Cooper And Progress!!!

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Anneke, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Anneke Honored Member

    Last week my boyfriend told me, Cooper had played with a strange, boy dog! He had been walking the dogs(Cooper and Jinx), taking them to a building site(defelopement area, where businesses are about to be build, but now it is still some raods and a whole lot of grass) so they could play off leash for a bit. But there was a lady with a dog. Jinx was very interested in this dog, so my boyfriend let her off leash, to go and meet him.
    The lady told him, that her dog was a bit scared of other dogs, as he had been bitten a couple of times.
    They were talking about the dogs and while they were talking, Cooper desided he likes this dog. He does a playbow and wags his tail. So my boyfriend asks the lady if it ok to let him off leash, as he knows he won't be able to get Cooper back, if he does go into crazy mode.
    THe lady says it's fine, because her dog will come to her, when she calles, no matter what.
    So Cooper is released and takes off to play, then desides this dog is not as interesting and starts to play with Jinx. The strange dog felt left out, I guess, because he started humping Cooper. And... Cooper didn't react!! He reacted as he does with Jinx, in a playfull way!!!!!
    I was sooo proud of my boy and so sad I wasn't there to see it happen!
    But!!!
    Last saturday I took my kids(the dogs;)) for a two hour walk on a trail following the river. Both of them are off leash, because( I thought) I could see everyone coming, so I would be able to call them back in time.
    Cooper was playing with a stick up on the embankment and I was lower than him, so I could not see what was on the other side. I knew there was an empty meadow there.
    Suddenly I see him staring at something, but as I thought there was nothing out there, I though he was looking at something in the distance.
    And then I see this black dog... My heart stopped. I was too far away, to get to Cooper.
    He had the hair at the back of his neck up, but he didn't charge the dog.
    I didn't want to call him, because I knew the panic would ring through in my voice. I didn't want to run, because I didn't want him to think he could run at the dog.
    Jinx ran off to meet the dog and Cooper slowly went up to him too. I called back Jinx, as I know she will join in the fight, if it came to that. Thank god she has a good recall off dogs!!
    Cooper had a stiff posture, tail up, but he sniffed the dog and the dog sniffed him.
    The owner of the dog said: they are just getting to know each other.
    I told him I got scared, because Cooper doesn't always like other dogs.
    I took a deep breath and walked up to Cooper. Took him by the collar and said: let's go!
    The other dog followed his owner in the other direction and Cooper looked up at me with the happiest face. I praised him like crazy!!! Stuffed him with treats and.... let go of his collar.
    That was a huge thing for me! Normally I would put him on leash untill I was sure the other dog was out of sight.
    But Cooper ran back to his stick and started challenging Jinx to come run with him.
    My heart was racing, my hand were sweatty... But OMG I did it!!! Cooper did it!!!
    This is the first time in almost three years I had the guts to do this! I didn't panic, I stayed calm, well as calm as I could be....
    I am soooo proud of my boy!!! And of myself.
    He has come such a long way, all thanks to my boyfriend's hard work with him.
    My boy is starting to remember how to interact with other dogs and not immidiately try to kill them!
    Yes there are some dogs he still reacts to, he really doesn't like them, but I can now pass almost any dog at a few feet, without lunging or being dragged!
    Have I said how proud I am???:D:oops::rolleyes::cool::ROFLMAO:
    threenorns, Dogster, Mutt and 6 others like this.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    Yay Cooper!!! That's fantastic that he was okay with both of those dogs!! (y)
  3. Evie Experienced Member

    Omg YAAY!!!!! That's awesome! Great work!

    See, persistence does pay off in the end!:LOL:(y):D
    Dogster, k9 crazed and MaryK like this.
  4. MaryK Honored Member

    That's fantastic news!!!!!!!! I can bet you're so proud of Cooper and rightfully so! Very happy for you, it's always grand to read success stories!:D
  5. k9 crazed Experienced Member

    It is so hard to try to keep your emotions in check in this sort of situation. Brilliant! Both of you! and "Go, Boyfriend! Woot!"
  6. Dlilly Honored Member

    Yay Cooper!!!! Your doing a great job with him! ;)
    Dogster and MaryK like this.
  7. threenorns Well-Known Member

    wonderful!!!!!

    now, the next step: you working on your internal dialogue. trust your dog! he's a *good* dog - he's not a mean raving psychopath, he just needs a bit of work on his manners, is all. your dog can hear your internal dialogue much more clearly than the words coming out your mouth - you might be saying "good dog, cooper" but what he's hearing is "omg omg omg he's gonna go after him he's gonna go after him please don't do that just be nice" and the combination of the panic in your voice and body language plus the unconscious "attack" cues are enough to trigger off many dogs into protection mode.

    so just keep thinking - "i have a GREAT dog! my dog is the BEST!" and keep telling yourself that until you know right down to the bone. it won't be long before you'll meet a strange dog and instead of looking at the dog and wondering if it'll be a problem, you'll look down at cooper and he'll tell you everything you need to know about the other dog.
  8. MaryK Honored Member

    That's so right threenorns. Our emotions fly down that leash and dogs, being the sensitive animals they are, pick up on our unspoken thoughts, the REAL ones. I know once I stopped having a tense moment when ever another dog came into view (after the dog attack) Ra Kismet improved out of sight!
  9. threenorns Well-Known Member

    same here - i found a really good way to stop worrying about what might happen when another dog shows up is to actually look at dandy, not the strange dog. i don't know the other dog. i have no idea what kind of animal they are - friendly? vicious? obnoxious? not a clue.

