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Old 09-05-2015, 01:26 PM   #21
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By the way, that is a beautiful dog. I would save him too.
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Old 09-05-2015, 01:58 PM   #22
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Wow, thanks FrodoMom. =) I actually really appreciate that. It's such a contrast from other forums I've been on where I've been criticized and flamed for my learning errors. This forum is so much nicer. Other forums make me feel like I need to be perfect, but everyone here has been so awesome and willing to listen and share experiences and ideas! I love it.

Thanks for sharing your story about Frodo. I'm extremely glad that no one has taken great offense to Harvey's bad nipping habits. He's torn quite a few pants and people say that it does hurt if they get his skin even if he doesn't ever break it. I'm sorry that your friend chose to go that route after being nipped.

I really struggled in the beginning, wondering if I was the right home for Harvey. I felt so terrible and stressed out when he nipped people or started freaking out at other dogs. There was one time he nipped a jogger quite badly, and one time he nipped a kid! Oh gosh, I was so embarrassed and stressed. I've been extremely lucky so far that no one has decided to do anything about him, and I'm even more grateful for that now that I've heard your story.

My friends have all been quite understanding, luckily. One friend who Harvey was especially bad with nipping even allowed me to experiment with some new techniques with him as a guinea pig. He ended up with a bruise and I felt pretty bad... But he insisted it was okay, and I did learn from that.

In the beginning, my mom pressured me to get rid of Harvey. I wasn't living with her, but I told her about his problems. After Harvey broke two of my fingers in a biking accident after he bolted in front of my bike while trying to get another dog, she told me "you're a student, you don't have time for a dog like this. Look, I bet he is a great dog, and maybe someone who is better equipped to handle him would make a better home for him" and I thought about this for a long time. She's right, I'm not home as often as I would like and I'm often busy. I don't have very much money since I'm a student. I don't have any experience with herding dogs or dog aggression training. But, at the same time, I felt such a strong bond with this dog. I had lived with my boyfriend's BC mix for 2 years at that point, and I loved her. But this was different. I LOVED Harvey. The thought of giving him up made me so sad. But I considered it, because I wanted to do what was best for him.

So, I dived into the dog world and learned as much as I could. I read countless forum posts, blog posts, articles, papers, watched documentaries. Everything. And I learned a lot. The main thing that made me sure I had to keep Harvey was the experiences I read from all kinds of different people. I realized something. Harvey is EXACTLY the kind of dog who will get passed from home to home and probably eventually euthanized for being "dangerous". He is gorgeous, he is charming, and he has the cutest, silliest quirks. This is a dog that any dog lover could fall in love with at first sight. But how many people actually can handle this dog, really? I fell in love with him and couldn't handle him! Surely other people could do that same. So, I decided I would just have to do it. I took him on officially then, and poured myself into trying to improve him and make him manageable.

I decided I had to keep Harvey, because I couldn't let him get passed from home to home and then be killed because he bit someone. Someone was going to have to step up to the plate, and I decided that person had to be me.

I love him to bits, I really do. He and I have a really strong bond. He is very loyal and will follow me around everywhere. He also has a near perfect recall now that we have a really good bond. He has his problems, but I wouldn't give him up for anything. I may not be the most ideal home ever (I have limited time... I'm a student and have a job at that, what can I say?), but I know I do my best for him and he's not unhappy. I hate when I go to a dog forum for help and advice and people just tell me I shouldn't have the dog in the first place. Well, okay, how does that help? Where do I put a dog aggressive, people nipping mess like Harvey? He would surely end up dead unless I found someone really willing to do the work.

Aaaannd another novel... haha... I guess I just like to blab about my dog.

