Hello Again!


Well-Known Member
Hello all! I know that it has been a really long time since I have been here so I thought that I would drop in again. I have to say that I really like the new look and feel of the newly designed site. It is very user friendly!

Anyhow, I ran into a snag with my mini Aussie Kato. He seems to have developed a reactive personality towards other dogs :eek: . So, I felt like a hypocrite (more like a failure) when I read and replied to some posts. I had a mess on my hands.

He is still having problems, but I have been working with a trainer and lots of treats. Hopefully one day he will accept other dogs with aloofness and not bark or growl or anything else his bright doggie mind happens to come up with.


Kato on his first birthday in Walla Walla Washington. We were on vacation for spring break!


Honored Member
ABBBYYYYYYYYYYY! We have missed you and your most adorable dog!! Glad to see you back here!!
sorry to hear that Kato is doing some gangsta stuff.
Whatever it is, i have no doubt whatsoever, you can help make Kato better and better!

Now what exactly is it that your adorable Kato is doing? How old is Kato, and how long has this been going on?
Is Kato reacting only to dogs, or humans too?

Is the trainer you are working with "positive only"???
Sadly, some positive only trainers seem to throw the "positive only" out the window when they deal with reactive dogs...bummer.

Is the trainer you are working with have any actual experience with reactive dogs? Not all trainers do. A trainer might ROCK at teaching agility or tricks and not have first clue how to best help a dog with issues.....it's a "specialty" area of dog training, imo.


Honored Member
AND WOW, HAS KATO GROWN UP A LOT OR WHAT!!! WOW, i would not have recognized him!! What a handsome young dog he is now! wow! what a looker!

oh, and btw, you are not "a failure". Lots of ppl may try to tell you this, that if your dog is having some issue, it is "your fault", :rolleyes:
but i disagree. I am sending big internet hugs over to you and Kato. Dogs can and do come up with their own ideas on things, it does not mean you did "something wrong".


Well-Known Member
He he! He turned 1 on April fool's day! He started this when he was about 9 months old (so maybe 6 mos?),and he is only reactive with dogs. He loves people. He has gotten more protective so he does bark at people, but only wiggles if he gets close. Oh yeah, and he is afraid of many new things. He barks at garbage bags on the curb :rolleyes:.

My trainer is totally positive! We give him tons of treats around other dogs and it has been helping, well, it did until he escaped from the yard and got bit. Now it is back to square one. However, we have installed a tall fence and he seems a little bit better with his issues. Not quite as reactive. Maybe I am just wishful thinking?O_o The biggest problem that I have working with him is that I live in the sticks with many reactive dogs. It is hard to find a calm one to work with him.

I have totally missed being here though!! I am glad that I am back.


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PS I know that I am not the reason that my dog has decided to do some "gansta stuff". It was like a switch. One day nice, the next he was a mess! Thank you for the compliment, he is a gorgeous dog. His beautiful fur is always tangling up and he hates the brush. I am so not looking forward to the winter!


Honored Member
Thanks for reply Abby. I have some ideas for you to try, too, and hopefully others will also be by to throw in some ideas.

//"He started this when he was about 9 months old "//

why am i not surprised.
This is the age most dogs who are going to be dog-aggressive dogs begin to manifest this, some a bit earlier, some a bit later, but 9 mos old seems most common age of onset.

//"He has gotten more protective so he does bark at people,"//
You would be wise to work on this, to prevent Kato from escalating that. Most da dogs love humans, but, some can and will escalate to generalized diffuse aggression to include humans, too, so also do take time and help Kato keep his "i love humans" thing,, and teach him to be calm when he sees humans.
Now, imo, a dog barking at ppl arriving to his home IS doing the right thing,;) and that is not what i am talking about,
i'm talking about a dog who barks at humans on a walk, etc. You will want to help Kato not bark at ppl on walks, in parks, etc. You will find this MUCH easier:D than getting Kato to not bark at dogs,

and teaching Kato to not bark about humans will further hone your own skills at desensitizing your own dog, too.

