I haven’t posted on this blog in way too long. The short answer is that I have been too busy and I haven’t had anything interesting enough to spend hours writing about when it is much easier to share photos and simple one or two line Boogie updates on instagram, twitter, facebook…
Reading this article today by one of my favorite dog training bloggers made me look back in time, and look at my life with Boogie today.
You won’t know what your dog can achieve until you try. Listen to him, stay within his limits, and do not put him in situations where he struggles. Learn to read him, and work closely with a professional. Put his best interests first. Stop making excuses. If you find yourself apologizing for poor behavior using your dog’s story as an excuse, stop! Look to the dog you have in front of you right now. Read the page in front of you at this moment, not ancient history that happened weeks, months, or years ago.
I am almost tempted to title this blog post “My dog is no longer dog-reactive” but this is not entirely true.
The truth is that:
Boogie no longer reacts to dogs at a closer proximity on the street. I don’t know when I noticed the change… it has been months? Years? I really don’t know. This ‘new Boogie’ became more obvious to me recently when I noticed that OTHER dogs were reacting to Boogie and Boogie was not reacting back. I mean other dogs barking, lunging, snapping, pulling at the leash towards Boogie. And Boogie looks at them, looks at me, and moves away. It’s like a miracle. If somebody was yelling at me to F- OFF!!! on the street, it would be very hard for me to be as calm as Boogie. (I still don’t let other dogs greet him, and I only very occasionally let strange people pet him… depending on how Boogie is feeling).
What seems to happen these days:
Boogie sees a dog, turns away, continues walking. OR he sees a dog (usually bigger shepherdy type of dog), stops, looks at me ; OR he sees a dog stops, looks for a bit longer, turns around and walks the opposite direction/sniffs the ground; OR he doesn’t even appear to see the dog at all because he is focused on his destination and more interested in scavenging and foraging. The point is that he is no longer showing the signs of distress that he used to. If he shows signs of being triggered, it is less intense. He turns around to look at me, and then he bounces back. We move along.
I still bring treats on walks and I still give Boogie treats – though less frequently now, depending on his body language -when we see a strange dog/person approaching, or when we walk through triggering locations (- is there a term for this? I mean specific sections of streets where Boogie has had a history of negative associations and is more likely to freeze when he sees a person/dog… I think if he saw the same person/dog on a different street he would not care. Some triggers are definitely tied to place). If Boogie’s body language is relaxed, I let him stop and look at triggers to engage and disengage on his own and I let him choose where he wants to go.
Boogie is also 80% deaf now. He doesn’t hear many sounds except very loud or high pitched ones; he doesn’t hear other dogs barking at him, or strangers walking next to/behind us so I think he is generally less triggered by stuff. He is using his nose more. He has become obsessed with foraging. The down side is that he eats a lot of crap off the side walks and I haven’t properly taught a “leave it” or “drop it” 😦 Of course, he also doesn’t hear me call his name anymore, so I gotta do something about that.
Entry filed under: Training.