For Em, Mattie, Nettle, Ocelot mainly!

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Horace's Mum
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For Em, Mattie, Nettle, Ocelot mainly!

Post by Horace's Mum » Thu Jul 16, 2009 7:17 am

Reading through my old posts and trying to write how I work with my boy recently has made me think over where we are now. I thought you might be interested in an update, but I apologise in advance for it being a long post! So much has changed and I am almost starting to feel like a normal dog owner!!

You may remember the issues we had - mouthing, biting, aggression when people moved, breathed, stroked him, startled him, difficulties with other dogs, cats, longlines, food aggression etc etc etc!!

Well. Horus now spends most of his walks off lead. To do this, I have to trust that he will stay in sight, come back when called, and definitely not run off! I don't let him off where he can get to main roads too easily, but he is off when we are out in the country and he is hardly contained at all, because I know he will come back. And if he puts his terrier head on and starts to object then all I have to do is hide slightly and he comes tearing back!! It makes a huge difference to him being able to run and run, and it is really lovely for me to walk like normal people without a great longline all the time! In places I am not so sure of (usually if we might meet people suddenly) then he drags a 15ft line, purely so I can get his attention if he is ahead of me. I even let him off on the beach the other week, where potentially he could have gone anywhere at all!

He is getting much better with other dogs. We can generally walk past them fairly happily if they are close, he ignores them if they are more than a few feet away. He will work at agility now with dogs running around him without being distracted. This has improved to the point that he is safe and able to compete at the big shows, with thousands of dogs around. I still watch him carefully and give him space if he is on lead, the only time we might have problems is if the other dog is on lead and the owner pulls the back or they are straining towards him - he reads this as aaggressive. But even this is improving as his ability to read their other language improves. He will stand his ground, but he will also accept a telling off, and he is showing much more appropriate body language himself now.

People can still be a challenge, but mainly it depends on the circumstances. He loves meeting new people, but I tend to stay in control and give him permission and then call him away. He is happy for strangers to stay in our house as long as they follow the rules (don't touch the top of his head, don't sneak up behind him, and offer your hands when he comes up to you for a sniff). He also copes brilliantly with going away - we went to my parents for Christmas, 4 people in the house, and he was so chilled he helped my brother unwrap his presents and then fell asleep on the wrapping paper. It was amazing. There is always the odd person he is wary of, but if I spot that then I just call him away and tell him to stay away and he leaves them alone. He ignores all strangers until I give him permission to meet them, even when he is off lead.

He is even getting better with cats - he used to go absolutely mad, and I would have to literally drag him backwards down the road away from them. Now he will spot them, I shorten the lead and he keeps walking (instead of collie crouching) and then as soon as we are past he will turn for his lead or treat.

One of the problems I used to try to correct was carrying his lead. Now I have turned this into one of our most powerful tools by encouraging him to tug in certain circumstances. He loves it so much, it is one of the 2 things (the other being food) that will distract him from things that worry him, eg dogs, people, cats. It makes him happy to tug, it makes him relax. So I taught him to tug more or less on command. And stop on command. Then I told him to tug when dogs were around. We had lots of practice at this at agility training! Then it got to the point a couple of months back that I noticed he was spotting a dog or something, starting to tense, and then relaxing and turning to take his lead, and tugging his way past the stressor. Then he would stop and carry on as normal. That was a very good day, and now he has almost started doing that with cats which is incredible. This also means that I can use less treats when we are out and about - as long as I have a lead then i can reward him.

In the house he is a cuddle monster. He really is so soft, but it took a long time to really find this and I think there is still more to come. He loves to be picked up and cradled like a baby - not something I ever thought I would do! He very rarely shows any food aggression - I never actually worked with him on this, I just ignored him or swapped if I had to get something off him, but it just seemed to sort itself. I can even walk into the kitchen and stroke him while he has his feet up trying to steal stuff, he will get down when asked, by anyone. He will just take himself off to his crate if he has a bone and you go too close, which is fine. He doesn't even bother growling any more, he just moves himself, because he knows that I will listen and not follow him. If he does growl, bark or snarl at anything, then I can spot what i upsetting him and move him away or tell him its ok, and he seems to be accepting that I do listen to his whispers and therefore he doesn't need to "shout" any more. Much less painful for me that way too!!

In agility he has turned out to be a bit of a star! Not the fastest, but very elegant when we go well. He runs almost entirely off my shoulders, and works at a fair distance too, even ahead at times. He only gets it wrong if my signals aren't right. He doesn't fall for traps, knock poles, or miss contacts as long as I communicate properly. All of the above improvements have meant that it was possible for me to take him to shows this summer and actually compete - terrifying because I had to let him offlead with so many distractions and I was petrified he would run off, someone would approach him and he would panic and bite, and that would be the end. Not a chance. He ran off out the ring once. He ran around the ring a couple of times. Then he stayed in the ring and started to even do what I asked! In only 5 shows he went from running out to going clear, and at our last show he was placed 15th, 11th, 9th and 6th - out of about 40-50 dogs. And he was camping and enjoying it, and mpst of all walking around the very busy showground totally relaxed! At the last show he even fell asleep next to me sitting on the grass ringside - he wouldn't even do that at training until a few weeks beforehand.