//"it has been helping, well, it did until he escaped from the yard and got bit. Now it is back to square one. "//

Yeah, i hear ya, anytime a da dog fights,
or has tons of opportunities to bark away at dogs uninterrupted,
such things do set the dog back,
but, have hope. Kato can and will get better and better.
and better.

//"Not quite as reactive. Maybe I am just wishful thinking?"//
No, i don't think Kato's improvements are just in your mind. I completely believe we can help da dogs become better and better (or worse, depending on what we are doing with them)
I think someone as committed to her dog as you are will definitly be able to help Kato become his best possible self.

//"The biggest problem that I have working with him is that I live in the sticks with many reactive dogs. "//

Yeah, that does make things tough, but, not impossible. My dog can calm down other reactive dogs, IF i use doggie calming signals. No, not evvvvvery time, but sometimes Buddy can.

Do read reply #35 on this thread, about using doggie calming signals when your dog sees another reactive dog.
Again, this doesn't work evvvvvvvverytime, but, it can work, and wow, it's great when it does work! wow and wow!!

I can also use dogs barking the tv set, and on the computer, to help teach Buddy to not react. (yes, my dog even reacted to dogs on tv or the computer:rolleyes: )

Also, i think IF IF IF your Kato is a da dog,
that working to help Kato develop a new idea about seeing unknown dogs, is an ONgoing thing, for life. Times where i have slacked off,--------Buddy re-escalates.

also, do read reply #33 on that thread,
where i explain how important DAILY training is for reactive dogs. I'm not sure it much matters WHAT you are training the dog to do----tricks, agility, doggie dancing, nosework, herding, flyball, obedience,
but give Kato DAILY lessons----even if it is only 5 minute lesson once a day (twice is better)
on "something". Many ppl feel "Herding lessons IS the thing to help reactive dogs" :D or "Doggie dancings IS the thing to help reactive dogs":D etc etc, it's a long long list.........
but, me, i think it is THE TRAINING ITSELF, not the particular game or cue, but the training itself that helps reactive dogs.

On days i don't give a lesson to Buddy, he is much harder to manage. At least, it's that way for my dog.


Honored Member
//"His beautiful fur is always tangling up and he hates the brush. I am so not looking forward to the winter!"//

This presents you with another great chance to learn how to calm Kato down.
You CAN teach a dog to love his brush.
Take an ordinary human hairbrush (these never hurt a dog, whereas some of the deshedding and slicker brushes can hurt)
and lay it on the floor. CLICK/TREAT any intersest in the brush.
Touch the brush to Kato, CLICK/TREAT nonreaction (it's ok to c/t before Kato has chance to react,:LOL: lol)
Now rub brush an inch on Kato, and c/t nonreaction. Praise dog, too.

now play with dog.
That's it, that is first lesson. KEEP THESE LESSONS SHORT, set up Kato to succeed.

In a few hours, repeat.
Overtime, slowly advance along, to slightly longer contact with brush,
and slightly more than an inch brushing.

this will take some time, but do this daily. Make seeing that brush one of the best moments of the day for Kato, you can do this!!! This hairbrush exercise is similar to what we with da dogs do when our dogs see other dogs, too, starting where dog CAN be calm, and slowly advancing along.


Honored Member
btw, since Kato will be getting lots of treats,
be sure to keep treats small, like size of a raisen, to avoid a fat dog or a full dog.
On days i have trained a lot, i cut the size of Buddy's dinner back,
or skip it altogether, and instead, play with him or give him extra walk, so he doesn't notice he got no dinner.

and you might want to look over the treat recipe section to save money,
and to provide healthier treats for Kato. Try to avoid flour-based treats as much as you can.

Most store-bought treats are:poop: crapola, and the better ones cost too much.


Honored Member
Welcome back Abby!!!
O_o Wow, Is that the same dog as in your profile picture??? Really???:D
He is stunning!!!

