Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Would you like some cheese?

Sigh.

So, after I wrote A small rant the other day, I didn't anticipate having another such story to share with y'all.

This story is a bit more uplifting, anyway.

Elka and I were walking back home from the park, and on the same street at my prior rant took place. Perhaps we should take a different street? I'm getting awfully tired of these situations, which only seem to prove to Elka that other dogs are not to be trusted. I can't say I blamed her; if ever person I met ran at me screaming, I'd be a little leery and defensive.

But, anyway. We passed a house on which a woman was on the porch watering a hanging plant. I glanced at her on our way past, but she didn't appear to hear us. Then I heard her say something like "No" or "come back here" and heard the telltale jangle of tags and thought, "oh, here we go." This owner, unlike the last one, immediately said "I'm sorry!" and came to get her dog, as I turned and got Elka behind me. She and I and the little dog did another circle (he dodged his owner, who I think might have been wary of approaching the now growling Doberman) and ended up with me facing the little dog, and Elka behind me. I trusted Elka to stay behind me; I may have told her to do so. I honestly don't remember.

The little dog looked up at me. I'm not sure what his goal had been, really. He'd barked initially, but stopped. His face was shaggy so I couldn't see his eyes, and he had tiny ears also buried in his shagginess, so no help there. His tail was still, anyway. He looked like a 10 pound version of a Bearded Collie, which was odd. But, he looked up at me, and I looked down at him. I said "Go home." He stared(I think). As I had a handful of cheddar cheese cubes from my handy dandy dog treat training pouch, I tried the next tactic: I asked him "would you like a piece of cheese?" Slowly, I held it out. Slowly, he craned his little muzzle up and delicately took the offered cube of cheddar. "Now go home." He went home. I turned around, told Elka to heel, she did, and we went home too.

So, hooray to sharp white cheddar for diffusing the situation, and to Elka for listening to me and staying calm. In these situations, I try my darndest to keep the other dog out of her face. I don't want her to get blamed should a bite occur from either side. I really wish this nonsense would stop occurring; if you want to chill on the porch with your dog, by all means! Just have a gate up, or a tether for while you're there, something. I don't want anybody's dog to end up in the street, or picking a fight with a dog whose owner isn't able (or inclined) to keep them apart. 






32 comments:

  1. Well done Elka you really are a smart cookie. Three cheers for cheese. Wishing you all a happy Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  2. Yes, we have dogs [owners] like that too. One just across the street from us. Thank goodness for cheese.

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    1. Right across the street? That's discouraging.

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  3. Unfortunately people do not always think ahead about securing their dogs. Good thing you had that cheese.

    I had a funny experience with Storm yesterday morning. Since she is in season we air her on lead in front of the house. Usually there are no people walking in my neighborhood. Of course yesterday this lady is walking her huge GSD and of course Storm is barking her fool head off. I chalk that up to her being in season. I apologized to the walker. But Storm would not stop until I heeled and sat her. Goof ball. Then I was thinking I am one of "those" people...lol.

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    1. Yeah, it's not so fun being the one on the other side of the coin. There are occasions in which Elka is not nearly so behaved as to brag about, and I do apologize for her; lunge-y, pull-y, etc. but she never gains much ground when I'm paying attention.

      Funny that Storm was the barking one and not the GSD ;)

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  4. You and Elka handled that really well Jen, I am often frustrated by people who let their dogs loose in the front yard and then have no ability to recall their dog. It's why I prefer not to walk my dogs on the neighborhood.
    I am grateful this little guy went home. Yay for cheese!

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    1. On the flip side, there is currently a Corgi in the house kitty corner to us who seems to have been boundary trained VERY well. I've never seen that dog leave the yard or stray very far from her people!

      I like having the walk TO the park as well as AT the park, but if I have to start to drive there to avoid this kind of nonsense, so be it. I was very grateful to have had cheese!

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  5. You do such a fantastic job with Elka! I mean - if other people aren't going to be responsible, you sort of have to step up. It's like defensive driving. Thank God for cheese too - that never hurts.

    I had another experience myself with B at the park. But this time it was different. The lady was far across the grassy field and had her two dogs off leash but as soon as she saw me in the distance she recalled her one dog and grabbed it by the collar and then leashed it. The other dog though, was moving at a really slow pace towards her and she was waving for the dog to come to her. When we got nearer, she apologized profusely, saying that I had caught her off guard and then told me that the slow dog was 16 years old and deaf. I told her not to worry about it - she did the right thing and really, her 16 year old dog (and even the other one) was not a threat.

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    1. I do try so very hard! Obviously, neither Elka nor I are as perfect all the time as I represent here, and I do try to talk about my mistakes as well (y'know, like all last week.....), but I have to uphold myself to my standards as well. If she can't be perfect, then at least she won't be that "bad"!

      That lady at your park is the kind of dog owner that I respect and look up to! Not everybody's dogs are social, not everybody's dogs want/need to play (and not everybody has the time).

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  6. Ugh. I understand your frustration. It sounds like this little bugger was simply curious, thankfully. It would be much worse of a problem had s/he been out for a fight.

