bunn (bunn) wrote,
bunn
bunn

The Training of the Rosie Roo

I've had a bit of a lightbulb moment with Rosie Roo.  I've been struggling a bit with her reactions to other dogs, which really have not been improving as much as I'd hoped.   In fact, we had an Unfortunate Incident with a collie pup (although I can't really feel too guilty about that, because I had *told* the owner that Rosie was grumpy, and I was trying to keep her away from his dog, and Rosie was on the lead,  growling and quite clearly not wanting to be friends, yet he wandered off down the road regardless, leaving the pup to come smarming right up in her face.  At which point Rosie had a pop at the pup, and I can't really blame her, although I do think grabbing pup by the nose was a bit excessive.)

But a couple of days ago, I realised that I'd been focussing on Rosie, and assuming that she was 'the problem' - because Brythen on his own gets on well with every dog, and I'd got used to not worrying about him.

But, looking at them together, and the reactions of other dogs when they meet, I realised that although Brythen is not in the least aggressive, he is big and bouncy and energetic - so a dog approached by a Rosie and a Brythen together is far more likely to react fearfully, and get Rosie into nervy trying-to-chase mode.  And when Rosie gets worked up, Brythen gets excited, which doesn't help at all.  Brythen is quite a bit bigger than Rosie too, and although he is soft as a soft thing, it's a lot for her to cope with, if she's worrying about him pushing her about as well as some other dog.   And finally, Rosie is a bit possessive of Brythen, and tends to get growly if he's too friendly with other dogs.

So: the new policy is that, either Rosie gets to greet new dogs off lead, but with her muzzle on, and Brythen goes onlead for greeting, so he can't go piling in, OR Rosie goes onlead and is kept well away from other dogs while Brythen galumphs about with them.  And so far it's working really well: Rosie has greeted lots of other dogs, and most of them without a growl. She's definitely best with calm oldies, and worst with lively lurchers and collies.

Of course, when we find a nice quiet spot both dogs can hare about together.

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I'm pleased with this photo, because Rosie is chasing Brythen rather than being hassled by him, and they are both looking really relaxed - we could do with more of that.
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With the help of Sossidges, Rosie's recall is mostly not bad, although as the walk goes on, she loses focus and become overexcited - actually, they both do.  So another new policy is that there are short onlead bits every so often, so they get a chance to cool off and calm down a bit.
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I'm reading Leslie McDevitt's 'Control Unleashed' at the moment - about offlead control of dogs - although it's written from the point of view of someone doing agility and other dog sports.  I tried to read this book before, but at the time I had Az and Mollydog, and it just didn't speak to me.  It certainly does now, I am reading with grim attentiveness!
Tags: dog training, dogs, lurchers
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