Just a word of support from a da aussie owner... It can get better!! My gangsta(to use tigerlily's words;)) has been improving around other dogs. So keep at it!! It will be hard and it might take a while, but I'm sure you can get him to behave better.


Well-Known Member
Welcome back!!! Nice to meet you! I hope you can get Kato back on the right path. He is an AMAZING looking dog!!!:D
Thank you George'sDad! I am sure that I will be able to get him to feel more comfortable around other dogs. It is very nice to meet you and I hope to stay in touch. (I am busy as I work full time and go to school AND am busy with kids and the doggie, I sometimes drop off for a bit, but I always come back :D)


Well-Known Member
Thank you thank you thank you thank you TigerLily. I have read some of the threads listed above, but don't remember them. My pup was not reactive at the time!!! I will take your advice in addition to my trainer's. I accept all the help I can get:oops: ! It is nice having someone that I know has had trouble with their own dog. I have read many of your trials and tribulations before. I am glad to hear that Buddy is doing better.:D

I totally forgot:eek: about the great wordy posts from you with your mad 200 WPM typing skills!


Well-Known Member
Hello Anneke! It is really good to hear from you. You have Aussies too right? I remember that your doggies were really pretty! And yes, that is my Kato all grown up! He has become quite the looker :cool:.

With all of the support of other reactive herding dog owners I have no choice but to succeed.;) It seems at times that I am the only person out there with a reactive dog that cares about their mental well being:eek: . Knowing that I am not alone does help a lot! I want him to be calm and well adjusted, totally not scared of other dogs.(y)


Honored Member
Hi Abby and welcome back! Kato is just stunning!!! And - another da dog owner checking in here, my female Makena (the lighter one) is a work in progress and always will be. Oddly enough tho, because of her dog issues, she's made me a better trainer and in a way, a better person. I've had to learn to be both. I have had to learn to be her biggest advocate, always - if that means standing like a crossing guard in front of her and asking people to please leash their free-roaming "friendly" dog, to chasing away dogs running straight at her, and everything imaginable in between. I've had to study and learn her body language, but by doing so, I've learned so much about dogs in general it's amazed me. I think sometimes our 'hardest' dogs end up being the ones we get the closest to.

Did want to add one comment about Kato being suddenly scared of/barking at things that may not have bothered him previously (ex: garbage bags). Do keep in mind that he is still a puppy, and can still go thru fear periods - 9 mos is definitely not too old. He may have not been scared of them yesterday, might be today and all this week - then next week, all might be ok again. :confused: Til the life of a puppy. :LOL:

Using all positive reinforcement is totally going about it all the right way. Just keep rewarding him thru it all, one step at a time. Reward him for every single thing he does right, including not reacting.

Don't ever feel like you're alone out there, altho I know sometimes it does or can feel that way. Lots of us have da dogs - and you know what? I wouldn't trade my girl in for any other dog in the world. She's taught me so much about life, love, acceptance, and trust - we've formed such a bond thru all our work we've done together. She knows she can trust me to keep her safe from other dogs, and if I ask her to pass other dogs in closer proximity than she'd like, she will - cuz she knows I won't ask her to do anything unsafe and I'll always have her back. Altho a friendly social dog would have been much easier (yes, my male, Alfie, is - and I'm thankful for that), I wouldn't have had this kind of relationship with one of them. Keep up the good work with Kato - it's possible he'll come 'round. And it's also possible he'll take you down the most incredible road you could imagine. Easy? No. But an incredible journey nonetheless. Have fun no matter what!!!!


Honored Member
//"I totally forgot:eek: about the great wordy posts from you with your mad 200 WPM typing skills!"//
:ROFLMAO: You know, besides typing so so fast, i can READ forevvvvver, but i sometimes get antsy watching too long of videos,:confused: go figure.:ROFLMAO: I can even read entire books, so a few paragraphs is nothing to me. I love reading. ......really awesome posts, like Jackies above, i even read twice...soaking it all in.

but yeah, hope you are feeling some hope!! hope you can conquer the anti-brush thing, it seems a good starting point for you to get ideas you'll need later on for helping Kato be more cool around dogs, too! GOOD LUCK and keep us posted.
there will be fantastic moments ahead,:D
as well as days you feel you are backsliding,:oops:
either way,
we are all here for you, and you are not alone. YOU CAN DO IT, ABBY!


