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Two hundred dogs going south; one bad-tempered terrier heading north

(6 Posts)
CalatalieSisters Sun 09-Oct-11 22:17:19

I nearly crumbled today when I realised I was walking my rather dog-aggressive parson russell terrier on the same route as a mass sponsored dog walk, but going in the opposite direction, so that we were passing a steady stream of dogs. Would have been a nightmare, but luckily I had The Squeaky Ball of Divine Joy with me, and judicious application of it meant that he passed every single dog with his eyes on the ball and without a single grumble. It helped that all of the sponsored dogs were as friendly as pie.

Could have been a disaster but in the event it was like every dog walker in town had showed up to help me with a training session.

It brought home to me just how much you can achieve with a nice positive training aid that your dog adores.

DogsBeastFiend Sun 09-Oct-11 22:49:45

Brilliant stuff and well done you!

I swear by the "distract and watch me" technique, it worked a treat on my younger GSD who would pull like a loon to get to play with other dogs, not all of whom would appreciate his efforts of course, and who taught my elder foster GSD to do the same. Elder GSD thought that there was need to make a fuss when other dogs approached to protect us all and got quite shirty at one point but the watch me, look at this treat/ball thing is paying off nicely.

CalatalieSisters Sun 09-Oct-11 23:16:19

That's really good. I don't think I'll ever get to the point where I can be completely relaxed about passing other dogs with mine, but at least with a nice rewarding distraction I can avoid negative encounters that make the situation worse.

The frustrating thing is that I'm fairly confident he could interact well off the lead with about 50%-60% percent of dogs, but I feel can't take the risk of a snappy encounter (except in rare cases where I've talked it through with the other owner), so he loses lots of opportunities for positive off-lead interactions. I can't think if a way round that.

DogsBeastFiend Sun 09-Oct-11 23:29:29

Training classes! One, they will help the process and give you confidence and good advice in a supervised environment and two they will know which dogs can act as stooges and be guinea pigs for encounters.

My local rescue does this too - a new dog will be introduced under strict supervision to one or 2 of Boss-man's bombproof own stooge dogs and will quickly gain confidence and realise that there's generally nothing to fear in meeting another dog.

Might be worth asking a local, small independent rescue if they have time and a suitable dog or two to do the same with or if they have any links with appropriate classes or someone to help.

chickchickchicken Mon 10-Oct-11 08:13:24

grin love the thread title. 200 mere ordinary dogs v 1 jrt.

wonderful training exercise though smile

CalatalieSisters Mon 10-Oct-11 12:30:28

I think he is torn between thinking he could take them all on with one paw tied between his back, and thinking that even a chihuahua has a secret adgenda to tear out his throat when he least expects it. Bullish confidence masking secret nerves.

DogsBestFriend, yes, I should make a new effort to find the right kind of training classes. I went to a lot when he was young, and did quite a lot of passing other dogs on the lead, but what would be completely great, as you say, would be some sort of very small class where he could meet a few calm confident dogs and have supervised off-lead interaction.

He is actually very clued up socially with other dogs, in a way, in that he easily recognises that sort of calm confidence that some dogs give off, and relaxes completely -- and also in that he never ever wants to fully fight: all he wants to do is go through a brief skirmish in which he jumps up and nips the back of the other dog's neck. Once that is done he is very very content to ignore the other dog, so it seems like a moderately socially competant act of communication, rather than full aggression (though obviously not one that I can allow to happen, given the possibility of another dog being frightened or hurt -- or teaching him a bloody lesson!)

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