Skip to main content

B & B

By Belinda

B & B--Belinda and Bruce; Bonded and Best friends.

It was the day after my public humiliation. I had been brought to my knees by my nephew's Staffordshire bull terrier, Bruce; in the village street--and in front of a man with a well behaved Scottie dog at that. I realized that drastic action was needed.

I felt a little bit like a Doggie Super Nanny, taking on the delinquent Brucie.

I believe in my heart that people are responsible for how a dog behaves and therefore it was I who needed to make the changes that would tame the wee beastie.

I'm not an expert--obviously :) but I think that dogs really do want to please people. It is our job to teach them how to do that.

I also think that they are happy when they know their proper place in the pecking order--and it's not at the top!

I don't believe that dogs are into democracy--and I'm not into domination by force or shouting, so we needed to come to an understanding.

I had confidence in Bruce's intelligence and he quickly proved it by learning in a flash that when he pulled, a quick yank on the collar occurred and the walk came to an immediate halt. I would not move forward until the all the pull had gone out of his paws. As soon as he stood waiting quietly, we moved forward. A few repeats of this process and he was trotting along like a civilized little dog--with occasional reminders.

Next we worked on the darting and lunging. I realized that at least in part, it was a startle reflex, triggered by fright at big, noisy vehicles passing, or any sudden unexpected sight or sound. I figured that the more he knew I was confidently in charge, the safer he would feel.. It seems funny thinking of this powerfully built dog being frightened, but why not? I remember being scared out of my wits myself when I was little and a big truck drove by. Calming words help him feel safe and the lunging is decreasing.

The third issue was his aggression towards other dogs. Rob's initial warning about this was intimidating. So many dog owners walk their dogs around the village unleashed. The prospect of confronting this situation on a canal tow path or narrow laneway filled me with so much fear that for the first few walks I turned around and avoided the approach of other dogs, especially if they were loose. After a day or two I progressed to backing up grass banks and almost disappearing into hedgerows--not a very satisfactory solution--and I didn't like being stung by the nettles in the hedges.

"Enough of this!" I decided, "I need to take charge."

So I have been keeping Bruce on a tight rein and coaching him as other dogs approach; alternating between a quick, "No!" if he barks, and lavish praise for no barking. Realizing the obvious; that nothing can happen if I maintain control on a short leash; took away my fear.

For most of the time on the walks I am in praise lavishing mode--and I can tell he likes it. He looks like a happy little dog.

On Friday morning Rob came in from his morning walk with Bruce.

"Who was a different dog today at the end of the leash then?" he said as Bruce trotted in.

That made me smile! We're not a perfect pair yet, but we sure love each other and we're having fun getting there.

Comments

Marilyn said…
Excellent, and in such short time, too. You've practically civilized him!
Susan said…
Oh, to be a fly on the wall... or on the leash. Somewhere!

Popular posts from this blog

Just Joy!

Our family has a standing date for Sunday dinner on the first Sunday of every month. Not that we don't see each other at any other time, but we all know that particular Sunday is pretty much for sure--and I look forward to it so much--the front door bursting open and our house being filled once more with the voices and vibrancy of six grandchildren and their parents. 

This week Spero, Brenda's new Australian Shepherd puppy came too, and met his extended family, leaving Molson at home to have a rest! He was duly adored by all of us.


He came with a dazzling array of toys and is proving a fast learner, already sitting on command and responding to Tori's training. I was so impressed at her technique of quickly rewarding a turnaround from any slight naughtiness with praise for "good sitting," or "good" any other desirable behaviour! 

Tippy had her hair cut stunningly and bravely short the day before; making a statement about who she is as a unique individual, o…

The Secret Adventures of Susan's Scottish Scarf

By Belinda (with a lot of help from Susan :))
I was saying goodnight to her at the front door this week when she told me. There was apparently more to the scarf around her neck than I knew. 
The scarf had been a gift from me for Susan's birthday on Tuesday December 18th. It had been her 60th; and that day I had treated her to lunch to celebrate. 
We met at a tiny restaurant, Port Soiree, in Schomberg,near her office. It was a restaurant neither of us had been to before and it turned out to be a gem, with artsy ambiance, amazing food, wonderful service and modest pricing. In other words, it was perfect!