A Real Testimony to the handler/dog bond (despite being NLR)
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Thread: A Real Testimony to the handler/dog bond (despite being NLR)

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    dweck's Avatar
    dweck is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultA Real Testimony to the handler/dog bond (despite being NLR)

    I adore helping teach our training classes; I really do. Even though Wesley is retired from competition (and demo dog) and I often don't even bring him (especially when it's too cold or wet/damp -- it's just too much on him), I still go eagerly and look forward especially to new beginner classes w/new faces, new pups, new challenges.

    This cycle, our interesting case is Dallas.

    Dallas is a 1 y.o. pitbull (F) who was rescued from really horrible conditions: She was raised as a dog fighter and cruelly trained to attack -- viciously -- anything on four legs.

    Her owner/handler is a saint: A quiet, unassuming, patient, but dog-savvy woman of about 50 or so whose kids are off in college and who looks at Dallas as an opportunity to invest her time (and her husband's) in something worthwhile.

    Dallas is a sweetie. Around people, she's affectionate to a fault, full of full-body wags and a schlurpy-kissy tongue.

    Around dogs, she's scary. I could see her literally killing another smaller dog. She is 100% muscle -- not a wick of fat on this gal -- and she tenses up like a watchspring, ready to explode. She literally shivers with rage at other dogs.

    We are taking a VERY slow, VERY cautious road with Dallas. Right now, she remains segregated from the rest of her beginner class, watching things from behind a ring gate where owner/handler AND another trainer are ALWAYS with her. She's even on a double-collar (prong and buckle) as insurance.

    We are trying to acclimate her to life with other dogs. Last night, the lesson was fairly simple: Dallas. Other dogs can walk by you without your having to lunge/growl/snap as if you're going to tear their faces off.

    It's a lot of correction. And a lot of praise for good behavior.

    I look forward to her making progress. I know she'll be with us for years. She WANTS to be good, but just doesn't quite seem to know how....

    Can't wait to issue a follow-up report on Dallas, crowing about how she's finally able to join in the group exercises: heeling, stays, etc....

    Hope it's soon.
    Last edited by dweck; 11-05-2009 at 10:23 AM.

    Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]

    "Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)

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    Henery&Ollie's mom is offline Senior Member
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    Can't wait to hear the follow-up on Dallas, Dan! Yay you!! It must be so rewarding to be able to help puppers like Dallas!

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    I love this story, Dan. I wish I could be there to meet Dallas and offer encouragement and praise to her wonderful owner. You know I have a really soft spot for Pit Bulls...I think they are so terribly misunderstood, and it's so tragic when they fall into the wrong hands. People like this owner are my heroes...those who commit to them to give them a second chance. I know you must be so excited to get to class each week and help Dallas!

    Have you all tried backing her up far enough so that she can see the dogs but isn't reacting at all, then treating her for good behavior and gradually moving her closer? This worked very well for Simon who, although not a Pit Bull, was very reactive to other dogs while on leash. He has been very steadily and generously treated in the presence of other dogs for about a year now, and the difference is absolutely amazing. When he sees another dog now, he actually turns to look at me or Kevin, wagging his tail in anticipation of the treat he always gets. This is a 180 from his former behavior, where he was so focused on the other dog it was impossible to even get his attention.

    It sounds like Dallas has a great owner who would be committed enough to do this: Everywhere you go, whenever another dog appears, so do lots of treats.

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    dweck's Avatar
    dweck is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngusFangus View Post
    Have you all tried backing her up far enough so that she can see the dogs but isn't reacting at all, then treating her for good behavior and gradually moving her closer?
    She was in a corner of our training area, nice and secure, where she didn't have to worry about anything approaching from behind. The ring gate was merely to give her a visual aid -- she could *watch* what was going on outside it without *participating* in what was going on outside it. When the other beginner dogs were doing their heeling patterns, every hair on her stood upright and she was ready to spring. Her muscular thighs were absolutely thrumming with energy. She did get growly/vocal from time to time, but these outbursts were corrected verbally and with a (mild) collar reminder.

    Believe it or not, Connie, she is so focused -- laser beam intensity -- on the other animals in class, especially when they're moving, that food becomes absolutely powerless to break the spell. She couldn't care less, even when we have Mom bringing her most valued treat ever. She just doesn't have the time of day for a cookie when there is "prey" to be tracked.

    Poor kid.

    Still, we're making progress. It is v-e-r-y slow. But progress nonetheless.

    Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]

    "Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)

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    Thunders Mom is offline Senior Member
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    Glad you are involved in the "healing" of this dog.

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    Clanceycanuck is offline Senior Member
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    Sending good thoughts and fast rehab for Dallas.

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    Hope you're able to help rehab her. It sounds like it'll be a really tough challenge.

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    Lots of good thoughts and prayers for Dallas and her family

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    mombear is offline Senior Member
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    God bless you for taking this pupper on Dan. Parker and I are going to practice the heel we learned this week tonight, along with maybe some other things that were in the paper we received.

    What I need is some advice on getting her to wait on people going down stairs. He is down the stairs before I can get the work stop, wait, halt, whatever out of my mouth.

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    dweck's Avatar
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    Snap the leash on before heading to the stairs. Train EASY or WITH ME or some other phrase that means: "Hey, Tornado on legs! Take it easy thundering down the staircase in a furry blur!!!"

    And if you get pulling/forging, STOP RIGHT THERE. Let the collar correct. And TELL him the problem: "What do you think YOU'RE doing? GET BACK HERE!"

    And then lots of praise for the good behavior.

    Kelrobin Cleveland Street Denizen, CGC, RN [Parker]

    "Dear George: Remember, no man is a failure who has friends. Thanks for the wings. Love, Clarence" -- IAWL Screenplay (1946)

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