Baby Steps

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by maven, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. maven New Member

    Today Pip, my 10 year old Akita x GSD, allowed a longtime family friend to pet him. Not only did he allow it, but he actually approached the young man and asked for a pet. I thought that I might cry. I guess for most people this isn't a big deal, but for me and Pip it's HUGE! We've been going into places like PetSmart and asking strangers to toss treats, then to offer treats, just working at desensitizing, and the results have been amazing. Most times Pip still won't eat the treats or take them from their hands, but he's becoming more and more sure that not everyone in the world wants to kill him.

    Tomorrow evening Pip has an appointment to meet a trainer and see if she will allow him to attend Intro to Rally classes at her all positive training facility. There will only be 2 other dogs in the class, and if he can manage to get through the introduction without being reactive to the other dogs then we're in. That would be unbelievable for us.

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I'm not familiar with the history in this case, but well done on making progress. Is it that your dog is aggressive or timid? Either way, I'm glad you're able to see some progress.
  3. maven New Member

    He is, or at least has been, dog aggressive; but with people he acts either fearful, aloof or intimidating (just by standing still and lowering his head, not by lunging or growling like he has done with dogs).
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    How wonderful to hear. I'm so happy for you and Pip, the rally class sounds very perfect for this situation. He'll get some confidence and the small class will be lower stress. I'll X my fingers for you. My eyes misted over reading that too!! My shy girl how asks for pets. It's a great reward for a job you've done well.!! :dogtongue2:
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Zeke and I have much the same problem. We've battled(and still are working on) fear aggression with dogs. He likes people, but is slow to approach them out of the home. In Petsmart he's happy to let people pet him, but he's extremely shy--he won't approach. He glues himself to my side. I too recently experienced a little breakthrough with him--on our last visit to Petsmart, an employee walking by who recognized us ruffled the fur on his back and caught him completely off-guard. He never saw the guy coming, but he didn't even so much as tense up. He just kind of casually glanced over to see who it was and that was that. I was very happy. ^^ Z's progress is painstakingly slow as he's not even almost food motivated by any means. But we're getting there. :) Congrats on your progress!!!! Good luck with the class.
  6. maven New Member

    Thanks Snooks, I appreciate that. I am feeling very rewarded with him lately.

    We're in! Woohoo!

    Great news for Zeke :) The dogs seem so much happier when they can be at ease instead of always acting like the world is against them or they're against the world. The last time we were in the store Pip sat still watching my girlfriend while 1.) a shopping cart with a doxie went behind him 2.) an employee ran, literally ran, behind him and 3.) a man came by with a HUGE boa, or python, or some type of reptilian creature wrapped around his neck and shoulders. Okay, maybe the snake was more frightening to me than to Pip, but he still managed to just ignore all of it. Quite a difference from when we began this effort to get him comfortable.

    PetSmart has been great to Pip and I (even though I get that occaisional question like, "Oh, is he a rescue?" *cringe* "Nope, he's ours. We're fully responsible for all of this.")

    I can't wait to see how he does with Rally.
  7. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Oh this is great news I am so happy for you both!
  8. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, the question I get is, "Was he abused?" Lol, no, he's just a wuss, despite tons of careful socialization. He didn't lack in that area at all, at least not when I got him. We recently got a new Petsmart, our 2nd, and it's muuuuuch slower than the old one. So we visit it most, as it's less intimidating for him. We never go to the busy one because it'd just be too much for him, and I don't want him to regress. Parks are great though, as it's much easier to "escape" scary things, whereas at Petsmart you can get trapped on a scary aisle with all those people and pups. We visit parks quite a bit, and that's helped get him ready for the Petsmart visits.
  9. maven New Member

    Oh yeah, LOL I've gotten that one too. I think my g/f's response was something like, "Not yet, but we've been considering it."

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