Thursday, January 15, 2009

The history of doing nothing

No agility today…I figured I should give the dog a day off, he works a lot harder at it than I do and Rachel Sanders says don't practice the A-frame every day.

So we're skipping today. I do like getting there at the crack of dawn though. Yesterday we got there right as the two gentlemen pulled up on their bicycles to vacuum the inside. They were very friendly, smiles and hellos all around. Deej was not friendly he barked and threatened.

I love DJ, but I really want a dog that is well-socialized. Well you might say, that is entirely up to me -- maybe if I wasn't a sucky owner my dog would not be a maniac who threatens innocent bystanders.

Very true but in my defense Deej came with his issues fully-formed. He came from a shelter, a nice no-kill shelter up the road from where we live. Lot of pit bulls there for whatever reason.

I was pretty clueless when we got him. I thought pulling some Dog Whisperer-style shtick would show him what's what.

That didn't work, (you mean imitating ridiculous shit you see on tv doesn't work?) he got worse and turned into an Exploding Dog.

Every walk was a nightmare, he could barely get within eyesight of another dog without losing his mind. Much less walk by them. Kind of like the Tasmanian Devil in Bugs Bunny cartoons.

I'm sure someone who knew anything about dog training could have had him shaped up in no time but I had to read books, I had to research and experiment. It was a problem because I had this idea that we were going to do agility so had to do it. Plus he was bonkers insane and needed exercise every day so just never letting him leave the house was out of the question.

The first training class we tried was a "balanced" class where prong collars or chokes were required, dropped out after finding that out. Not My Thing.

My parents got our golden retriever when I was about 10 with the plan that I would show her because she was That kind of dog, went to some training classes in a dark parking lot. The training was very advanced, tell the dog to down and then throw them over. Pretty much soured me on dog training for a long time. If yanking your dog around and tossing them on the ground is what it takes I'll take an untrained dog…but I digress.

Finally found a positive trainer and went to her CGC class. Deej was very good kind of, by that point we'd been working on stuff though his self-control was still extremely low.

He got his CGC somehow with flying colors despite the fact that he could barely stop barking at the people who tried to pet him in practice. Though he was by far the black sheep of the class, he did fine on the test. The other problem dog bit his owner on the face after failing so I was like, hey at least we're not them. Dunno what happened to them.

Kinda neat how far we've come but at this point I just want a dog that likes other human beings, no questions asked. Luckily DJ loves agility and I think its really the reason why he's gotten so much better, he can actually work in a field with other loose dogs doing stuff. We can use the practice jump at trials. Its in unusual situations where he's already kind of stressed but not really stressed just a little on edge that he loses it and goes all nutty.

It makes me feel good that he's doing so much better but its exhausting sometimes.

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