    but dandy knows dogs and i know dandy - it only made sense that, when another dog approaches, i look at dandy, not the other dog, and let dandy tell me if there's going to be a problem instead of predicting a problem where there might not be one.
  10. Dogster Honored Member

    YAY!!!!! Congrats Anneke and Cooper!!!!:) Hats off to you!! Fantastic progress!!!!:D:D I'm so happy for you both!!!
  11. MaryK Honored Member

    Agree! I now take a quick look then focus on Ra Kismet not the other dog. You're right, our boys can read those subtle signals which are virtually impossible for us to spot.
  12. Anneke Honored Member

    Threenorns you are so right, but when you have seen your dog attack another dog and almost kill it, it is so hard not to think nothing will happen;)
    I know dogs don't attack out of the blue, they give off signs, but Cooper did not see the dog he attacked before he attacked. He heard the dog bark, then took off, went out of sight (the other dog was behind trees and bushes and Cooper was pooping. There were even cars between us, the bushes and the other dog)and then I heard a lot of noise and screaming.
    I know my state of mind after that attack made him worse and start to lunge at any dog we encountered. I am slowly starting to trust him again, but I will probably never let him go up to strange dogs off leash, if I can prevent it.
    After almost three years we(my trainer who is also a behaviour specialist) have still not found what triggers him.
    Sometimes he will be ok with a dog that has very high posture, while I think: that's not going to be good. And when I think, this dog has a very good attitude, he will go and attack it. There just is no reading him.
    I have seen a lot of reactive dogs and I can read most of them, but somehow my boy has learned to keep everything inside him.
    And it's not like he wasn't socialised. I used to take him with me anywhere, we did puppyclasses, playgroup and obedience.
    But he had a few bad encouters with dogs, where other dogs came after him and he had to fight in defence(I was sooo mad at the owners of these dogs, who thought it best to let the dogs fight it out, so they could find out who was boss:mad: Two against one is never a fair fight and I just don't want my dog to fight at all!) These encounters happenend in the time that he was still having growing pains(which were very severe), so I'm thinking that is one of the reasons he started doing this.
    Anyway, long story short, there are quite a few reasons I can think of, why he started lunging and picking fights.
    And I had, looking back, something that you could call burn-out, but didn't realise it. So my state of mind certainly didn't help to keep him stable.
    So I am working on myself and I am sure we will get to the point where I can walk him and he will no longer lunge at other dogs. But will I ever take him to an off leash area or a place where there are dogs off leash? I don't think so. But that is ok. Enough places to go, where we can be alone and still have great fun!
    I am happy with the progress we both are making and greatfull for everything I have learned along the way. Things I would never have learned, had he been the perfect dog;) ( see, I can see positive things in this, something I could see a year ago)
    threenorns and MaryK like this.
  13. threenorns Well-Known Member

    dogs don't rely primarily on sight. cooper knew the dog was there and when the dog barked, that was the trigger. we're human - we're not fluent in "dog". for all we know, the bark could've been "what a lovely day it is today, tralala" and cooper was being wierd or it could've been "i smell you, you stinking mutt - bring your sorry hindquarters over here and i'll use you like a chew toy!" and cooper schooled him.

    do you allow him to growl, show his teeth, raise hackles, etc? when my dog does those, i don't correct bec i believe they're a valid form of communication that should be respected instead of suppressed.

    i don't generally let dandy off leash - i *might* if there are no other dogs around but if there's other dogs, forget it. he's mister social butterfly but too many dogs around here are badly mannered. besides, i don't see it being a holy grail - off-leash is illegal in my county even on your own property (unless it's completely fenced in) so it's not like i'd ever get much benefit from it (unless of course i bust a couple shopping bags again, lol). the most i'll do is let him run out on a fifty-foot lead otherwise the only time he's off leash is when i take him to the park in the middle of the night (it's bounded on three sides by the river so no worries about unexpected company, k9 or 5-0).
    MaryK likes this.
  14. Anneke Honored Member

    Yes I do allow him to express himself. But he has always been a hard dog to read. He is very introvert.
    And I am sure that we did something wrong in his training, that caused him to clam up. That we misread him, maybe "corrected" him at the wrong time.
    After all, he is my first difficult dog and we struggled a lot.
    But I feel we are finally on the right track.

    Wouldn't it be so much easier if we could speak dog and know what our fourlegged friends are thinking:D
  15. threenorns Well-Known Member

    LOL! omg, you know it! but then, you know something? i think there's a darned good reason we can't speak dog - i know being forced to think like dandy and try to get inside his head when teaching him his tricks or parsing where something's gone wrong has forced me to get outside my own ego.

    talk about training gone wrong: when dandy was a pup, one of the things i liked to do was dangle a treat and have him stand up for it bec his paws went into the sweetest little "praying" position.

    BIG problem: when ppl are afraid, they tend to automatically pull their hands up and back out of reach. children, esp, tend to do this.

    so guess what happened every time we met someone who was afraid of dogs?

    yep: dandy would jump all over them looking for the treat he thought they were offering.

    that's why i'm trying to train him to lie down if someone acts afraid (problem being is there's not too many dog-afraid volunteers willing to help me troubleshoot)

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