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Old 09-05-2015, 02:10 PM   #23
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All of the above. You will never doubt yourself and your choices, because you have stepped up to the plate.
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Old 09-05-2015, 04:58 PM   #24
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Thats one good thing about this forum we care and wont slate you, We have all made mistakes i know I have!!! One thing i will say one habit Harvey needs to get out of is bitting people pants it's attention seeking IMO! Nipper does something similar by jumping up at people and gripping thier leg with both paws wrapped round the leg some people say oh we don't mind, she has only started to do this recently so it makes it hard to reverse this behaviour whwn people allow it but I am working on it as she really is a sweet girl and has so much love to give!!
I am sure you will get there with Harvey but it's going to take time and patience And the pic of Harvey is cute but not basing it on that alone.He does need help and is worth the time and money to get him right!
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:37 AM   #25
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Thanks, guys. =) This forum has been very helpful to me.

And yes, I know he needs to stop that nipping crap. He's going to get me into trouble someday! But it's harder to stop then you would think. He has such a friendly demeanor that people think it's okay with to just walk up and start petting him, and the nip happens in all of half a second. The only solution I have is to have him wear a muzzle in most places and to try to catch people before they pet him and ask them not to (put it's sort of a shame, because I think having positive interactions with strangers is a good thing for him).

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Old 09-06-2015, 11:59 AM   #26
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Keep up your good work! I am so proud of you for continuing to help Harvey!
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:53 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonAurora View Post
Thanks, guys. =) This forum has been very helpful to me.

And yes, I know he needs to stop that nipping crap. He's going to get me into trouble someday! But it's harder to stop then you would think. He has such a friendly demeanor that people think it's okay with to just walk up and start petting him, and the nip happens in all of half a second. The only solution I have is to have him wear a muzzle in most places and to try to catch people before they pet him and ask them not to (put it's sort of a shame, because I think having positive interactions with strangers is a good thing for him).
Different trainers are going to have varying opinions on how to correct that behavior. I have known Frodo for a long time now but he had 4 owners before me. I cannot fix what started with him until he was 2 years old when I got him. I have learned that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you don't think your dog has progressed far enough to be able to do the right thing when strangers come up, I would suggest telling them he's not ready. You are only saving him from a liability incident and protecting people as well. Yes, they might be offended, but what's more important is the safety of your dog.
Frodo is a man magnet. If I was a single lady I'd have it made. He is such a beautiful dog people always want to approach him and I have to intercede on my dog's behalf. That may be a little easier for me because I did have that legally damaging incident, but I'm over 50 and I stopped caring a long time ago what people think of me.
One of the things my trainer taught me was when people approach I can switch Frodo from the "heel" position on my left side, to the "switch" position on my right side. This is hard for dogs who have learned to heel and they must be heavily rewarded for it, whatever incentive you use whether it be physical praise or treats.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:29 PM   #28
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Good post from FrodoMom. I totally agree, you have to be your dog's advocate and give up worrying about offending people. You can get 'in training' or 'working dog' type harnesses and vests that might help keep people from bowling up.

As to the agility, I would go watch the class before you make your decision. Unless it is an extremely well run class with good management and a lot of room, there is a good chance it won't be an ideal environment for your dog. It is often not a good plan for a dog with reactivity issues, especially if he is likely to be triggered by other dogs running. Whilst teaching the agility itself would be great, the class environment is often far from ideal, and some dogs will need a lot of work before they can handle it. You really need calm and relaxation around other dogs. I would opt for some kind of obedience / rally o / cgc type class instead and see how that goes. Can he handle other dogs playing tuggy with their handlers, can he handle them running past him to complete a recall etc etc.

I also don't think you should blame yourself here, you have proven yourself so far to be extremely dedicated to his welfare, and you are spot on in your assessment that this type of dog very often gets passed around and ends up PTS. Hang in there!

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Old 09-07-2015, 01:27 PM   #29
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Does Harvey have reliable 'Sit'? If he does why not let him meet nice people who are willing for you to get him to sit? But only do this if you know Harvey won't bite any hands I often do this with Nipper cause she gets so excited when meeting people, some will actually say sit before petting Nipper this I don't mind as they aren't taking over the running of my dog as such I tend to not bother with people who say it's ok if she jumps up as this is feeding her habit and not helping her to get out of this behaviour!
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:52 PM   #30
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Forcing a worried dog to hold a sit or down whilst people approach them is often a bad idea. You have now taken away their permission to leave if they feel uncomfortable, which can lead to an escalation in aggression.

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