Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beanie misses dogs…and he's getting a little angry about it!

Bear with me for a moment…Imagine you are a human that lives with aliens. These aliens are really nice to you, feed you well, give you lots of attention and take you cool places; the only down side is you can not understand them at all. Communication is strained at best and most times completely foreign. Often they are inconsistent and unpredictable. However when you get to be around other humans you have a blast and can really talk with your friends or argue with the not so nice curly haired girl! You actually enjoy your life and can handle the strained communication with the aliens because really they are very good to you. Then imagine one day the aliens take you away to a place you've never been and now you live in a strange house and play in a strange yard. Soon it's not so scary and you relax a little. However time keeps ticking by and you still have not seen another human being, days turn in to weeks and weeks turn into months and slowly you get a little crazier and bored. Occasionally the aliens take you someplace where you might see another human but you are not allowed to interact because there is a rope around your neck! So you start running toward the human you see yelling and lunging because you want to be with them, you really miss being with humans. Soon you start to get a little angry and when you see a human you know you won't be able to play so your yelling becomes a little fiercer from frustration. Some humans in this situation may even begin to yell at their alien or even bite them or even begin to hate seeing another human and scream obscenities at them making them go away. Isolation from your own kind has made you very angry and frustrated.

Now read that situation again and replace every 'human' with dog and every 'alien' with human and you might begin to understand the process dogs go through when they are not properly socialized or isolated from other dogs for long periods and how all that can escalate into reactivity and aggression. Thankfully Beanie has not hit the stage of yelling at me or full on aggressing toward other dogs, but his isolation from them has definitely taken it's toll and he has become very frustrated on leash when he sees other dogs.

In our previous life whenever he saw dogs it was either at daycare or in a training session. At daycare, obviously he got to play, in a training session he knew it was work time and so was on very good behavior and often he was even allowed to play after the session. I would take him to the shelter when I worked and he'd act as a decoy to test another dogs reaction to dogs or he'd be a playmate for a dog to see how the other dog played. He was never really deprived except maybe on walks, but because he was  always able to play with dogs any dog we met on a walk was a non issue. Things are different here. We haven't found a suitable daycare place and most of them are a good distance away anyway. We are not currently in a training class and I'm not teaching so he sees no other dogs that way. Right now the only time he sees dogs is on a walk and so he has started to become the dog that pulls and lunges and barks when he sees another dog and more recently it has not been sounding so nice when he does so. I have high hopes for a daycare facility we are going to try out on friday but I must say I am a little concerned that he will be a rude bully and not make any friends. I hope I have not permanently changed my fun loving, dog friendly dog into a leash reactive dog. I will cross my fingers and keep working on politeness while on leash. Wish us luck!

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