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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's the simple things

It had been a long couple of days.  A friend of ours had died at the beginning of the year and we helped with the cleaning out of the house.  It left me depleted and empty as his death was now more final.  I found myself angry with my life and life in general.  I was almost shaking I was so angry and disappointed.  I started talking to God and voiced my feelings, in a list, of what was bothering me the most.  I didn't get very far when Brut sat in front of me and stared into my eyes with a look that said, but you have me and you have the only Brut there is. 

And he was right.  I had the only Bruter on the planet right at my feet.  My awesome heart dog who understood my feelings when no one else did.

All he was asking in return was a little quality time together and preferably with treats. 

Simple tricks, touch, give me five, eye contact for saying his name.  Nothing fancy or rowdy fun, just simple time together.  We did them several times until bedtime.

That was all Brut needed.  And Brut was all I needed to remember life wasn't so bad because I had a Brut that no one else had and he was all mine.  Life doesn't get any better or more simpler than that.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dog Life Lessons-The Art of Letting Go

You all know the phrase, "Like a dog with a bone."  How a dog is when given something precious will not let go of it and usually has to be taught to let go.  And it is tough lesson for a dog to learn because they just want to hang on and keep it forever.

One of Chance's favorite games is jumping and chasing for a toy that is on a rope or line.  He also enjoys this with the water hose when I swing it around.  He is quite good at it and loves testing his skills.  Chance learned early that in order for the game to continue, he had to let go of the toy or hose so that I can swing it around again.  He learned how to have fun by letting go and not holding on.  Sure we play some tug-a-war but he knows that in order to get the game moving again, he has to let go of the toy.  Something I didn't teach him, at least with any command or signal, he seemed to figure it out on his own.

I wish it were that easy.

I've been trying to let go of something I've held onto for a long time.  I am like that dog with a bone, hanging on with that clamping grip.  I have a long ways to get to Chance's level but every day we play together he reminds me that it can be done.  Little by little I've been able to unclench my fist and begin to let go.  Thankfully Chance is quite patient with me and is more than willing to show how he does it!  He knows the secret.  When you let go, that's when you really get to play!

How is your dog at letting go of things?  How are you?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Reflecting Comments

Thanks so much for all the comments on our post about Brut and our run in with a loose dog.  Pamela from Something Wagging this Way Comes, brought a point that I hadn't considered.  I was under the assumption by the dogs friendly attitude and wanting to meet and greet with Brut, that she must have been socialized or even over socialized.  She was very unsure how to read Brut's signals and kept running back and forth.

Which brings me to KB's comment from Romping and Rolling in the Rockies.  She wondered if Brut was giving mixed signals from experience with her fearful dog Shyla.  And I would have to agree with her as well.  When I analyze Brut's behavior around other dogs, he has been inviting at first until the dog starts getting close.  Then his fear kicks in and then he reacts.  He is terrified of other dogs, but I hadn't put two and two together because in the moment when another dog coming at him his fear kicks in as aggression and he is going to attack.

If I flipped that around in my mind and deal with the fear first, I might be able to help turn him around.  (Not in a situation when a loose dog is running in his face), but when we take our walks and run into safe dogs on leashes or behind fences.

And I agree with Elka from Elka's Almanac that it is very frustrating and that we have had our share of unfriendly dogs that have run up loose to us as well without incident.  But it took a whole lot of strength on my part trying to hold Brut back while blocking other dog.

Which brings us to the never ending fight of loose dogs and excellent recall.  It took several attempts for this dog's owner to get a hold of this dog and she made no effort to actually grab the away from the situation.  She just kept calling the dog's name over and over until eventually the dog came.  I also agree with White Dog Army, who stated no dog should be left loose without having absolute recall.

I've run into this situation time and time again.   In our neighborhood, at the park, even running around downtown loose dogs ahead of the owner whom can't even see his dogs and then they run into Brut and I and I am left with Brut facing a dog or two who are under no control.  And then I've got a situation until the owner catches up.  People simply forget that not all dogs are friendly.

It's the reason I take the utmost caution and preventive maintenance that it takes for the safety of Brut and other dogs.  I've been giving him treats walking by houses with dogs whether they are out or not, passing people walking or on bikes so that he starts to associate some good things when we are out.

Sometimes I just turn around.  If I'm not up to it or don't feel very calm I turn the other way when someone/dog is coming.  And I found if Brut keeps moving past person/dog rather than stop and wait for them to go by, he does much better.

One interesting point I'd like to add, when this incident happened with the dog running up to Brut, once the lady had her dog and after I was situated, I tried giving Brut a treat.  He was pretty roused up by then, BUT he did snap at the treat, which I took as an excellent sign that he was still with me.  He wasn't so far gone nor as focused on the dog.  And I thought THAT was great progress! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Can a dog be too socialized?

 Where did she go?

Brut and I were on a walk and had a loose dog run over to us.  Brut immediately begins to lunge towards the medium size poodle mix as she came close to his face.  I tried to shoo her away with my foot while holding Brut back, who continued to lunge and pull forward at the little dog.  But she kept coming back.  She would run a space away, then turn around and come back towards us, still getting as close as she could.  She did this 3 or 4 times before the owner finally caught up to her and got her attention and was able to get a hold of her.  On a tight lead, while the owner held her dog by the collar, Brut and I were finally able to pass.

I was stunned and a bit flabbergasted.  I can not tell you how many times this has happened with Brut and me, of dogs running to get in his face, friend or foe.  It is as if they do not heed any warning signs Brut shoots out at all.  Which got me to thinking that what is going on with these dogs that they are willing to invade Brut's territory when he's made his indications known, with all the body language possible.  He wants to attack these dogs and they continue to come up to him either to confront or make friends.(?)

I don't know.  I don't understand it.  Are these friendly dogs so condition to friendly, socialized dogs they have been brainwashed and don't know a threat or a warning from another dog???

Is it a case of "all they know?"  Is it a socialized dog that is exposed to socialized dogs only knows the that all dogs are friendly?  Or an aggressive dog thinks all dogs are a threat and that's all he knows?

Because I'm really confused.  In the real world there are both.  Shouldn't our dogs be exposed to both if this is the case?

It raises many questions, I think, because wouldn't our dogs be a little safer with each other if they knew the warning signs from another dog and they could work it out?

Has anyone ever experience any thing like this with your reactive/aggressive dog?  What do you think the cause is?  What do you think should be done?  How have you handle the situation?

Please share.  

Sunday, June 22, 2014

And now she is one happy girl!

I watched Silver today and struggled for a minute to realize what was different about her.

The long sleeve shirt that she wore to protect her leg after her surgery had finally been remove, and there was nothing more beautiful than her luscious black fur being freed.

But it was even something more than that...

When I realized she was laying on her back, her favorite sleeping position that she hadn't been able to do while wearing the shirt.

And now she is one happy girl!!