Wednesday, February 27, 2013

So during a small agility practice this afternoon, my friend's dog Jada came over to Baer (We usually have them off leash and there's never any problems) but there was a treat on the floor and Baer was trying to get it (we were working on weave poles) and when Jada put her face next to Baer's, obviously sniffing for the treat, Baer went after her. It wasn't mean, it was a "back off" warning but Baer didn't just snap at her, she continued to snap at Jada's side.

I put Baer in a down-stay immediately, and wouldn't let her up for a few minutes.

I'm really torn about this. I do not want a resource guarder. I want the dog to realize, your actions have consequences, and going after another dog for any reason is not acceptable. She's been getting better (It's been a long, long process.)

But I think I have to explain a little of Baer's personality in order this this to make sense-

Baer doesn't have that much confidence, when it comes down to other dogs. She's been in more than a fair share of altercations that were not her fault- causing her to go on the defensive immediately. This means when she meets another dog who is confident, Baer will stand tall with her tail curled over her back, trying to be assertive. If the other dog backs off, Baer backs off. Not many dogs will pick a fight with her, but Baer has no issue getting into a brawl. There have been a few instances where Baer has gone after a very submissive dog, but that hasn't happened in a while.

I think her issue, is actually a lack of confidence. She wants to show she is the leader- and the moment leadership comes into question with a new dog, she has to assert herself.

I know dogs live in the moment- but I also feel like Baer understands the "order" of things.

My normal tactic, when she meets a new dog, is for me to greet the dog at the same time. I will sweetly call out to the new dog- and I will greet it myself. 99% of the time, this is enough for Baer to relax, stay calm, and remember to be happy.

But when she does decide to try and assert some authority (my nice way of saying, pick a fight), I always will separate her immediately and make her sit-stay or down-stay, for a decent amount of time. And since I've started doing this, I believe it's really helped. All behaviors have consequences, positive behaviors mean you get to play and run with the new dog, negative behaviors mean you have to sit out, do something boring like lay down for a while, and you are at my whim as to when you can get up.

Baer has never, EVER drawn blood, but I don't ever want to test her. I am dead set on setting her up to succeed, not fail.

Today, with the incident with Jada and the food, I understand why Baer snapped at Jada. But that doesn't mean I approve- and I think it was highly unneccesary for Baer to continue going after her. Once Baer was given the release word to get out of her down-stay, she was calm and fine after that.

Damn dogs.... if I ever have a heart attack, I'll know why ;)

Also, I've started an official conditioning program with Baer using the Jogger at work. My goal for her is to build endurance- so we're going to work up to doing 30 mins on the treadmill every other day. It'll probably take a good month, but it's a good goal to work towards.

No comments:

Post a Comment