    I always worry with Kyuss that something will happen one day when a small dog decides to attempt to play tough guy. Kyuss, so far always looks to me to diffuse the situation and I do try my best.
    My main concern, is that if the small pup decides to pick a fight, Kyuss may one day fight back and I'm sure I know who will ultimately get the blame.... =[

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    1. Yeah, curiosity and perhaps being startled by Elka's size seemed to be his main motivation! The cheese did the trick, anyway.

      I do try to make it so that Elka doesn't even think that any choice is up to her. It's not her problem, I'm dealing with it. I really don't know what she would do if another dog bit her (or me) and I would prefer not to find out.

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  7. Good thing for cheese! Well done. And good job keeping your cool, too. Surely that helped Elka (and the other dog) a lot.

    I feel like we keep having these identical scenarios... I was walking Pyrrha (on leash, of course) down a street when an old woman started yelling at me from her front yard, "Pull your dog back!" MY dog?? We weren't even that close to her house, but then I saw that she had two small terriers that were running down the driveway, charging us and snarling. Ugh. Thankfully, she was able to stop them before they reached us--and we moved quickly away in the opposite direction--but I was still peeved.

    Lady, you're yelling at ME to pull MY dog back? Why don't you put your dogs behind a fence or on leash, since they're not reliably trained and territorial?? Why is this so hard for people to understand?

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    1. How strange (and irritating and frustrating) that you were the one getting yelled at, with your leashed dog! There have been a couple of times when I saw a loose dog and called to the person "Come get your dog!" before I was willing to proceed, but if a dog is at large, I think those kinds of communications are warranted.

      I do try to be prepared for situations like that, but I really didn't notice the little guy until he was already to the sidewalk. I'm not sure what his owner thought of what I did (I'd hate to think he had a food allergy or something), but she didn't comment, and I made no move to be physical with him in any way. Maybe the fact that I made myself the focus, and had food, was enough!

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  8. Elka, you're such a good girl!

    Cheese rules! =))

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    1. We try so very hard!

      And yes, cheese is fabulous!

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  9. My four dogs and I were actually attacked by a cat once while the owner stood on the porch in horror. Cheese didn't help.

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    1. Attacked by a cat?! Oh what the heck.

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  10. Good thinking! I'm glad it worked out so well :)

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    1. Yeah, I was pretty pleased that it was all it took!

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  11. Elli never would have let the other dog have a piece of food. EVER. If she notices pocket/treat-bag diving... that food is as good as hers. But, good job to you and Elka for staying behind you. That's something I'd love to train, but I don't want her offering it for competition purposes if she's unsure if she's heeling correctly.

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    1. Because Elka is so very often my kitchen buddy, I knew from the beginning that I never wanted to have to fight over her regarding a dropped item. So, we reinforced "leave it" and also permission to pick up a dropped item at length. She might beg like a champ, but she never steals, and while I can't say she never grabs, it is very rare and usually toy related when she's amped up.

      I can definitely see how you wouldn't want a default "Is this right?" sort of behavior to interfere with competition stuff. Sort of how some people won't teach a conformation pup "sit" (and certainly not "automatic sit" until after a championship is earned (though this might be hearsay)!

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  12. Irresponsible people make mom nutty. The special treat is a good idea since my Lily likes to start trouble
    Benny & Lily

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    1. It certainly seemed like a fantastic olive branch to me!

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  13. Good on you for taking the time to train Elka and socialize her so that she's a model of canine behavior instead of an unfortunate statistic. I wish Morgan had better handling and training before we got her, but all we can do now is work hard on training. A good friend of ours recently took a GSD in that picked up a Yorkie on a Flexi Lead that was charging towards him. He left some puncture marks in the Yorkie and for that he was sentenced to training, fortunately with our friend, who already knew the dog. They actually kept him at their house for several days because the owners were afraid someone would try to harm him. Nevermind that several people all saw the incident and that the Yorkie was charging the GSD. *sigh* So many stupid people in the world!

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    1. Well, so far as people go, she's well socialized...with dogs, there's a gap. It's my Big Regret with her, that I didn't find dogs for her to socialize with when she was in that developmental period. Really, I"m trying to teach her to ignore other dogs, or at least not focus on them the second that they exist. Situations like this are making it kind of hard!

      That poor GSD (and Yorkie)! I feel really bad that dogs are put into situations like that all the time.

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  14. wow wow wow!!!! you are amazing, i am lovely your stories lately!!! xxx

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    1. Thanks so much!

      I didn't feel amazing at the time. I felt harried and all to willing to curl my lip at the next source of annoyance!

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  15. Nicely handled by both you and Elka.

    I have to say, you've picked a topic near and dear to my heart. Bella behaves badly around other dogs. We know that - that's why we have her in class learning how to behave (cope) better. What we're really addressing is her fear.

    So it doesn't help at all that while we're learning to handle her behavior and help develop her skills, no one else in the neighborhood seems as interested in restraining or training their dogs. We've had to stop walking her in the neighborhood just to avoid setting her back by the approach of un-managed dogs. :(

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    1. Elka somewhat does as well, which is why I try so hard to have the situation in hand. It's also why I've done things like pick her up ever day we've had her...even though she's 71 pounds, if I need to remove her from a situation, I can.

      For our past few walks, I've stopped going up that street, and we haven't been rushed by a dog since then. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it happens again, and there are quite a few house barkers on our newer route, but house barking is something that we can work on far more calmly.

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