He passed his silver KC good citizen test 2 weeks ago, 3 days after coming out of kennels for 16 days - the longest I have left him. We have our first heelwork to music competition in September. And he saw a chiropractor last night for the first time, wasn't bothered at all, tail wagged except when it hurt, and then he just turned and licked her hand. Wow.

Its not all easy. I only really relax when we are at home, I'm always alert when we are out to keep him safe. He will still get spooked especially if there is poor lighting or someone moves strangely, but overall i think we are getting there. It has been one heck of a journey, he has truly taken me to hell and back, my family, friends and I have scars to prove it, but he has taught me so much about dogs and myself, and I can now start to use that to help others. And above all he is very definitely My Boy now. He will stay with others and walk with others, but I am his centre and if I am around then he is always watching me in case I dare to sneak off without him. :D

emmabeth
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Post by emmabeth » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:01 am

You have worked wonders with Horus, you really have :)

Im going to get round to making an archive of useful links to threads and this has got to be in it, for all the doubters who think that positive reward and management, creating a bond of trust and respect is not sufficient for 'tough' cases. Had anyone tried to punish or correct him he just wouldnt be alive today!

Well done to you both!

katowaggytail
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Post by katowaggytail » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:04 pm

I don't post much now a days, as things are pretty much there... except for other numbskull owners, but that's another story you probably know anyway!!! But well done to you and to Horus - truely inspiring stuff.

Fi and Kato. :mrgreen:

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Horace's Mum
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Post by Horace's Mum » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:15 pm

Thanks guys! Sorry for not putting you in the title Kato :oops:

You are right Em, on the odd occasion when I have been human and shouted instead of just turning the situation around, Horus would just keep coming and coming at me (and I openly admit to those times when I have shouted and lost my temper, not many, but I had to learn too! It didn't take long :lol:). The only way I could deal with it was by never showing him any aggression. Not easy at times, but no-one has ever hit him since he has been in my care, and people get a severe telling off from me if they shout at him! Just the body language of shouting is enough to set him off if he is in that frame of mind.

I would feel very privileged to have my post linked in the archive, if it just helps one person realise there are better ways then I would be happy.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:39 pm

You have come a long way in a very short time, you have completely turned your life round for Horus and Horus has been a very good teacher :lol:

I am very proud to know you. :D
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

katowaggytail
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Post by katowaggytail » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:41 pm

Oh don't worry, not been on here for ages...... I won't tell Kato that you missed him off the list, sob sob, sniff sniff!!!!!! :lol:

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Horace's Mum
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Post by Horace's Mum » Thu Jul 16, 2009 2:51 pm

Thank you Mattie, that is really lovely. :oops: :D

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:15 am

That is so good to hear :D well done both of you. MASSIVE bunch of flowers.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

wvvdiup1
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Post by wvvdiup1 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:02 am

To katowaggytail:

It isn't appropriate to call others who are trying to help "numbskull owners." Please refrain from calling others names because we are an internet community where any name-calling is offensive, even if it means something "affectionate" in your culture, it means something else in other cultures.

Our goal is to help others from our knowledge and experiences on this forum, not start "dog fights!"

wvvdiup1

katowaggytail
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Post by katowaggytail » Fri Jul 17, 2009 3:14 am

Ok... it wasn't meant as an insult to any one on this board or forum.

My comment has been mis interpruted.

We are trying to sort out behavioural problems in our pets and what I meant was other "owners", out side of this forum... coming towards you when you have you dog on a lead and under control, due to whatever reason and they don't have theirs under control or say my dog is ok or my dog only wants to say hello.....Well mine and others with a few issues can't handle that, and I'm trying to do the "right" thing.

Horus and others have done extremely well inspite of these other owners.

Hope that clears things up.

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Nettle
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Post by Nettle » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:34 am

I read it how you meant it, kato :D I obviously meet more of them when I'm out and about!

Nice to see you again.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

katowaggytail
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Post by katowaggytail » Fri Jul 17, 2009 7:40 am

Thank you! Didn't want it to spoil a lovely post... I still look in most days, but things are much better now and we "know" each other much more now, so I don't have to ask advice so often.....He's still a nightmare to walk but think he always will!!! :roll:

Fi x

wvvdiup1
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Post by wvvdiup1 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:14 pm

I know what you mean! Everytime I walk my dogs around town or a public state park, I run into them, especially those with small children. I have two large dogs who are easily excited when I take them for their walks, so when the children see the "doggies," they want to run right up to my dogs. :roll:

Well, this in turn gets their dogs excited and the next thing I know, I'm trying to pull back my two, powerful dogs, which isn't easy at all. Since I've had what is considered "open heart" surgery, I have been avoiding areas like these until I'm stronger and healed. That is why I walk my two dogs in remote areas because there is no way I will not be able to handle my dogs in situations I've described earlier.

wvvdiup1

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:46 am

wvvdiup1 wrote:To katowaggytail:

It isn't appropriate to call others who are trying to help "numbskull owners." Please refrain from calling others names because we are an internet community where any name-calling is offensive, even if it means something "affectionate" in your culture, it means something else in other cultures.

Our goal is to help others from our knowledge and experiences on this forum, not start "dog fights!"

wvvdiup1
I also took numbskill owners as it was meant but how do people from other countries know what is abusive or not? Both in the UK and USA we speak "English", but the amount of words that have different meanings is incredible. :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

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