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Old 09-03-2015, 09:34 PM   #11
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Ditto to Kaos' post.
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Old 09-04-2015, 07:19 AM   #12
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I think we have all tried to help in our own way What I will say is you definatley have a lot of pluses with Harvey the fact he has 8 to 10 nice dogs to meet and interact with is good does he have the muzzle on when meeting these dog? And does he meet them as group or just one or a few of them? Prehaps if you could have a fun day out with all the nice dogs he knows this would be the icing on the cake I think you are doing a great job and many people would have given up but you have stuck with it so well done! And keep up the good work.
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:20 AM   #13
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Bigboy,
He does not wear a muzzle with his dog friends. Once he has made friends with a dog (which can take some very careful introduction work), then he will never have a problem with that dog again. His best friend is a dog named Leo who is a male shepherd mix the size of a great dane, weighing over 100 pounds (I think he's a german shepherd/great dane mix). Leo was actually the very first dog Harvey met face to face (while I had him). He was intact at this time. His first interaction with Leo was not ideal, and included growling, barking, and mounting. However, he did not bite or start a fight. I know for a fact that if he saw a dog like Leo today, the first thing he would do it attack, no second thoughts. I wonder why he got so much worse, and if it is tied to him being neutered.
Anyways, my point is that Leo is a very large, male dog who Harvey didn't like at first. After careful introduction work, they are best friends and they play HARD (like, slamming into each other full speed and wrestling really intensely, tumbling all over over the place) and it never escalates.

Most of the time it's just one or two of his dog friends, but we have had group dog playdates (my sister and I both have dogs and all of our friends sort of jumped on the bandwagon, so whenever we hang out with one another, everyone brings dogs) and we have been on several group hikes. He's always fine of these. Again, once he is friends with a dog, he will never have a problem with that dog again.

Also worth mentioning, he used to go to the dog park. He went to the dog park 2 times successfully (playing and interacting with other large dogs and everything) before he finally got into a fight. Keep in mind, he only went to the dog park because I really had no clue he was aggressive until he got into that fight, and he has never been back to the dog park.

Now he can't even look at a large dog without losing it. He has definitely gotten worse. Maybe because he was neutered, maybe because I have a bit of a neurotic personality and it rubs off, maybe because I've allowed him to have those 3 fights and now he is more insecure.

Oh, I totally forgot to mention! I purchased what my trainer calls "the reactive dog package" which basically entails a 1 hour private session with just the trainer, a 1 hour private session with the trainer and her dog, and then a third thing of my choice. I already did both of the private session and I have two choices for the third thing: Either a training class of my choice, or another private session out in public. My hope was to do the agility class. But I don't know if I can. Because I can't get Harvey to generalize, he might be just too disruptive to attempt to work with in an agility class. But agility would be GREAT for him. It's a job, he would learn to focus on work in the presence of other dogs, and hopefully get over his biggest trigger - Running dogs.
Do you think I should try the agility class, or should I go with the third private session out in the public?

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Old 09-04-2015, 12:02 PM   #14
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This is wonderful news that once he has made friends with another dog he doesn't need the muzzle It's also good that Harvey has had group play dates with more than one dog! Do they all run round together having fun I hope so?! I am wondering if the first meeting with Leo that didn't go well may have been the reason for his continued behaviour with other large known dogs? How long was the first meeting with Leo?
maybe this is the reason why!
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Old 09-04-2015, 05:42 PM   #15
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Following to learn. What kind of muzzle?
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Old 09-05-2015, 01:43 AM   #16
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Bigboy, yes, they do all run around together and have a blast. =) Harvery and Leo will play for ours on end. I don't think it was the first interaction with Leo that caused this. It seems to me that the problem existed before I got Harvey, but due to my lack of ability to identify it, I accidentally put him into situations that made the problem worse.

MrJohn, Harvey wears a baskerville basket muzzle. https://leerburg.com/Photos/Baskervi...aMuzzle_03.jpg Like this one. It's very nice, but I have some doubts when using it in especially hot conditions. I live in New Mexico, where it gets very hot, and I have often been reluctant to use it when going on hikes. It does allow the dog to pant and drink, but they aren't able to fully open their mouths and let their big tongue loll out like it tends to when they are very hot.

