Puppy reactivity & seaside trip!

Mojo is this awesome dog who has been a dream to socialise and train, other than one thing…

He HATES other dogs :/

This goes way beyond normal puppy unease, and is true fear. I can only imagine it’s due to his first home, as there was definitely at least one other dog in the house with him, and the dog/s were completely unsupervised (hence why he came to us, because he was having continuous accidents and things were been destroyed!).

Mojo is doing heaps better with other dogs after weeks of training, but at 15 weeks old he still can’t meet an unknown dog as he’s too scared.

If I know the dog won’t run over to him (maybe the other dog is on lead, or only interested in fetch) Mojo can be on the ground, and we will work on LAT, engage disengage, and general confidence boosting behaviour.

If there is a dog within about 8 feet, Mojo will climb onto my lap for safety. He might do little huffs, but usually he’s happy to sit and watch as I feed treats.

Anything closer than 4ft is in the danger zone. Mojo will back off my lap, growl, and try move away from the dog.

Previously he barked at all dogs, regardless of distance, and trembled. So progress has certainly been made. I can now carry him whilst other dogs are by my feet, and he will do engage disengage. It’s VERY rare he barks in my arms now, unless the other dog is reacting.

The main issue is that he’s 15 weeks old as of this Monday, and not met any strange dogs. I struggled with the idea of ‘throwing him in at the deep end’ and forcing him to meet dogs on walks before his socialisation window closed, but let’s be honest, flooding would just set him up for further failure and much future fear.

So I guess we’ll go slow and steady, and I’ll accept that he will most likely always be reactive, may never be able to meet unknown dogs well, but we can get him more confident around dogs and show him they’re not scary.

If there were ANY decent puppy/training classes nearby, I would give that a shot. Classes can actually be great for reactive dogs as long as they’re well planned, and it could really help him…unfortunately the classes near to us are TERRIBLE. About as bad as it gets. And I’ve not found good classes within 30 miles.

So I can’t go that route and I also don’t know anybody who has a dog that would be good to train around, and even if I did I doubt the owner would understand / help.

Just yesterday there was an interfering old busybody walking two dogs on the beach, one ‘not very nice’ and one supposedly friendly.

After I explained Mojo was a rescue and scared of dogs, she asked “Shall I hold my dog’s bum up to your dog so he can smell it?” (this as Mojo is backing off my lap growling at her dog a few feet away).

Me: *trying to hide a smile at this idea* No thanks, he’s fine just watching for now. He’s learning dogs aren’t scary, so we can’t throw too much at him.

Woman: It’s best if you don’t baby him though, you know. Isn’t it? You can’t treat him like a baby.

Me: (silently) Oh she’s one of those morons. Well, time to completely ignore her

Woman: It’s probably best if you just put him on the ground, stand up, and just ignore him. That’ll be the best for him. So he learns his place. You should probably do that.

Me: *continues to not even look at her whilst reassuring and treating Mojo, who’s doing really well* XD

Eventually she walked off. What an idiot.

Other than that, and some people stupidly interacting with Mojo (saying “oh naughty me, I’m distracting you from training aren’t I!” and reaching for his head when Mojo was focusing on me, a woman who grabbed at his head as she walked past and just carried on walking, etc etc) we had a really nice day 🙂

Train ride on the way there!

Yay seaside 😀

Mojo’s first experience of a proper beach – of course he loved it!!

So much to sniff, so many new things to experience! Seaweed was a huge hit 😀

We walked along the beach and all of a sudden this end-of-the-world siren started. It was SO LOUD!! We were all a little bit freaked, I scooped Mojo up and cuddled him, he was dealing well with it, nobody else seemed panicked…turns out it was to announce the bloody tide coming in!! Really?!

It was at this point we met the stupid woman with the two Lhasa’s. Once they’d gone there was a Lab playing fetch ahead, clearly with no interest in me or Mojo, and so I sat the little guy down and we did some engage disengage.

We couldn’t get a photo fast enough to get the Lab in it (two throws of a ball from the slipway was apparently enough for the dog, then it was back into the car), but you can see Mojo volunteering focus and the edge of the slipway where the Lab was running from!

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After beach fun and saying hello to some people, we carried Mojo around a few shops and then we sat outside whilst my partner ran in to get some drinks and some fish and chips. We found half of a bird’s egg that had hatched, and Mojo decided it was very nice to chew on and mostly eat 😛

We then pootled back to the train station, and just behind there’s two picnic benches so we sat and ate our grub!

Before eating:

After I’d finished eating hahaha!

Working on him tucking out the way in small spaces 😀 ❤

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One quick pootle as my partner drank his cider…

…then it was time to sleep all the way home 🙂

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I was utterly out of spoons after this trip. The rest of the night was spent feeling crummy and napping 😛

I had someone comment on FB asking why Mojo was the only one who got the seaside trip, so though I may as well preempt that and explain here too!

Sasha is too fearful; she couldn’t manage the train journeys and wouldn’t enjoy walking through the small town. Kasper is slightly too nervy, but also just too wild and frantic. And Tolly would get tired very quickly, doesn’t like riding trains or buses, and missed out on so much socialisation it would all be a bit much for her.

 

 

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