doing with 'No' on Sunday morning. I think this may be all he needs. He is so laid back that a verbal correction may be enough. But, a scan of the article would be great. I'll send an e-mail later today so you will have my e-address, if that is ok?

C-Myste said...

The Gazette is the actual magazine that comes in the mail. The electronic one is "Your AKC" or something.

You know my email, right? I can scan it when I get home from work, probably about 6 PDT. Unless Alice goes into labor earlier, that is . . .

Cardimom said...

Thanks a bunch. I sent you an e-mail with my home address.

Katrin said...

I'm a fan of eye contact, replacment behaviors (sit, down) and distraction. For some dogs I will recommend a Gentle Leader head halter, but only if properly fitted and used, so if she wants to go that route she needs to find a trainer who is experienced with them.

I would highly recommend she gets the dog into a 'reactive rover' type class in your area if there is such a thing. That way both she and the dog can learn skills to help solve the problem, positively! There is a good book out there written by Emma Parsons, called Click to Calm, that I know many people with reactive dogs have really liked.

Good luck!