Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Today's Cloud

I'm getting frustrated with our training. I don't know if it's the weather or what (finally freezing, hooray no more mud!), but we're having trouble actually finding dogs to train against. I'm not sure how long it's been since we even saw another dog while out walking.

And because I've said it, now we'll stumble onto a dozen of them unexpectedly tomorrow, completely surrounding us, won't we...?

Don't worry, Mom, I can take them!

It sounds like a weird thing to complain about when you've got a dog who has problems meeting other dogs. But this unplanned way of training really isn't in my nature. I like to make schedules and plan ahead, and we need to meet other dogs - at a suitable distance, too - in order to get anywhere, and just wandering around outside hoping to come across one is getting annoying! Every time we come back home after not meeting a single dog feels like a waste. Not to mention when we meet one unprepared, like just as we're leaving the house! That's not just a waste, it's a step backwards (since it becomes a surprise, and too close, and so on).

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.


Today's Sunshine

Monster is all better today, which is a relief! I always worry when he's sick - with a human you can ask what's wrong, but with a dog you can only worry...

What're you talking about, I'm as awesome as always!

Today's Cloud

Monster's not feeling too well today. Don't know what's wrong... He's both anxious and tired, and he's vomited twice and his paws are a little cool I think. However, he still eats, drinks and behaves relatively normally, so I'll just keep an eye on him for now. Hopefully he'll be all better tomorrow.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Today's Sunshine

We haven't really been doing much today, so there haven't been much chance of success. On the other hand - no failures!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dealing With Male Stoooooopidness

I wrote a while back about Monster's behavior and my suspicion of neighboring bitches in heat. We managed to get that under control, and he'll be keeping his equipment (for now). If anyone has similar problems and would like some tips on how to deal with it, this is what we did:

First of all, this has got to stop

Snurfl, skroffz, grnf

He may sniff the ground as usual, but he may not stop and focus on a particular spot. Certainly, there will be no pawing or licking the ground allowed. Chances are, he's found a delicious puddle of pee...

Secondly, there must be severe restrictions placed on him adding to the local bouquet


He shouldn't be allowed to mark all over the place. Now, this is something I believe all dog owners should be mindful of in general. I never allow Monster to pee indiscriminately: mailboxes, trash cans, garden gates, parked cars, etc are strictly forbidden - and should be for all dogs. Allowing your dog to pee on something someone else will have to handle is just plain rude!

However, in heated times, this rule becomes somewhat sharper. In fact, Monster is only allowed to pee in a very few places while out on walks, and must ask permission before doing so


This is another tool we already have, and I believe everyone should have. Having your dog ask before doing something just makes everything so much easier, and helps prevent unexpected problems. However, Monster doesn't usually have to ask before peeing (he does have to ask before being allowed to go ahead on a long leash, but once out he can do as he pleases), but while the yearning behavior was going on I changed this so I could control how much he marked territory.

And finally, this is just a complete no-no!

Hehehe, how you doin?

It may seem obvious, but not everyone thinks about it, it seems. If your dog is having problems like Monster was, don't allow him to sniff other dogs for a while. The lady in the picture is spayed, and certainly not in heat, however a male dog will fixate on nearly anything if given the chance (unless he's naturally easy going in these matters), and sticking his nose up a friendly bitch's rear is just going to be heaven for him...

There you go, nothing particularly earth shattering to reveal after all (as usual, right)! And you may notice all of this revolves around scent in some way or other, and that's precisely the point. The more your dog smells the good stuff, the more his hormonal balance will shift into mating focus, and it becomes a spiral (I'll leave negative or positive out of it, because I'm not sure Monster and I are in agreement on that). Stop him from getting continuous "fixes" all the time, and chances are good he'll snap out of it...

And if your dog won't eat, can't think, and just whines and howls all day and night for weeks on end, in spite of you trying to get him to calm down? I think you should consider neutering him, because that's just no way to live. As I've said before, I'm against castrating dogs for the owner's comfort, and certainly as an attempt to replace proper training (which is doomed to fail, as well), but I do believe there are legitimate cases where it really is for the dog's own good. Monster turned out to be salvageable, but he's still not fully matured, so we're keeping the option open...

Wait... What!?

Good Vs. Evil (or Why I'm a Lazy Slob)


Long time no see, right?

I know what you think about her, but you missed me, right!?

