Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Share your experience and tell us how using positive reinforcement training methods has changed yours and your dogs' lives.

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
Ari_RR
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:07 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by Ari_RR » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:51 am

Just to put this success story in the right perspective, as for many this can hardly constitute success.. :D

Ari is an unneutered Rhodesian Ridgeback. He is 16 months old now. Personality-wise, he's been a confident, if not overconfident, bully-type, generally bad mannered adolescent.. Physically - big, strong, 90 lbs of muscle, with intimidating growl and bark. When meeting other dogs, his favorite game was to annoy the other dog into loosing it's temper and angrily chasing him, so he can use his speed to escape only to come back a moment later and continue.

This was cute and funny up until about 6-7 months.. After that his manners got progressively worse, while his puppy licence expired and bigger dogs were no longer tolerating his behavior, while smaller dogs were getting intimidated or scared of him. In addition, we was more and more frequently getting into staring or growling contests with other unneutered males, which was at times just too close to a fight, and required constant human intervention.

As a result, in order to protect him from overreactive, non-tolerant, dog-aggressive dogs, and to protect timid, insecure, fearful dogs from him, we essentially stopped going to dog parks. We also stopped off leash running in nature parks - risks of him meeting unfamiliar dogs off leash were too high, we'd rather be too careful and err on the side of safety. He has been kept on a 30 ft leash when we went to the nature park.

But we tried focusing on impulse control and manners when meeting other dogs during last several months, and here are our "success stories"

Over the last several weeks, Ari has shown remarkable improvement in the way me meets and greets other dogs in the nature park. Instead of "mouth on back" or "paw on back", it is mostly polite sniffing, sometimes play bow, but most importantly - leaving the other dog alone and moving on when told. So, success story # 1 is that this morning Ari's off leash privileges were restored, and he had a terrific time running through the woods with a border collie friend, chasing each other, enjoying each other's company with no bullying or bad manners.

But there is more. After having such a good time in the morning, we ventured to our dog playground for some more socialization in the afternoon. At the playground, besides Ari, there were two 7-8 months old puppy boys, a boxer and another Ridgeback, and a slightly older boxer-mix girl, all together in one section of the playground. Ari clearly wanted to spend time chasing the girl, and she wanted to chase him back. But the 2 younger puppies just wouldn't leave Ari alone! They were all over him, jumping on him, playfully biting him, and completely distracting him from the girl, constantly getting in his way. Clearly annoyed by the 2 hyperactive pups, he tied to get away from them, and when that didn't work - he tried growling at them, and when that didn't work he tried barking.. That worked, they backed off, but went right back at him just a moment later. At that point he decided that enough is enough, and just ran away and settled in the far corner, sniffing, happy and relieved, even though he did not get a chance to play with the girl. Success story # 2 is him being able to act responsibly with annoying puppies.. He was saying "leave me alone... Leave me alone!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!", and when they didn't - he did not loose his composure, did not get aggressive in any way, just ran away. This looked like the sign of the right kind of confidence to me. (as opposed to "confidently" putting his paw on the back of humongous Bernese Mountain Dog just a couple of weeks ago)

This was so human-like.. A teenage boy wanted so much to meet a teenage girl, but 2 younger kids kept getting in the way. :lol:

JudyN
Posts: 7017
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by JudyN » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:14 am

That's fantastic - you must be so proud of him :D
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Suzette
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by Suzette » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:16 am

Wow, that's fantastic! I can hear your pride and sense of accomplishment in every word! :D :D :D
My avatar is Piper, my sweet Pembroke Corgi. b. 5/11/11

Ari_RR
Posts: 2037
Joined: Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:07 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by Ari_RR » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:20 pm

Very proud, yes..

But I also think that at almost 17 months old, he is starting to grow out of his teenage behavior, becoming less interested in challenging other dogs just for the hell of it, more selective in which dogs he wants to interact with, etc.

So, maybe it's not so much that we accomplished a lot (although we worked really hard), but simply survived a stage ?

Either way, things seem to be getting better, and I am very happy about this :D

Suzette
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:45 am

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by Suzette » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:18 pm

Well, you may be somewhat correct, but folks who don't do the right things by their dogs during those phases can end up with dogs who morph those behaviors into undesirable characteristics on a more permanent basis. So I still give you both tons of kudos! :D
My avatar is Piper, my sweet Pembroke Corgi. b. 5/11/11

User avatar
Nettle
Posts: 10753
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:40 pm

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by Nettle » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:18 pm

What a terrific result :D well done both of you.

Yes he did grow up - and is still growing up - but you did the work. You also kept him entire so he could grow up, and I know how much pressure people are put under to neuter too early. What a lovely example of the wisdom of waiting.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

MPbandmom
Posts: 1637
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:18 pm

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by MPbandmom » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:03 pm

Horray for Ari and having such dedicated owners!
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

CoolDog
Posts: 278
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Ari goes back off leash and to a dog park

Post by CoolDog » Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:46 pm

Way to go! :D
Image

Post Reply