Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pooches: The One Where we Realize How Important it is To Keep Learning about Your Dog

When I first adopted Miss M, she was young and energetic, and I always expected a level of craziness.
But we would prepare.
We would go everywhere early so she could have time to sniff around and check things out.
I would only bring the good treats like salami and cheese everywhere we went.
And before training class we would walk the 2 1/2 miles to class just so she would be calm when she got there.
Though as we have been consistent and  continued our training we have taken for granted that they will be ok anywhere we bring them.
Sure they can navigate drunken crowds and groping with ease and walk under the El tracks without flinching. And the fact that we have gone on this cruise several times before where Miss M was all smiles and loved hanging her head out the window.
After 7 years with Miss M, I thought I knew everything about her when just last year she developed a phobia of....bridges. We don't go over bridges often, but when I tried she become a spider-dog refusing to cross--you can kind of see it in this video here.
And little did we realize how her fear would ruin our family trip.
That morning, we decided to head to the cruise on a whim; we were running a bit on the late side. As we dashed down to the dock she walked dangerously close to the big bridge and she had to go down stairs with big gaps.
I think this was enough to unnerve her, because as the boat started moving, the vibrations reminded her of...a bridge! And the same pup that has been on this boat before and has no problems walking under the thundering El started making crazy Scooby-Doo spinning legs.
Which resulted in her nearly pulling the top of my dress down as I tried to grab her and prevent Mr. B from rolling off the bench like a log.
I couldn't save Mr. B.
And as Miss M agonized over every rumble, it made me think how comfortable we had gotten and how I really did need to continue anticipating situations that could be uncomfortable for our pups.
Are other people still finding unexpected triggers for their pups? (Tell us some good stories!)

How we've worked to prepare for parades and farmer's markets and even wearing costumes.
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and storylines beyond the blog.


Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

I think this is just Ms. M's way of bringing back the salami & cheese!

Yes, definitely! While walking by people has always been a challenge (he's so protective, but he's getting better!), I was so happy that I didn't have dogs that lunged after bicycles...until this spring. All of a sudden, Edi doesn't like them! We see a lot of new things between seasons - things they haven't seen in months that are now a big deal. Last year, Ed HATED the big blowup Christmas decorations in people's yards...which made our walks interesting!

Pocket Pittie in the City said...

We must have scarred poor Nigel with the training clicker (or he has some bad memory) because he was fine for a little and then started hating the noise. Now, whenever he hears something that resembles the clicker, it's enough to wake him from a deep sleep and send him scampering. The new iOS has some clicks he is just not find of. Clicker training went out the window!

Unknown said...

Nola has started growling at other dogs, especially when I bring her to work on Friday. I can't figure out why, she is usually very friendly with other dogs. But, last week we ran into this itty bitty Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (which I was not nervous about, because Nola usually LOVES little dogs), and she started growling and barking at her like crazy. I was mortified, because I had JUST said how friendly she was, and apologized a million times as we rushed onto the elevator to get away. I am going to bring some high quality treats with me next week and hopefully avoid the growling and barking!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you didn't end up flashing everyone on the boat! Melvin has these moments, and I can't identify the trigger when he will just stop and refuse to go forward. Sometimes he does in the yard, like he'll be in the middle of the yard and he refuses to move/come in. I can't lift him so I have to go 'nudge him' and he will almost scatter run to get over the invisible barrier. Sometimes it's on a walk, sometimes it's a random doorway!

rebecae said...

My girl loves everyone, except for a green-painted miss liberty at a street fair. She was bucking and running in circles like a bull. People started staring while miss liberty taunted her. It was terribly embarrassing.

(Laura) said...

I had a rescue greyhound named Emma who I adopted at 2 years old. She lived to be almost 14. For the bulk of her life she was super easy going, great in the car, highly adaptive and totally chill about stuff. She was very well behaved and I could bring her just about anywhere. But as she got older (around 9 or so is when I started to notice), she became a lot more of a "homebody." Even a quick car ride to my sister's house would cause her anxiety. My vet said she sees these kinds of personality changes a lot as dogs get older...

JustaGirl said...

Milo has recently become very startled by noises. Noises that never bothered him as a puppy, or even bothered him within the last 6 months. He'll be 2yrs old in 5 months so we're not sure if that has anything to do with it. But we've definitely had to step up our game, in order to anticipate anything.

Debra@Peaceabull said...

This isn't actually a change in behavior, per se, but when I brought Julius home he was fine for the entire 30 minute car ride but now any car ride now causes him to vomit or at the very least drool excessively and emit a stinky odor.

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

It's not unexpected but Norman has car issues. It takes him several minutes to get in the car each time, even with the yummiest treats. He becomes a trembling mess if he has to ride in the front seat and when he's in the back of my mom's jeep, he needs access to look out the back window.

c.creativity said...

As my dog has gotten older, she's developed an intense paranoia while riding in the car that people in other cars are out to get us. If she sees them move their hands, it can trigger a defensive barking frenzy. It's not so bad while we're on the move, but being stopped at lights alongside other cars as become a problem. Then we inadvertently created a second problem while trying to redirect her attention with treats--she started barking at nothing just to get a treat! We've made some progress in addressing both of these problems, but we still get startled from time to time by a great big bark because she's seen someone in the car next to us brush back their hair or pick up their phone.

Elizabeth said...

ohhh poor mr. b!
My dogs seem to change like the wind. It used to be that judge didn't want anything to do with men and i would always have to tell any new men meeting him to just ignore him he will come to you on his own terms. 5 years later its hit or miss i guess if someone reminds him of someone else he warms up to them much more quickly then he used to.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Don't worry Ms. M, my Lily lived here her whole life (6 years). Out of the blue one day, she decided she hates motorcycles and will chase them down no matter what. Scary
Benny & Lily

Maggie said...

We still have the cat separate from the dogs because Lucas isn't great with her yet. But three or four times a day I move the baby gate, call Cooper, and we head up and play with her like crazy. I just got back from 8 days away. I repeated the routine... but Cooper wouldn't walk down the hall. At. All. He stopped on the far end and just stood there staring at me. I tried repeating it throughout the day to no avail. He wouldn't come down the hall or up the stairs for anything - even a cheese plate! I called hubs and asked if something had happened while I was away, and he said he came home one day and Coop refused to go up the stairs and hasn't since. We have no idea why or what happened?? John didn't get out of work on time that day so had pet sitters come by to feed them, so we're going to call them tomorrow to see if anything happened on their watch. It's always something... :)

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