Yeah, I didn't manage very long before I completely lost the plot on this blog... It started out with me feeling a bit under the weather for a few days, enough for me to consider myself legitimately excused from posting. But then I felt a bit better, and really should have started up again.

You wouldn't believe how hard she's made me work...

But I didn't. Feeling sorry for myself is what I do best, and I let myself drag out the "poor me" part for a few days extra. And then came the inescapable shame phase. Which I always deal with, so very maturely, by ignoring the source. Meaning, every time I thought about the blog, I felt bad about having ignored it - and found the perfect solution to that by continuing to ignore it!

Yeah, I'm not bright. Or proud.

Hmmm. I wonder if this is negative reinforcement? Or extinction?

Anyway, we're back now!

Oh yeah? We'll see...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Today's Cloud

Definitely a bitch in heat. Or possibly 100 bitches in heat.

He keeps demanding to go outside, but once there he'll just sniff around and drool. After having been out, he's hopeless when back inside. Even after a long walk, with lots of tasks and hard work, he'll still start whining and pacing as soon as we get home.

Well, I say whining, but that's not really the right word for it. Cane Corsos can whine, but their goto sound is more of a toy car burglar alarm. I used to think it was cute. Meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep, meep... I may be changing my mind.
(Or losing it.)

However, now that I'm sure what's going on, we'll see if I can turn it around. At first I thought something could be wrong (he's only 18 months after all, I haven't had a lot of experience with how he deals with this - all dogs are different), so I was more concerned with figuring it out than making it stop. Perhaps his stomach was upset, for example. Bad idea to deny him the opportunity to go outside (unless you enjoy cleaning). But today I'm convinced, so now the counter attack begins.

If it works, he keeps his balls. Otherwise, they will be up for consideration.
(I'm against neutering dogs for reasons other than their own well being, but if a dog can't function - can't think about anything else - when he smells a bitch in heat, it's for his own good that he won't have to go through that.)

Today's Sunshine

Right now, he's sleeping.

Yeah, that's it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Today's Cloud

Monster and Dobie met for the first time since Christmas today. Dobie usually spends a couple of days each week at our house, but we weren't back on schedule until today. It's not going great. They're not fighting, but things are pretty tense. Right now they're sleeping (I should be, too), but as soon as one of them gets too close to a resource (food bowl, toy, favorite place, me), or moves too suddenly they're both facing off against each other.

Not a comfortable environment right now...

Today's Sunshine

Wow, really late... What am I still doing up?

So, today. Um... Not a great day, lots of nerves. I wonder if the local bitches are going into heat? (Oh, that sounds so rude!) To find something good... Ah, whatever it's late. Today's sunshine: It Could Be Worse. (Words to live by, believe me.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today's Cloud

This evening, The Kid had football practice (or soccer if you're American, which I refuse to call it because only one of these sports actually focus on playing with your feet...). Usually, I drive him there and then use the opportunity to train Monster in the parking lot and around the field (which has an enormous chain link fence around it, so don't worry, he's not posing a threat to the children), just basic contact and disruption exercises (like maintaining eye contact when the coach is yelling, or not abandoning correct position when a ball thuds into the fence right beside us).

Come on! I wanna play!

There are never any other dogs there, so we get to focus more on the basics (although it's a highly disruptive environment for Monster, so nothing is easy). But tonight something must have been going on in the sports hall by the field. When we arrived we had trouble finding a parking space, and in the short time I was there more cars kept arriving. People were running and shouting, both adults and children, and Monster couldn't cope. He became increasingly excited, and when one car disgorged a couple of children who were then followed by a large man (presumably their father) carrying something in a raised arm and shouting at the kids running in front of him, Monster snapped. He'd built up tension for several minutes, and apparently interpreted the situation as a threat to the kids (the group was moving away from us at quite a distance, so it's doubtful he could have felt the threat was to us), because he went into full aggressive display...

That was it for me, and we left. There's no reason to be skulking around in a dark parking lot terrifying stragglers, and there's certainly no reason to put Monster in a situation where he's just going to overload. Setbacks like this hurt, though. On bad days I just want to stay home and give up.

Oh no, you won't. I'll start with the carrot, but there will be a stick if this doesn't work...

But! Tomorrow is another day, and all that. And next week The Kid (who got home safe and sound, so don't worry) has football practice again. We'll be there, and we'll do better.

