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I agree. Our weekly playdates have been sanity savers. Since Peggy's been sick, we've skipped the last two, and I'm worried we won't be able to get them back on track.

I need to start working on Peggy's obedience in public spaces, too. She goes through her paces easy peasy at home, but I'm usually too flustered when we're out and about. It's hard to ask a dog to calmly focus on you when you're not calm yourself.

Other than the dog park, is there somewhere you go for practising the basics? I suppose I could go to the far edge of a parking lot. We use spaces like that to practise walking, but I never ask for much more than a loose leash and the occasional sit.
We do a lot at the dog park - if there is another dog, she has to do a sit and stay and look at me to get me to open the two gates, and a sit stay while I walk in and walk around, leaving the gate open, of no one else is there, then, after some tearing around, sit, stay and distance work with a ball, heeling, recall, etc. We also practice if there is a dog who isnt interested in playing.

Downtown after dark is my other favourite place to practice, especially for heelwork. Past bars and patios, but little foot traffic. Not busy, lots of good sniffs, not hot. Sometimes daytime can be too stimulating for her downtown (ok, and me, i hate crowds, so I get bothered and she behaves poorly) if its busy, and people are more inclined to bug us. Touristy areas and busy nature trails are great too. We did work in transit stations when she was a puppy. Car dealerships/the mechanics and the vets office are also good places to practice (or were, pre-Covid). Canadian Tire and garden centres, too. I ask for down stay a lot when I browse.
 

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Downtown after dark is my other favourite place to practice, especially for heelwork. Past bars and patios, but little foot traffic. Not busy, lots of good sniffs, not hot. Sometimes daytime can be too stimulating for her downtown (ok, and me, i hate crowds, so I get bothered and she behaves poorly) if its busy, and people are more inclined to bug us.
I've often wondered why Gracie turned out so well when I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and living in the city (I think) was a big part of that. She was riding the subway from day 1 and I was too clueless to feel anxious abut making it positive for her. I was chill so she was chill.

Thanks for inspiring me to get out more with Peggy.
 

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Part of the fun of adolescence is that you have days like yesterday (ugh) and weeks like the last week (double ugh) but then you get a day like today where you can actually see who your dog might someday become.

We went out to get the mail and encountered multiple strangers from a distance: The first she stopped and stared at, but no barks or growls or pulling. The second she didn't even acknowledge. Then a big van pulled into our driveway to turn around.

Oh great! Here we go!

But she just glanced at the van and then kept walking towards the front door. WHAT?? I feel like I suddenly have an 8-year-old poodle. Will enjoy it while it lasts. :)
 

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I hope that Sisko is ok and that there is nothing medical with him. I think he and Renn are very much alike in some of their behaviors. I don't think I will ever trust Renn completely with others. Now he has been doing so well on his walks with my daughter and last night he wasn't. He was sitting nicely and being quiet until a child spoke and said can I pet him. Then he went ballistic barking nasty, my daughter said she was so embarrassed at his behavior and she had never seen that in him before. I'm not quite sure what I am going to do about it right now. When he is in the "red zone" his mind is gone so we have to work on him not getting there. I am thinking at this point he is not going to be a sweet cuddly dog to children or people he doesn't know. I'm disappointed but if the is what I have I will deal with it. I certainly don't want to take a chance of him biting someone. But meanwhile we will continue to work on it. I may train him to a muzzle, I already know he hates it but ..So you see we all have those days. Today is a new one so back to work we go.
Thank you, @Mufar42. I think they are too! It would be awesome if they could meet. They could probably balance each other out very nicely. Is Renn fearful of new people?
 

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I had not thought about it but yes he is, however the good part is he will now usually stay in a sit next to us if we are out walking. Now we get a delivery of medical supplies every 4 weeks, I usually keep him behind a gate when someone comes in and he would always bark at the delivery guy when he walks thru the house, as the put the stuff away for us. But yesterday he did not, he went to his mat and sat and just watched. Now he isn't that good to stay on his mat but he will go to it now for his meals and when he decides he wants something and I've ignored him. Last nights walk was better, he saw a little dog and only looked. I think he is a fearful dog , probably my fault, though he wasn't much different when he was just months old. He would bark and lunge toward people and kids n I didn't let him. I probably should have but people get scared even of a big puppy so I didn't. I think by holding him back I let him know he could scare the scary people away. From what I've been reading this is what I've done. So now we are working very slowly though I think he will never feel totally comfortable with strangers he will learn its ok to just sit at my side and wait for me. I had hopes to visit nursing homes with him but he won't be that guy. I'm ok with it though. He is a great cuddle bug to us and when I walk I don't have to be too fearful of someone who has bad intentions. As long as I can take walks with him I'm happy. I am going to try and condition him to a muzzle and if I do I will take his training further to see how much fear I can eliminate as I don't want to take a chance of him biting anyone though I don't think he would but you never know. (I think I'm fearful too).
 

