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My name is Lesli Hyland. In my forty seven years on this earth, my home and my heart have been graced with the company of twenty dogs. Many came to me as seniors. All of them taught me something and helped determine the course of my life. I am a dog trainer because of them. I met my friends because of them. My husband and I are are forever bonded by our mutual connection to them. As a dog trainer I have access to other people's dogs and I am allowed to share in their unique relationships. The dogs make me a better person by forcing me to closely examine my motivation, my actions and my choices. Everything I do affects their behavior, safety and happiness. It is an awesome responsibility. The dogs keep me honest.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My dogs bite

Pogo will try to bite me if I restrain him. He has to be muzzled for grooming now. He will snap his jaws like an alligator if I have to pick him up. Bath time is a chore now. Even with a ramp, getting in and out of the car can be challenging.  He bit me in the face a few weeks ago because I held my face close to his a little too long.  I just wanted to smell him a little bit longer , you know? 
I am trying to memorize his unique grapey scent.
At 15 he is a bit senile.  He gets disoriented.  He gets scared.  Other times he acts like a puppy, prancing around, wanting to fetch or chase the other dogs.  He can't really do either any more, but he gives it a good effort and appears to be enjoying himself.  He can still do the weave poles...
In truth Pogo has never enjoyed alot of close contact.  For this reason he has never been restrained by anyone other than myself at the veterinarian's office.  He trusted me and would tolerate the handling from me. Sure, it makes me sad that in his discomfort and confusion now, I no longer have that trust.  But I adore this dog and patiently deal with his "aggression". He gave me so many wonderful years... 

Mamacita is a 16 mths old.  She was not well socialized as a puppy.  She is intense and reactive to sounds, movement, strangers, new dogs...well...pretty much everything!  She resists handling and restraint.  After 8 mths with us she is ALOT bettter.  Tons of desensitization and reinforcement for calm behavior in the presence of her triggers has made a HUGE difference. I no longer need a muzzle to do her nails - hooray!  She no longer tries to throw herself onto route 4 to chase cars! She can walk through my training room off leash and stay focused on me, rather than barking and lunging like a wild animal!  Like I said, she's ALOT better.  
But her intense personality still causes her to use her teeth inappropriately when she is hyper aroused.  She sometimes grabs my pant leg when I am rushing around the house.  If not asked to sit  first, she will grab my hand when I put it on the doorknob to let her into the yard.  She has grabbed my wrist when I have restrained her by the collar.  She looses her mind when she gets excited.  She's a little shit. :-P
We are working on her impulse control. 
On the flip side though, her intensity and quick reaction time is an advantage in Agility training. Given timely direction she is  super fast and accurate.  She is gonna be a fierce competitor.
I adore this dog and patiently deal with her "aggression".  She will give me so many wonderful years...



5 comments:

  1. thanks for posting this Lesli. I have the Rowan at home who is reactive. I tend to get a nip now and then when I step between her and other the other dogs. It is nice to know that I am not alone with these issues. I love her dearly, she is funny and way too smart for my good. She is a lot of work and sometimes I get upset with her. Like I said before it is nice to know that other people have issues as well.

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  2. I love how you love these two.

    What is your thought on socializing dogs? I followed professional advice when we got Sampson and then Delilah but both of them still charge full out to greet another dog. Is that the proper way dogs greet each other?

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    1. dogs greeting on leash is difficult as we mess with their natural body language when we pull the leash tight. how do they greet off leash?

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  3. Leah's never "loved" being loved on either. I try to respect that, or at least I think I do, but sometimes I see photos of me with her that says otherwise. It is hard not to mush them sometimes. :-)

    I'm glad "the little shit" ended up with you - she has come so far in such a short period of time. Nice job. :-)

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  4. I missed several of your blogs, but I'm glad I caught up with the March posts. Each time you write about one of your dogs, I see a part of one or more of my own dogs.

    Victoria is getting a bit like Pogo. She's been pacing and whining a lot, and although she's always been feisty when restrained, she has never tried to bite until recently. She'll be 17 in a few months, and physically she's in great shape, but she seems to be confused and anxious much of the time. :(

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