Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yeah, Definitely Jinxed It

Well, after writing my lovely post about how much better Sagan's behavior has been, he has had some fairly large difficulties this week.  But let's start with the positive.  I've started running with Sagan, doing Couch to 5K with him and Ross.  He already has some nice running manners.  It has been fairly easy to control the leash reactivity while running.  I need to make sure I am proactive and only run in places where I can take a wide berth to avoid possible conflicts.

He also did a wonderful job in obedience...ignored a leashed dog making contact with his butt.

On the negative, had a defcon 10 moment with both dogs and people this week.  The encounter with the person happened when Sagan was meeting Duncan, a 4 month old sheltie pup:

Sagan tolerated a LOT of puppy behavior.

And tolerated a young child well.

We did our meeting at Dacca Park, a very TINY off leash park.  Figured we were good being along here.  Toward the end of our time, a man, daughter, and old hound came up.  Rather than leash him and ensure a bad dog reaction, I decided to leave him off leash and let him have a good dog experience and chance the people.  Sagan saw everyone, sniffed the dog (calm dog), and then realized that the scary man was suddenly scary.  Hackles, repeated crazy barking with Sagan standing 5 feet from the man...circled, barking.  Scared the poor girl half to death.  Finally got him back.  Leashed him for 5 minutes, and decided to try again.  He TORE around the park trying to find the man.  Fortunately, he looked back at us and decided to come back.

In retrospect, I should have leashed him and left when I saw the other dog, but....

The dog experience came today.  Arranged a dog playdate with the folks(dogs) I normally have Sagan play with.  When I arrived, 2 new dogs were there with my friend...2 boxers.  Again, my decision making skills and advocacy for Sagan were faulty.  Knowing his reactivity, I should have asked her to leave the 2 new dogs in her car until I got Sagan in and off leash.  Instead, her dog ran up to Sagan.  I consciously kept the leash very loose, and started to turn away with him after a short sniff.  I am not sure who aggressed first, but I kept spinning with Sagan's head, and the other dog kept aggressing, and aggressing.  I am pretty certain I got nipped on the hand in the process, and I am surprised this didn't end up worse.  The lady had to physically remove her dog (LARGE boxer).  I find out her dog is also leash reactive, which is why she didn't leash him.  They did figure it out off leash, though her dog was continuing to harass Sagan a bit for the first 10 minutes or so.  Time will tell if my one-shot learner learned something that stuck.  Otherwise, we had a nice time playing chuckit at Algona Pacific Elementary in Auburn.  A young boy joined us for the whole time...and was crazy, throwing the ball (accidentally) at us.  Sagan did GREAT with him, despite his crazy behavior.

Lessons (re)learned:  advocate, advocate, advocate, and know who you're letting your dog mingle with.

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