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Old 09-05-2015, 05:46 AM   #17
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I was just trying to get a mental pic in my mind! That's why I asked if Leo was the first dog that Harvey had a run in with?
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Old 09-05-2015, 12:14 PM   #18
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No, Harvey met my boyfriend's dog (who lived with at the time) sister's dogs before he met Leo. My boyfriend has a border collie mix (Skyli, female) and my sister has a french bulldog mix (Rusko, male), and a lab/heeler mix (Marla, female). When Harvey met these three, he was completely fine. Even with Rusko trying to attack him due to being intact, he just rolled over and batted Rusko with his paws playfully.

And before he met Leo, he did encounter other dogs from a distance. I was pretty naive about dog reactivity at the time, and I didn't understand what I was seeing. One example is when I was walking him into the vet's office to get tapeworm meds. Another dog was coming down the side walk away from the vet, and I didn't think twice about approaching it head on and walking past it. Harvey was wearing a headcollar at the time (which I don't use anymore, due to Harvey's flailing about and the risk of neck injury), so I had pretty good control over him as I passed. As we passed, he started to flail a bit and vocalize. Now, Harvey's "growling" has always sounded a bit weird to me, which is part of the reason why I wasn't able to identify his aggression when I first got him. He does sort of a growl/whine/weird husky sound (You know, when huskies do that long, funny sounding vocalization) all mixed together. I was confused about what I was hearing, because Harvey is very vocal in general. When we play tug, or tag, he gets really hyped up and will make a noise similar to this and run around snorting like a pig. Very weird... Anyways, he expressed this sound as we passed this other dog, but I didn't really think that much of it.

When he finally met Leo, I was pretty surprised. I was straddling Harvey and holding his collar as my friend came in with Leo, and as soon as Leo began stepping through the door, Harvey's hackles went up and he started making that sound he makes. He did calm down after a few minutes, and we allowed him to sniff Leo's butt. It was going okay, just occasionally Harvey would get a little excited and mount Leo while growling. Within about a week, Harvey got over it and Leo and Harvey are best friends now.

A little more background now that I'm thinking about it:
Harvey was able to meet other dogs at first. The neighborhood I lived in had a lot of dogs, so we would frequently see them at the park. Because I didn't understand what was going on, I did have Harvey meet some of these dogs. He was usually fine with the smaller ones, although did express some anxiety/frustration until he was allowed to go sniff (which he did really stiffly, but with friendly tail wags), but he was never fine with the big dogs. His reactions were much less severe back then, and I was usually able to bring him up to the other dog, but Harvey would begin this nipping behavior (looked kind of similar to what he does when he rips people's pants) so I would take him away.

He had a great play session with a doberman at the dog park, which was interesting considering he doesn't like big dogs. So I mean, I thought he was okay, because he had that play session. I took him to a different dog park, and that is where his first fight occurred. At this time, he was starting to become more iffy in his greetings with other dogs. I was playing with my boyfriend's dog with her frisbee (I know, I know, frisbee at the dog park is a big no-no. I just didn't know) when this big pit bull mix took it from her and started running around. Harvey at this point started to act a little different. He got this focused look in his eyes, tensed up, and had started to do his nipping thing he does. At this point I was losing control, and I grabbed Harvey's harness and tried to get the frisbee back so I could leave. The owner of the dog got the frisbee and gave it to me, but his dog was still trying to get it from me. I held the frisbee way above my head and started to leave, but the pit bull mix jumped like 6 feet in the air and grabbed onto the frisbee. I was still holding onto it, now with two hands, so didn't have Harvey's harness. Before I could do anything, Harvey ran up to the other dog and started doing his nipping thing on the dog's scruff (Don't know if I should clarify the nipping. The nipping is just short, sort of pecks he does with his mouth, not real bites or snaps) and this dog just turned around and attacked Harvey. There was a lot of noise, but we were able to pull the dogs apart within 10 seconds. After they were split up, the pit mix was snarling and has a tuft of Harvey's rather long fur between his teeth, and Harvey was tense and growling a little, but not snarling. I was totally shocked and totally freaked out (I'd never experienced this before!) and I just straddled Harvey, turned around, and left without a word. At this point, Harvey was no longer growling and was not trying to get at the other dog. He willingly turned and walked back to the car with me. Both dogs were unscathed, aside from Harvey missing a tuft of fur.