(Although, if the parking lot is as full as it was tonight, we'll probably not even get out of the car. We've got a ways to go before we can handle that...)

Today's Sunshine

Not entirely sure if this is actually good, but at least I think it's interesting. Out walking today we again spotted Monster's new friends. Instead of his usual aggressive behavior towards strange dogs, and - more interestingly - instead of his usual playful, tail wagging, almost begging greeting towards old friends, he began stalking them. He moved like a lion spotting prey, lowering his body so his shoulders became sharp points and moving very smoothly towards them. At one point, about 40-50 feet off, he lay down in the grass. He's never shown this behavior before, and I was fascinated. I have heard trainers warning others against this behavior in aggressive dogs, so I was a bit apprehensive. But curiosity won out, and I allowed him to do as he wished (while keeping an eye out for any of the usual warning signs).

In the end, when we reached them he happily jumped up at them, paws spread out in front of him like he was catching a large ball, and then greeted them normally. I think he was playing them some sort of practical joke, kind of "Ta-daaaah!"...

I wouldn't be without this dog for anything in the world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Cloud

Monster has become quite territorial at home, today he barked his head off at people passing by our garden. This evening he's constantly barking under his breath, listening for far away suspicious noises. And if they get closer than far away, he gets up and tells the front door off so loud it's shaking.

It's rude and it's annoying, but what's the problem? Is he nervous? Bored? Uncomfortable (the scabs from our Christmas Horror are starting to fall off, perhaps they're itchy)? Something's off. Increasing basic training tomorrow (going through old stuff instead of adding new), and scratching off all the scabs I can get at tonight, and then we'll see...

Today's Sunshine

Monster is showing good progress with our walks. He rarely pulls, and he's paying more attention to me instead of just sticking his nose to the ground.

Yeah, that's all I've got...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Today's Cloud

Today I got caught in a speed trap. Well, that sucks for me (Seriously, that mistake is expensive! Well, I guess it should be, I just don't know how I'm going to afford food for the next few months...), but it doesn't really belong on this blog. Except, the man in the car behind me as we were getting ticketed had a very bad reaction to the situation. He started screaming at the female police officer dealing with him, and tried to get out of the car. As she kept his door closed, he busted out on the other side, rounded his car and got up in her face, screaming and waving his arms around. Another (female) police officer came to help out, and he got even worse. Monster was in a crate in the back of my car, so he was closest to the situation. When the man first started to behave aggressively to the police, Monster began growling and barking, but when the second officer arrived and it escalated to some shoving (and incoherent ranting), Monster went berserk. I thought he would bust out of the crate (and then the car), the whole car was rocking from his rage. I was honestly concerned the cage wouldn't hold him.

Monster has some issues with loud men (courtesy of my father, who just won't listen), and he can become quite protective of others if he considers a man threatening. I'm sure this man was having a very bad day, and for whatever reason he felt himself justified to behave in this way. And I'm sure we didn't matter to him at all. But I couldn't help it, all through his tantrum (which we never saw the end to, when we left he was surrounded by five or six police officers, still screaming), the only thing on my mind was "Would you please stop! Can't you see you're upsetting the dog!? And god knows, we sure don't need any more issues to work through!"

Which is ridiculous. Why would this man (who wasn't really rational, even) consider how he affected my dog. Clearly he had other things on his mind (or possibly no mind whatsoever), and most people don't really bother with how their behavior affects strange dogs even when they have nothing else to focus on. But still. Even though I realize the others involved have a lot more to take issue with (both the man himself and the police officers), I still wonder.

Why? Was that really necessary? Really? Did you have to add another couple of degrees to our uphill battle? Would it hurt you to be a little more considerate of your surroundings?

And then I remember that The Kid was in the car too, and certainly didn't need to see that either...

Today's Sunshine

Today Monster and I had my nephew over to visit all day. Monster  loooves him, and becomes ecstatic every time they meet. Today, he did however calm down amazingly fast.

Later, I sent The Kid out in the bushes to lay a track for Monster. This was very exciting, because it was the first time I've set Monster on the trail of someone other than myself (usually, I drive off a distance, get out of the car and lay a trail, go back home, wait an hour or two, and take Monster for a walk over to the tracking area). Monster grasped the task immediately (I'd let the trail cool for just an hour, making it a little easier), and set off. He did the track work very well, however he still went off track a couple of times. I hadn't considered that not only was the scent different (since it wasn't mine), but also the distractions. If The Kid made a single sound, Monster would get distracted, looking back and wanting to be a part of whatever was going on. Still, he also really loves tracking, and returned to the task very quickly without encouragement.

