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I had a request for a training/consult with new folks that came in email yesterday and for which I was able to make an appointment today. The people are very nice as is their rescue dog who came from Puerto Rio. His name is Snoopy and he is about 2 1/2 years old. He has been with the couple who adopted him for about 3-4 months.

The concern they have is related to their holiday travel plans to their daughter's family. They also have a dog and there are two very young grandchildren. Snoopy has recently been leash reactive to other dogs and he doesn't have much experience with kids. The couple wanted to get some info on how to handle things for the visit (made lots of sense to me for them to be prepared and to know what to do and look for to avoid problems.

Since Lily has been my great neutral dog helper for CGC tests I brought her along to evaluate Snoopy and to be able to show his peeps body language to to look for from him to keep him under threshold. He was looking worried and I am sure would have gone over threshold if Lily approached right away, but she was great! She didn't respond with anything other than calming signals. I was able to watch him to see how close an approach he wanted from her (about half the width of their streets). It took some time of walking, but eventually they had a very short polite greeting. I gave them suggestions about how to meet their daughter's dog and how to get Snoopy to not get too stressed out. We will work more when they return from their trip. Lily will continue to go to work with Snoopy and I am pretty darn sure his worrisome behaviors will diminish with time. In the meantime I am very proud of my helper. She rocked it!
 

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What a helpful partner to have - older, sensible, well socialised, large, and with excellent dog manners! How is she with puppies? I have often thought there is a huge need for really good Nanny dogs to teach puppies all they need to know - much more useful than just letting them play with other silly puppies!
 

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Talented Lily and talented you. So glad that Snoopy came to you, just the right team combo to help.
 

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fjm she is perfect for this kind of job. She knows when to send calming signals and she also knows when a rude dog deserves a social connection. She was good with Javelin and my mom's mpoo when they were puppies, but otherwise doesn't have a lot of puppy exposure since people with puppies don't ask for help very often. We may have a pup job from one of Snoopy's neighbors who we met yesterday, a nice young woman with a very excitable jumping 6 months old cavapoo, so she may be part of that puppy job. She was tired, but also very genuinely chill around the pup yesterday.
 
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Lily is perfect. It’s such an advantage for you to have Lily as a neutral dog when working with clients. It also gives your clients a chance to see what good training can achieve when they meet Lily, a well behaved dog.
 
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Sailor used to be one of the "litmus" test dogs out at the dog yard. When the base made it mandatory that certain breeds had to pass their CGC or be banned, we got a lot of dogs coming through for behavior evaluations before they were allowed in classes. Sailor was much like you describe Lily; chill, but also able to make appropriate "corrections" when needed. It was quite interesting to watch the proceedings. There was one dog, that both Sailor and the head trainer's dog "rejected". They both sat about six feet away from the dog and were doing a lot of lip licking. The strange thing was the dog did not appear to be doing anything that would cause a dog to be nervous. Later, we found out that it had, indeed killed a smaller dog. The dog was not allowed in group classes. Usually we had the opposite happen. The owner would say the dog was really aggressive. Our "litmus" dogs had no problem with the dog's behavior.which pretty much meant the dog was just nervous. It's nice to have a dog that has such a stable temperament.
 

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Charmed that is very interesting. I find many people misread their dogs and their dog's intentinons. Family members had a pit mix they took out of a shelter. I went out to visit at their home one summer day while this dog was alive and Lily came with me. The relatives were convinced it would be a disaster because they believed their dog was aggressive to people and to other dogs. I knew the dog without having Lily along and never found their dog to be aggressive (maybe a bit fearful and showing it with some growling. As we know growling says I am nervous as often (or more) as it says I want to rip your throat out. We agreedthat when I arrived I would take Lily out of my car and they would bring their dog out front and we would take a parallel walk in their neighborhood to let them get to read each other. That went well so we all went and sat in their back yard with Lily and their dog off leash. Within about 10 minutes of a tiny bit of posturing on both ends Lily had their dog hiding under a chair. She didn't want a fight but seemed to find their dog to be pushy about boundaries and she got tired of him. She enjoyed their yard while he stayed under the chair acting pretty chill. I think he was relieved to get clear social signals from my girlie girl.

We also have a funny situation at my club with an enthusiastic but somewhat green performance handler. She has had many dogs (labs and rescues mixes). The current dog is a young lab bitch who is very high drive and pretty clueless socially. She is not reactive but just carries huge amounts of energy. Lily doesn't care too much most of the time, but did correct this dog for staring recently, lots of noise from both but nothing serious. It was the first time Lily has taken major exception to the dog. On the other hand Javelin has little tolerance for her even being in the same room. He would do a lot of reactive barking whenever he even smelled or heard her and was particularly over the top when he saw her. My assistant and the lab's owner both thought his reactions were all on him and had nothing to do with the lab. Well I certainly own the idea that I don't want him being reactive towards any dog, but I was offended at the idea that both of these people thought the whole "problem" was Javelin's. I noted to them that he never did that level of reaction to any other dog that came in the club. He gets excited but not reactive when the pretty parti standard poodle of a friend comes in, but I think he is in love with her. He pretty much ignores all the other dogs. I maintain that this lab brings energy that is very high, poorly controlled with a handler that is not great in maintaining focus and connected attention. She is working on it but still does things that make me crazy as a trainer. She takes the dog to run off leash and act crazy for an hour every morning in a large mostly undeveloped park. The handler maintains that the dog would be unmanageable if she didn't run free like that. I don't believe that any dogs other than Salukis and Afghan Hounds need to run like that to fatigue them. I think a thinking connected walk with training built in is more beneficial for most dogs than running around like a jerk. In the meantime I have done tons of focus/attention work with him with the lab around and pretty much he now ignores her. She is still always pretty provocative though.

I have worked hard to know the strengths and weaknesses of all three of our dogs with respect to people and other dogs. I pay well for their polite and thoughtful behaviors and I work constantly to improve their weaknesses. This precess never finishes of course since dogs always learn and always change from their experiences, their ages and their health. We always need to read them for who and what they honestly are and not what we want them to be. Wishful thinking doesn't make truth. At least the lab owner has figured out she needs to do something with her dog aside from letting her run berserkers.
 

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I took Lily with me again today to serve as a neutral dog to show the dog and client I was working with today how a well trained and adjusted dog will help to calm another dog. She was great and did everything I wanted her to without orders. She just did what she needed to by reading the other dog. He is young and quite excitable and everytime he calmed and paid attention to his owner we went a little closer to him. He would get new interest in her and resettle because she kept showing him calming signals by averting her glances at him and either standing with her side facing or sitting with her back turned. He started showing the beginnings of some calming signals himself. This was the 6th appointment I have had with this woman and her dog (a bernedoodle). He still has a ways to go, but I see clear progress with him.
 

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It’s so rewarding when y see progress like that. Good girl Lily.
 
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