Well-Known Member
Thank you Jackienmutts! I know that I can make him more comfortable with other dogs. I just have a lot of work to do. I recently quit my job that was 70 miles away from my house and accepted a position that is only 1 mile away, so I have 2+ hours of my life extra! I plan on adding more work with my doggie, even if it is only just sitting around together!

I know that there are many DA dogs out there, but in my area, people just don't train their dogs, they just chain them up or put up a privacy fence. OR they get happy-go-lucky labs. They don't even have dog training classes here. I had to drive over an hour to get somewhere with a trainer. Maybe I should learn how to train and have classes on the side??? I can take my DA dog and he can have lots of animals to meet. :eek:

Anyhow, he has made me a better trainer as I always have to watch him. I have learned to read his body language better and I also am more aware of my own body language. I am much better at meeting strange dogs. I will continue to improve with tips from here, for sure!


Well-Known Member
Tigerlily, you like to read! Me too! We have a lot in common. I also get antsy at videos, but currently have 2 books going! I read when I I am a member of Goodreads too, but more for the convenience of keeping track of my books, not really as a social thing. I read her post twice too, only my typing is only like 70 WPM.

I know that he will be more adjusted, eventually. I always have treats with me, and I pay much more attention to him than many dog owners do to their own. I have been thinking about building a small agility course in my lawn and teaching him how to run through it. It sounds fun. I also want to teach him silly little tricks I see here. My extra 2+ hours a day will help meet that goal! I do have hope, lots of it. I know that he will do great.


Honored Member
//"and I also am more aware of my own body language"//

although dog whipserer has convinced tons of ppl,
that our dogs are reactive cuz of the human's "secret unresolved inner issues",:ROFLMAO:
or our body language is causing it,:rolleyes:
i disagree.
My dog has reacted, when i was so calm, i wasn't even paying att'n.:LOL:
My dog has NOT reacted, when i was shaking, sweating and probably trembling (at the sight of large offleash dog barreling straight at us followed by a child)

turns out, my dog has his OWN ideas, he is NOT an extension of me.

My being calm does help my dog, to an extent, but my being calm can not prevent a reaction,
and there is a chance, that my being upset can upset my dog, but my being upset will not cause a reaction,
it is about whether or not my DOG is calm or upset...not ME. My dog, unfortunately, does not always share the mood i am in!!:ROFLMAO:

my dog and i do NOT share a brain. He is his own being, with his own ideas.


Honored Member
and be sure to read the part on that thread i linked
about you do not want to "correct" a growl, too!

and hope!
which are GREAT THINGS for any owner of a da dog to have!! YAY!


Well-Known Member
~(at the sight of large offleash dog barreling straight at us followed by a child)~

Really??? I have so seen this! It is terrifying! Why do some people think that a child is old enough to handle a dog? My daughter is nearly 13 and I still won't let her take my dog if I think there will be some sort of confrontation. I am teaching her how to deal with them, but I like to be on hand to help out. There are some situations that I have a hard time dealing with, to put that kind of responsibility on a child is not right.

I have to agree that Cesar Milan has it wrong. I did things entirely differently with my second dog, everything positive, socialized him, worked really hard and he is DA as was my Dane. I am not afraid of dogs, big or small. I am not anxious, nor aggressive myself. I guess I would be the big dumb yellow lab down the block. I am pretty happy go lucky. Kato has not picked up on my big lab attitude yet. Cesar is totally WRONG!!!!!!!!!

I have a good attitude most of the time, but I do get discouraged at times. My hubby always has to pick me and tell me that he is getting better and that I am doing a great job. He is my rock!
Even though he does not know the first thing about dog training, he is learning from me and doing pretty good with it.