Dangerous Shopping Cart Attacks

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by tx_cowgirl, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    A few days ago, Mud, Zeke, and I made a trip to Petsmart to get the boys and Mud Christmas presents...(yes, I'm one of those cheesy people who does that. Lol.) Z hasn't been in quite a while---it's very busy and his fear aggression issues make Petsmart visits a challenge. It's very easy to get "trapped" by the crowds on an aisle and not have a clear path out, so he gets incredibly anxious. Because of this, we've stuck to parks with various levels of people/dog traffic to slowly boost his confidence. He's improved so much that I would hate to rush him into a busy store and make him regress. Petsmart was not too busy that day, and Zeke did quite well. He was still very shy and stuck to my hip like glue, but he did visit with a few trainers and several cashiers. He was a bit timid in his approach but did let everyone pet him. =) He was even ambushed by a few of the employees and some nosy dogs, but didn't get out of shape or nervous.

    But...the shopping carts had other ideas. Apparently, if they were coming at him or beside him, they were attack carts that were going to run him over. He would walk behind them and walk up to a stationary cart, but once in motion they were quite scary. He did not pitch fits or anything but did shy away and was quite nervous about them.

    Mud on the other hand, visited all of her favorite employees and met some new ones. We practiced several of our tricks. I did some double-dog sit stays and various other tricks which helped Z relax.

    All in all, the trip went surprisingly well for him, but apparently we have some work to do meeting shopping carts. Poor Zekers. :dogblush:

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    Good practice and good idea taking both dogs. It seems one of mine always encourages the other. Too bad about the carts. Could you go borrow a cart in the parking lot and have a partner push it very far away and keep Zeke below threshold? I always seem to end up with things like this hubby at work etc. so I sympathize.
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Yes, my boyfriend was with me and he was pushing the cart. We did take the time to do a little work with the basket, and he did seem a bit less leery of it by the time we left. Given his very timid personality, of course it will take a while until he is an almost "normal" dog--you know all about that. I know a loooot of people who work there, including a few managers, so they probably wouldn't care if I took one home for a few weeks, lol!

    Mud is Zeke's best buddy, and he really heavily relies on Mud and Rusty. He had NO interest at all whatsoever in toys(except a snuggly moose 3 times his size) until Mudflap, and he retrieves 100 times better than her now. He was completely uninterested in water until a water romp with Rusty. And he could not grasp the concept of jumping things until he watched Rusty do it. He is generally uncomfortable and takes forever to warm up around other dogs----unless Rusty and Mud like them. This makes things difficult because Rusty is still working on dog aggression, and Mud is great but gets snappy with "rude" nosy dogs that get in her face---which is understandable. But she's almost completely over this now. Upon meeting my sister-in-law's overfriendly lab mix, Zeke wasn't sure what to think until Mud bounded at her to play. Even after lots of baths that I took time to get him used to, he will take hours to get into the tub unless I sit on the side. We are constantly working to improve his confidence, and of course it's going painstakingly slow but he has indeed blossomed since the day I got him.

    If I hadn't taken Mud with me, he probably would've been a bit more anxious but fortunately still not completely unglued. I can't decide if it's helping him to allow him to depend on the other dogs, or making him more dependant on them... I do a lot of individual work with all of the dogs, so he's not always working with them. I take him to the park alone fairly frequently.

    Actually, I do know a trainer there(unlike most trainers here, she's actually experienced and good) that would be more than willing to be the basket pusher. ^^
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    That I can think of I've never seen negative progress from taking other dogs. Taking two dogs to the vet for my shy girl calmed her down a lot. The only persons she ever growled at was a vet in a town where we were vacationing for 2 weeks when she got sick. On her recheck I took our boy Golden and she was perfect. We stopped by on the way out of town and she hopped out of the car and went into the lobby happily and back out again.

    Sometimes when puppy is anxious about the car we take our other dog to training class and hubby and she sit in the car while puppy and I go in to class. When she goes alone she seems to always progress rather than get reliant.

    Hopefully that happens with your pups.:dogsmile:
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'm not too concerned with any issues developing because of letting him lean on Mud and Rusty. I think the only thing that worries me is that he very quickly developed separation anxiety with me and I wouldn't want him to start being so dependant on his buddies that he's anxious without them. I don't see this happening, especially since he hasn't shown any different levels of anxiety with just me and no other dogs. Just a thought in the back of my mind. He is definitely more relaxed with the other dogs around though. Tomorrow we may make another Petsmart visit. I know in time he will definitely warm up to a few people in particular there, and as for dogs that will take more time.

    If we go tomorrow, we'll visit some carts and some people and some dogs...we'll see what happens.
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    It's good to be aware of though. If you watch for things and head them off it's much easier to correct. I don't blame you for looking for these things. More people should do just that. I watch mine play a lot and do little chill out's when it seems things get rough or i see postures that look like "i need more room." :dogsmile:
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    That's a good tip. Mud usually needs "chill outs" every now and then, most of the time with new dogs. She rough houses a lot with Zeke, but she never gets out of hand and Zeke just loves it. Silly pup. I do have to keep an eagle eye on Z and Rusty though, as they had some issues about a year ago and we're still working on that. Rusty's very dominant, and Zeke is usually submissive with any gender, but he decided one day he was going to test Rusty. Rusty is still working on dog aggression, so obviously that didn't go over well. He let Zeke know very quickly that that wasn't going to fly, but rather than making Z back off, it's made him fear aggressive. Sooo...we're working through their tiffs. So far so good. I can walk them together quite easily, but loose together I don't yet trust them much. It's a hassle, but they used to be best buddies, and I know they can easily recover in time. It happened before Mud came along, so I know the girlfriend isn't the cause of the rise in dominance. She actually seems to help the two of them, and she does rule the roost. ^^ Lol.

    So the boys have some issues that we're working on...
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    There's an interesting vid on dog play-calm-play I found interesting below. I love looking at the body language cue/interpretations. I'm always learning something. :dogsmile:

    http://woofandwordpress.com/blog/?p=192
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Neat website, thanks a bunch!! I'm always working on prey drive control and just controlling excitement in general with all of the dogs, so this would be a great addition to our training. I also found a link to Sue Ailsby's site as well, which I've been wanting to look into for a while now. Thanks!!

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