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(I think I'm fearful too).
I can relate to this. In my case, I had a much harder time transitioning to a larger dog than I expected. I would swear up and down "Gracie never growled like that!" But then I watched a video yesterday of her growling at the TV.

It was funny when she did it. People were never afraid of her....so I didn't worry so much....so all her outings and interactions with the world were purely positive...

I think it's definitely all connected.
 

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I can relate to this. In my case, I had a much harder time transitioning to a larger dog than I expected. I would swear up and down "Gracie never growled like that!" But then I watched a video yesterday of her growling at the TV.

It was funny when she did it. People were never afraid of her....so I didn't worry so much....so all her outings and interactions with the world were purely positive...

I think it's definitely all connected.
Misha likes to growl. He's a growly dog. He growls all the time in play, often furiously as if he's pretending to be very angry. He even growls at his toys when he's playing by himself. He growls when he's frustrated too. It is very subtle to tell whether the growl is in jest or real. Real growls are reserved for something he thinks is dangerous that he is alerting to, or if I'm trying to do something that makes him feel genuinely uncomfortable or in pain.

It's frustrating because he growls during over excited play. And he often gets over excited when he meets puppies. I always tell owners that he's growling because he likes their puppy but they look like they don't believe me.
 

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Misha likes to growl. He's a growly dog. He growls all the time in play, often furiously as if he's pretending to be very angry. He even growls at his toys when he's playing by himself. He growls when he's frustrated too. It is very subtle to tell whether the growl is in jest or real. Real growls are reserved for something he thinks is dangerous that he is alerting to, or if I'm trying to do something that makes him feel genuinely uncomfortable or in pain.

It's frustrating because he growls during over excited play. And he often gets over excited when he meets puppies. I always tell owners that he's growling because he likes their puppy but they look like they don't believe me.
Peggy thinks too many things are worthy of alert growls and always has. The worst was when she growled at a kid on the beach, at around 5 months old. And the dad looked me right in the eye and did a throat-slitting motion with his finger. That's not the kind of experience that ever leaves you.

In that case, she was telling us she was extremely worried about the tiny creature that was running erratically. But she does have a range of growls, which are sometimes misunderstood. She has a frustrated growl that she uses when pouncing on a frisbee she's failed to catch in the air, and that same growl will sometimes come out when she's playing with other dogs. It alarms some owners, but they relax when they actually look at how she's playing and realize it's not aggressive.

The difference is that NO ONE would have been alarmed hearing that sound from floppy little Gracie. She was only about 10 lbs at a year old, so pretty much anything she did was met with delighted laughter. I believe that shapes a dog's temperament: If every human they encounter is smiling and relaxed, it's going to make them feel relaxed, too.
 

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Peggy thinks too many things are worthy of alert growls and always has. The worst was when she growled at a kid on the beach, at around 5 months old. And the dad looked me right in the eye and did a throat-slitting motion with his finger. That's not the kind of experience that ever leaves you.

In that case, she was telling us she was extremely worried about the tiny creature that was running erratically. But she does have a range of growls, which are sometimes misunderstood. She has a frustrated growl that she uses when pouncing on a frisbee she's failed to catch in the air, and that same growl will sometimes come out when she's playing with other dogs. It alarms some owners, but they relax when they actually look at how she's playing and realize it's not aggressive.

The difference is that NO ONE would have been alarmed hearing that sound from floppy little Gracie. She was only about 10 lbs at a year old, so pretty much anything she did was met with delighted laughter. I believe that shapes a dog's temperament: If every human they encounter is smiling and relaxed, it's going to make them feel relaxed, too.
Yeah definitely. That's probably true, though I think you also see a lot of hyper-anxious growly biting toy dogs that probably get that way because people never took their complaints seriously. People suck at listening to dogs.

But also I still can't believe somebody did that at the beach. That's horrible.
 

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Yeah definitely. That's probably true, though I think you also see a lot of hyper-anxious growly biting toy dogs that probably get that way because people never took their complaints seriously. People suck at listening to dogs.

But also I still can't believe somebody did that at the beach. That's horrible.
That's a good point. Nature and nurture are always gonna go hand in hand.

And luckily after that awful beach experience, we ran into two absolute angel children and their angel dad in the parking lot. I told them the story of what had just happened, and the little boy said he'd be happy to meet Peggy, to teach her that kids are okay. And he and his sister loved on her in the most polite, appropriate way.