His other fights, very quickly:
I was at the park with Harvey on a long line, trying to work on recall (which was horrible at the time). There was a couple who always came and played fetch with their little dog (pretty small, maybe 20-25 pounds) off leash. I was nervous, of course, because I didn't know if the dog was going to stay where it was supposed to. Well, it didn't. It came RUNNING over to Harvey (big deal! Harvey is massively triggered by running specifically) full speed, all tail wags and lolling tongue. Harvey nearly ripped my arm off getting over to that dog, and as soon as they contacted, Harvey began doing that same, pecking/nipping behavior. Obviously that dog felt the need to defend itself, and a minor fight broke out. I watched it for a second because everything happened so fast I didn't know how to react. To me, Harvey looked sort of surprised at this reaction, but was equally defending himself. I came to my senses and grabbed him by the hips. As soon as I grabbed him, he turned around and looked at me, and the dog ran off. I watched from a distance as the owners checked it over, and it seemed to be unscathed once again.

Third fight was with my mom's friend's equally borderline aggressive white husky. I took Harvey up to my mom's ranch for a visit, but she didn't tell me that ****a was going to be there. I tried to make it work by first going for a social walk. This went sort of okay, and the dogs were mostly ignoring each other. However, then ****a went over to Harvey and placed both of her front paws on Harvey's back and sort of towered over him, staring down, body tense, tail up, ears perked forward. I'd seen this behavior before in Harvey and pulled the dogs apart. The dog's owner goes "Oh, she's not being aggressive, she's just playing" and I knew then that things were not going to go well. Needless to say, I did the wrong thing and pushed Harvey too far and a fight did break out. This one felt like Harvey wanted to do more damage. As the dog approached, Harvey immediately snapped and grabbed hold of some fur on her face (it might have been flesh on her face if he was close enough) and this was not a nip or a peck. This was a bite. I took him home after that.

Man, the more I write, the more I feel like I ruined him. =( I can't believe I was naive enough to put him into all those stressful situations... I wonder if I'd been a little smarter, if we could have worked through the problem instead of ending up where we are now.

Here is a picture of him for kicks. Perhaps you can imagine why I couldn't give him up as a foster. He is simply gorgeous and his personality is quite charming when he isn't attacking other dogs. =)

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Old 09-05-2015, 12:14 PM   #19
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And I continue to write novels.. Oh well, it's really helping just to write it all out.

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Old 09-05-2015, 01:25 PM   #20
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NeonAurora...please please do not cast so much blame upon yourself! You took on a challenge, that is for sure!
You are blaming yourself for mistakes made early on, and for things you did not know. You don't know what you don't know until you find out the hard way. I was one of those too.

I always had a love of herding dogs, but absolutely no background with them, None. All of the dogs in my former life were basically house decorations.

Before I go any further.. how many people do you know who would persevere as you have done so far? Nearly anybody I ever knew in my life before I got hooked up with my trainer and her clients, all those people I knew before my new social circle of dog people, told me to get rid of Frodo.

He was and still is a nippy kid of crazy cattle dog. Smarter than anything, learns something once and knows it forever. The most loyal dog I have ever known. He would give his life for me. I hope he never has to.

In his early training he nipped my friend and my life went to hell. She was married to a lawyer who had been employed by the county prosecutors office. I won't tell the whole story. It has been 4 years now. I lost friends over this. They al said get rid of the dog. I did not. I got rid of the friends.

I learned how to handle Frodo. I am still learning. You will too. Growth is hard, but it makes you a better human. Look at what you know about dogs now that you did not know before.

This will open up a whole new world for you. Don't chastise yourself for the past. Look at what you have accomplished!
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