We'd laid a trail of about 400 feet, through forest and bush, so not very advanced. But still fun! And as usual, Monster overshot the trail ending (where The Kid had kicked up a big fuss and left a favorite toy and some treats), sticking to the trail as it left the woods and returned to the road. I still haven't figured out a strong enough reward to mark the end; toys, treats, praise, play and distraction does not work. He'll accept it, quite happily, if I don't allow him to continue on without it, but he'll stick his nose right back down again as soon as he gets a chance. I'm going to have to find some advice on this...

And then we walked back home, and Monster conked out on the floor in front of the wood-burning stove and started snoring. There's nothing that can beat that sound of contentment.

What!? The floor gets hard after a while!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Double Cloud

Monster has had two big reactions the past two days. First against a dog passing by as we were leaving the house, and then against two men walking behind us on the road. He showed he was about to begin acting out very clearly, his body language became very upright and he looked fixated. But despite the clear warning, and the fact that his reaction wasn't immediate, I could not get him to stand down. No distraction, no command, and no attempt to leave would steer him off course... He also remained tense for several minutes after the "threats" were gone.

Not good.

Oh, just give up already. I'm nuts!

Double Sunshine

I've got to stop making single excuses for every time I miss a day of posting. The simple explanation is: I'm a goof.

Is this supposed to be news?

So, sunshine from yesterday and today. Monster is showing good progress in accepting new rules while out walking. He still tries to rush around and pull, but he is becoming quicker to remember his manners when asked.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today's Cloud

Today really drove home how I've allowed all training to center around Monster's aggression problems. After a great playtime, running free with his new friends, Monster proved embarrassingly difficult to get back on leash... He'll come when called, but run straight by. And if he realizes I'm about to put the leash on him, he'll stay just out of reach and glower at me. This needs lots of work!

Sure, I used to do this. But now I know you just want to ruin all the fun!

Today's Sunshine

Today Monster and I met a man out walking his two dogs (Labrador/Border Collie mix, and a little white Fuzzball of some sort, both ladies). They are very well behaved, and he always walks them off leash. He's one of the very few (perhaps the only one by now?) who isn't scared of Monster, and he first walked up and greeted Monster (invaluable, Monster needs experience with greeting strangers), and then convinced me to let his dogs greet Monster over on a green by the side of the road... I don't really believe Monster is going to hurt anyone, he's really quite friendly once he gets over the terror, but I do worry his behavior is going to freak people out. When a dog looks like Monster, people aren't going to cut him the kind of slack they'd give a Poodle.

How could anyone prefer a Poodle to my handsome self?!

Monster did certainly growl and tense up, but when they didn't back away he became interested enough to drop the act. They played together (Monster still on the leash) for quite some time. Eventually I was talked into following the man and his dogs to a much more remote area (OK, this is starting to sound weird... It's not that kind of story, all right?), and there let Monster off the leash to play more freely. It was awesome! Monster really needs positive meetings like this, and I feel happy for him that not everyone hates him too.

Now, if only I had a reliable recall...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today's Cloud

The weather is out to get me. I'm serious, it's got it in for me! Three times today I tried to take Monster on a walk, all three times a hailstorm blew in! I actually stood by the window and waited for a clear blue sky... But it was a trap! So very little time outside today.

Fine by me. Hail stones hurt.

And then this evening I find five inches of water in the basement. I'm telling you, the weather is out to get me!

Today's Sunshine

I've been working hard, at least!
Er, Monster's been fairly tolerant of his lousy owner today?

No, I know! I can do what you do in a job interview and turn a cloud into sunshine. I have been very good today, in realizing a mistake I've made.

Monster used to be very well behaved on leash, when no dogs were around. By that I'm not trying to make a "My dog is wonderful, except..."-claim, I simply mean that he'd never pull on the leash, he wouldn't try to stay and sniff if I wanted to move on, if given free rain on long leash he'd generally choose to stay by my side. He was simply very well behaved.

But when we began our positive training, while he got better when seeing dogs, his general behavior on leash got worse. He started pulling and stressing, demanding to be allowed to sniff and mark territory, he'd pick up sticks and demand to play, and so on. I was told this was to do with his general stress levels, from changing methods, which made sense. I was to keep my focus on the goal - removing or at least reducing his aggression - and not worry too much about the initial stress.