If we had family nearby, she'd have experiences like that every day. 😭

A photo from right before the "throat slitting" encounter:

468515


Can't believe she was ever such a wooly little mammoth-dog. I feel tired just remembering those early days. Lol. Good to reflect back sometimes. :)
 

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Peggy thinks too many things are worthy of alert growls and always has. The worst was when she growled at a kid on the beach, at around 5 months old. And the dad looked me right in the eye and did a throat-slitting motion with his finger. That's not the kind of experience that ever leaves you.
Scrolled up to see what you all were talking about, and ugh. I’ve had a few of those type of encounters myself, but nothing like that. People can be downright nasty sometimes. And why was Dad letting his kid play with an unknown dog, anyways?! Good grief. Some days I wish animal behavior was taught along with biology in school.
 

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😉😂 I’m not wishing too hard. I totally know what it’s like to have embarrassing dog moments in training classes. Hey, I think that sounds like a good thread if there isn’t one already! We are actually starting class tonight so we’ll see how it goes!
Woo hoo! So fun! Hope it goes really well. Be sure to start that thread when you get home. I think it'll be a good one!
 

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Scrolled up to see what you all were talking about, and ugh. I’ve had a few of those type of encounters myself, but nothing like that. People can be downright nasty sometimes. And why was Dad letting his kid play with an unknown dog, anyways?! Good grief. Some days I wish animal behavior was taught along with biology in school.
To be fair, the kid was in his own little kid world, just running around doing kid things.

But we've definitely had parents send their kids running over to Peggy, and it was even worse with our last dog. We'd have to pry her out of tiny arms while the parents just stood there. So awkward having to parent another person's child. And so scary imagining that kid reaching for the wrong dog. Could turn out very badly for all involved. :(

Now I speak loudly and clearly: She's very young! She might nip! That usually stops 'em in their tracks.

We actually got to practise saying things like that in our puppy class, with the trainer and her assistant pretending to be overly enthusiastic strangers. Extremely helpful!
 

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I'm happy to hear that she is snoozing now!

Thank you. I was crying earlier because I felt bad for him. He goes to the vet this Thursday. They're letting us going in with him! I was scared that they wouldn't, but I'm happy that they will.
I had poured myself 2 cups of wine last night, but it was in a tiny wine glass.

Sisko is 2 years and 5 months.
Thank you. Sisko goes to the vet this Thursday, and we will be able to go in with him. I was scared that they wouldn't let us go in with him.
How did he make out today at the vet?
 

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PtP - 100% agree about the extra leeway for small dogs. Poor Annie agrees too - its NOT FAIR. The neighbours are delighted when Trixie runs over to see them, barking and wiggling. They call her over. Annie? Even barking and wiggling at a distance on leash they are nervous, and they never call her, and barely touch her if they do deign to pet her. A quick pat pat and done not a cooing session.God forbid she jump on them like Trixie does! Trixie had grandma love and hug and pet her, and bounces and scratches grandma's leg to get scraps. Annie got swatted, and warned away and scolded the one time she did jump.

I have far more people ask to pet Trixie than Annie - even if Trixie is straining away in fear because she thinks most people are scary and Annie is happily vibrating and waving her tail.

Definitelu Much easier in some ways to be a small dog- no one is afraid of you and the consequences of bad behaviour are so much less.
 

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Aw! That just made me want to give Annie a hug. It's hard when people aren't receptive to our dogs. Hurts my feelings on their behalf.

On the other hand, my husband took Peggy to the post office today, and she met multiple people who were thrilled to have her jump on them! Ack. I'm glad she had some happy encounters, but really at a loss as to how to break this habit.

She's almost entirely stopped jumping on us, so I know she's not hopeless. And our trainer got her to stop jumping at our outdoor playdates, but....she was right back to jumping when class resumed.

It's almost like we have to train for every possible scenario, which seems completely unrealistic. Or maybe it's just a matter of exposing her to so many people, the novelty wears off?
 

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PtP - 100% agree about the extra leeway for small dogs. Poor Annie agrees too - its NOT FAIR. The neighbours are delighted when Trixie runs over to see them, barking and wiggling. They call her over. Annie? Even barking and wiggling at a distance on leash they are nervous, and they never call her, and barely touch her if they do deign to pet her. A quick pat pat and done not a cooing session.God forbid she jump on them like Trixie does! Trixie had grandma love and hug and pet her, and bounces and scratches grandma's leg to get scraps. Annie got swatted, and warned away and scolded the one time she did jump.

I have far more people ask to pet Trixie than Annie - even if Trixie is straining away in fear because she thinks most people are scary and Annie is happily vibrating and waving her tail.

Definitelu Much easier in some ways to be a small dog- no one is afraid of you and the consequences of bad behaviour are so much less.
Poor Annie! I do try to keep my energy very calm when I'm meeting big dogs because I'd really rather not be jumped on and so many young dogs jump. Usually if I'm more subdued they will be too. But big dogs are just the right petting height!
 
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