Monday, November 25, 2013

Really, I have no interest in owning a nervous, possessive, reactive dog.

A while back I wrote a post in response to a series of blog posts that disparaged 'friendly' dogs (targeting labs) and exclaimed how wonderful herding breeds were with their reactive, guardy, and unsocial manners.
I didn't publish it until just now.
This morning Bugsy & I were on a happy, frigid jaunt. We came upon one of the neighborhood's more clueless owners and her ginormous GSD. This dog is an intact, older male and right from the first time he saw Bugsy he wanted to dominate him. He at one point decided to attempt to wrap his jaws around B's neck. I was able to interrupt him and spoke to the owner. She told me that is how he says hello. Um sure.
Fast forward to today. As soon as this dog sees B, he starts a nervous stare and tongue flicks. B sends out plenty of appeasement signals but the GSD gets more an more intense. By the time we were 10 ft away, B's hackles were up from stress I presume as he was still bouncing along trying to say " hey, lovely morning" 
The owner said, "stop and say hi" um no thanks as the GSD looked that at any moment he'd snap.
B was extremely pleased to walk right by them and was immediately back to bouncing along enjoying the lovely morning (as I shivered).
Another 3/4 of a mile away we are just doing our thing, walking, him scenting and his body language displaying his happiness with each step.
Suddenly an overweight border collie comes tearing at us, teeth bared, viciously barking & snapping. It was in it's yard (new owners) and we were at the street side so about 15 ft away. I jumped out of my skin. B just started whining as if he wanted to say hi and properly meet this new member of the 'hood's pack. It always makes me sad as I swear it is as if he can't comprehend a dog who isn't social & happy.
Once again I kept him moving by and he swiftly went back to his jaunty hunt.

So yea. Keep your herding breeds. I will never want an unsocial, possessive, reactive dog who in behaving as such is being true to their breed.
I understand not all herding breed individual dogs are this way but by and large it seems hard to meet one who doesn't fit this image. And yes labs can be this way but it isn't common.
Bugsy is not perfect, FAR from it. 
But he's happy. Non-territorial, non-guardy, and playful. He thinks other dogs are great and if they turn out to not be great he's happy to move on.
Works out great for me. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Training failure #1

Ok he's over 8 years old.
He has had three joint repair surgeries.
Has bad allergies.
Has had other surgeries, serious wounds, and injuries.

We tried food, halters, harnesses, various collars, clickers, and umpteen training techniques. 

We have never gotten to a point in which he obediently and contentedly walks at a casual pace.

I give.
He wins.
We go fast.

Pick your battles. I am ok losing this one.