And so I let it go. But today it hit me, Monster's not showing general signs of increased stress any more. He hasn't for some time. But his behavior on leash is still rude. I've let it go on for far too long. Well, it stops here! As of tomorrow, Monster's rude leash behavior will no longer be tolerated.

What!? Who snitched on me!?!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Angel To Monster

Why is Monster like this?

Like what!? I'm perfect!

This is a difficult post to write. I've tried a couple of times before, but I can't seem to get it right. I've finally decided that I can't really write this hoping to sound objective, so here goes anyway.

I think everyone with a problem dog find themselves making excuses.
"He's never like this at home."
"He's actually very sweet."
"He's not really angry, he's playing tough because he's scared"
If you haven't said it, you've probably heard it (and rolled your eyes at it). But nothing sounds as pathetic as when someone tries to explain what happened to make their little angel misbehave...

Misbehave? You were done with this, I saw you throw it away.

But regardless if you think I'm just making deluded excuses for a hopeless case (of a "bad breed", even), this is the truth as I see it.

Monster was attacked three times as a puppy. Twice by a German Shepherd lady who lives down the street. Turns out she has a problem with puppies, and she simply tried to kill Monster. And once by Dobie, who had some sort of nervous breakdown at a birthday party and decided to take it out on the safe target.

Monster didn't seem badly affected by this to me. He kept greeting these dogs (who were already his friends before the attacks) happily and willingly. I figured the best thing to do was not make a big deal out of it, just carry on with every day life. I actually still don't know what to do differently in this situation...

And then Monster hit puberty, and suddenly started his aggressive behavior towards dogs. As I understand it, his hormones suddenly provided him with a new outlet for the fear he'd been building, and it all came roaring out...

Well, it's not like she has any pictures of that. I'd eat the camera if she tried... 

And then I kept making it worse, first with that horrible first obedience class, and then with my desperate course corrections.

I wish a lot of things, but I don't blame anyone other than myself. Certainly not the dog, his breed, or his breeding. I wish I was a better person, who made better choices.

But this is our history so far, and I can't change it. But I can damn well learn from it! And I can do my best every day from here on. (Well, I probably won't, but I think I can manage a significantly higher average at least.)

Oh, you'd better...

Today's Cloud

On a walk today Monster and I met two people, out walking two dogs. Monster became overly interested in them when they were still more than 300 feet away. I rewarded a few times at this distance and then abandoned ship and turned around and walked up a side road. Monster kept twisting to look back, when the group passed our road he started barking shrilly, and when they had passed he remained focused on them. He remained at high excitement for the rest of the walk, wanting to pull on the leash and keep watch on the horizon.

Today's Sunshine

Not going well today. Since I have to pick something, I suppose I'll go with... It's still a pretty good day compared to a few months ago.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Today's Cloud

The weather we've been having today has revealed just how lazy and comfortable I am... It's very windy, with horizontal, freezing rain. But when you get a dog you sign up for days like this, and yet I've been cutting back on our outside time today. A lot.

And even inside, I've mostly just wanted to snuggle under a blanket in front of the fire instead of doing some indoor activity with Monster. In other words, I can't blame anything on the weather, I've been neglecting my dog because I felt like it and I could do it...

This is not allowed.

Today's Sunshine

We accidentally walked up to another dog today, while out walking. It was tied outside a house, sitting alone by a tree, and I didn't see it until we were just a few yards away - when it started barking at us. Monster did react, of course, pulling on the leash and sort of muttering. But no barking, growling, or screaming, and no lunging! I turned back around and walked off the way we came (walking past the dog would have been pushing our luck, I think, not to mention it would have been cruel to the poor guy who was all alone and couldn't get away if we scared him), and Monster followed pretty willingly. He remained excited for about a minute, and showed interest in going back, but he never fixated.

Today's Cloud

One thing we do occasionally when out training, is just standing outside our house by the road and watching the world. We just stand there, listening to children laughing in the distance, the neighborhood dogs barking, watching cars drive by, that sort of thing. I do it to let Monster take it all in, let him understand that the world is full of things happening that doesn't concern us at all. I don't ask anything of him when we do this, just that he stays calm beside me, but if he chooses to seek eye contact with me he gets a reward. This is not very easy for Monster, keeping still makes him more jumpy and he'll start looking for things to react to. When we're out walking and he reacts to something he's given a choice. I ask him to do something (like turn in a circle, or shake my hand, or something) instead of reacting to the dog/cat/whatever. But when we're just standing out by the road he gets to make his own decision. If a dog barks a few houses down, he can fixate on that, or he can sniff the grass, or he can choose to look at me, but I won't tell him what to do.

