A Little Hair…

Oreo has done so well in the trainings the last few weeks, it was actually boring for her. However,we had her walk around the lake following another dog, and she definitely needs work on that. The whole time she is pulling,crying, wanting to get to the dog. She is play bowing, so I believe it is because she wants to play, but one can never be sure. That is her pattern…so excited to see dogs,then when she does get up close, she changes her mind and becomes afraid and wants to snap at them!

We had our first private lesson to try to rehabilitate Oreo to relax around other dogs. The ultimate goal is for her to do just that…be able to relax with other dogs around and perhaps one day play with them (she is torn about this,wants to play, but is scared). The lesson didn’t go anything like the trainer or I expected, unfortunately it was much worse. We started by discussing what we were going to do, then the trainer brought her dog in (also trianing her dog at the same time). She sat on the other side of the room and I entered with Oreo and did our focus/door work activities. Then I sat in a chair and rewarded her for looking at the other dog calmly. The goal was to have her sit on her own or lay down and just relax and be like, “Who cares that there is another dog over there”.

However, this was not the case. She barked, play bowed, lunged and cried the entire time. We tried re-entering the door and she did better the second time. We followed each other in a circle but Oreo did so much lip licking to calm herself down, she was extremely uncomfortable. I should have known better, but we continued and did some calming curves, but instead of calling Oreo back to me, we let her just stop and check out the other dog. She was nervous, but did a good job being so close to the other dog. The trainer suggested having her sniff the other dogs butt, to teach good manners when approaching other dogs.

She turned her dog around, Oreo went to sniff, and the trainers dogs’ head turned…so we retreated. We went back and tried again. This time Oreo looked at me for a long time, and didn’t seem interested at all, or nervous. All of a sudden she went to bite the dog in the butt! She got a mouthful of hair, and that’s it–luckily no skin was touched and no pain.

Next class we are working in the pole barn, a much bigger area with longer leads. Hopefully the space will allow her to calm down. It was hard for her for many reasons. She is fine with all the dogs in class, but has never met this dog before. Also this dog was a BIG, HAIRY, BLACK dog! The trainer also pointed it out, but we can’t work with another dog that is also in training until she can calm down. We don’t want reactive dog training with another reactive dog. She does have an idea for a brown dog as a playmate one day. The training makes me extremely nervous, but we will take it slower, and I have to trust my instincts on what is okay for Oreo and what’s not. She doesn’t seemed stressed by the incident at all, so that is good. Well, that’s all for now!


2 thoughts on “A Little Hair…

  1. You mentioned some very positive things that Oreo did and It sounds like she is making progress. It’s unfortunate that the trainer’s dog turned its head. You are quite right – you don’t want reactive dog training with another reactive dog. I’m pleased to hear that Oreo was not stressed by the incident.

  2. Aw. Oreo is doing well! I agree – a bigger space, or more distance is key. I think It’s better to err on the side of too much space than not enough space. The bigger the other dog, the furrier it is, the more distance we need!

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