Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chiiiilled out.

So I had another post on here a short while ago, but after calming down and analyzing the situation, I thought it was better to scrap the whole entry and start over.

If you scroll back a couple of days, you'll see that Marge had an encounter with a Cane Corso near a neighbor's fence.  Well, the same thing happened again today with a couple people - not dogs, this time.  I wasn't with her this time - my sister was.

Anyway, I'm trying to piece together why all of this is going on.

What has basically happened since Tre moved in is the disturbance of the delicate balance of dogs on our block.  It was always Marge and Buddy, and Tre would be around sometimes, but not often.

Now, Marge is sandwiched in between these two dogs, who have known each other a long time.  Basically, my backyard is an island in an ocean otherwise comprised of Tre and Buddy's 'territory.'

Marge can't be around Tre when Buddy's around.  The three dogs can only see each other in pairs of twos.  It's a possession issue, without a doubt.  Marge is often at the receiving end of this aggression.  So, I think by barking at other dogs and people when she is near Tre's fence, she's turning the tables and barking at them before they, basically, can bark at her.

I can't say I really blame her for this response.  She's worried that a friend - who she cannot see very often due to the aforementioned "A+B, C your way out" kind of thing that's going on - is going to be taken away from her any time someone approaches.  She's guarding him by becoming reactive and letting everyone know that she isn't going anywhere.

Now, how to fix this?  I think it's going to be the careful combination of diligence and the clicker.  She can't be around the fence when the dogs are aggressing.  I'll avoid it completely.  Because I think it's THEIR behaviors that are, basically influencing her.

The second - desensitization.  I am not using the clicker enough.  (On a walk today, she was SO responsive to the clicker, and did not react towards any person or barking dog or object she saw.  Her attention is impeccable.)  I need to go out there, at a time when there's people going by but no dogs are out, and click, click, click, for silence and good behavior.  Which should be easy.

 Gosh.. I discounted myself so much earlier.. But I can do this.


Sue May 17, 2009 at 5:34 PM  

You've obviously analyzed the situation and it sound like you have a good plan of action. Let us know how you progress with it. Marge is a lucky pup to have so caring and determined a mom.

Rufus and Indie May 17, 2009 at 5:59 PM  

Hi Marge! You can pass the award to 4 friends! The pleasure is all ours!

Susan Cava Ruimy May 17, 2009 at 10:04 PM  

Definitely sounds like the balance of the block was thrown off...but I have no doubt you will fix it.

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