Since this is so hard for Monster, we don't stay out there for long (10-15 minutes), and I keep my eyes open so we'll be alone out there. There's no point trying to let him see a dog pass by as we're doing this, I know he'd fail so why put us through that?

But today the postman drove up as we were out there. Monster had been doing pretty well, the man was in a car, and the mailboxes are on the other side of the road... I figured it made for a nice new addition to the situation, I could see Monster was very interested but still calm. So we stayed.

Look, I keep telling you she's stupid. Why are you surprised?
Only, the postman didn't just drop off mail into the boxes and leave. He had a package to deliver, on our side of the road, making him get out of his car and pass right by us. Monster almost made it, but it was too much. As the man was returning to his car Monster started barking and growling at him (most likely because the man was moving away from us, making Monster braver).

This of course upset the postman, which I can absolutely understand. He was just out doing his job, and suddenly a giant dog is threatening him. While Monster was several yards away when he started acting up, and he was very firmly leashed (not to mention that if he could somehow get off his leash - which he won't - he'd run off in the other direction. Mr Bravery he is not...), I'm sure he looked very threatening to this man who didn't know him or understand that he was just putting on a show.

I had put all three of us in a bad situation, one which could have been completely avoided if it wasn't for my recurring bout of hubris... Shame on me, quite honestly.

Today's Sunshine

Monster and I had a couple of kids stop by for a while today. One of them is Monster's most favorite friend/toy in the world, and the other is an incredibly annoying teenager who just can't hear words like "Don't rile him up, he gets too excited!"
(I hope you're reading this, Teen Monster. But then again, it wouldn't do any good...)

Oh, boooo! I think they're fun!!!
Having Monster around kids always makes me nervous. Not because he's vicious or defensive, but because he loves them so much his size becomes a problem. He wants to play, he wants to cuddle, he wants to show them all his toys, and his brain just short circuits trying to do it all at once. He'll run around in circles, bumping into people, throwing toys around, and trying to get up to lick faces... It's nice that he's so friendly, but I still have to watch carefully and try to manage the situation, because while he doesn't mean harm he can still cause harm.

Oh, come on! PLAAAAY!!!

But today, he was practically mellow by our standards! Sure, he tried to sit in their laps when they sat down, and he fetched some things to show off, and he wanted some kisses, but he was much less intense. His movements weren't the near panicked bumblings of trying to do it all at once, and he was slow enough to give us a chance to see what he was doing before he rammed into us.

(This makes it sound like I'm just standing around watching Monster mow people down left and right, crossing my fingers and wishing on a star he'll stop soon. Of course I do actively try to manage his behavior. I don't have a big enough basement to bury the evidence if I would just turn my back and hope for the best every time someone walks through the door...)

And to top it off, when we walked them out to the car as they were leaving (for any chance of peace and quiet Monster needs to see people leave - if they just walk out the door he'll keep waiting and searching for them for the rest of the day - so we always follow guests out and watch them drive away), a dog was passing by just across the road. This would ordinarily be a very bad situation, the dog being so close to our home, it being dark out, Monster being already wound up from playing with the kids, plus a chance to show off/defend his guests. But while Monster did tense up slightly, and start to fixate a bit, he didn't move up to acting out aggression. He turned away when asked, and followed me walking in the other direction. He did want to look back, but even when I turned around and walked us closer to the other dog he still paid attention to me and dropped his interest when asked to do something else.

Obviously this doesn't mean he's cured, but it's still nice to get a little encouragement out of thin air like this. It's going to work.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Refusal

Not doing a cloud today. Starting the new year off on a positive note!

... I'm not lazy or anything. Pinky swear.

New Year's Sunshine

I expected Monster to be more sensitive to dogs again after his ordeal over Christmas, but while he is more territorial towards dogs walking by the house when we're out in the yard, he hasn't shown a setback while out walking so far... Which is wonderful!

It may still be too early to say for sure, but I'm determined to take this to be a sign of successes to come in the new year. So there.

All down hill from here, then?