Posts filed under ‘Social stuff’
Yesterday, Eddie visited us with his 3 year old daughter – Querida. The last time that Boogie met his cousin Q, she was still a teeny tiny baby and she wouldn’t have remembered him. Q is so big now – such a pretty girl!
We introduced the kids out on the street, with Q in her bicycle seat, and Boogie in my arms, on leash.
Q was super gentle with Boogie, and Boogie was super gentle with her. Q giggled when Boogie drank water because dogs are so cute when they drink water She followed him around the room as he followed me – I was the one with the bacon cheese dog treats…
Q picked up Boogie’s toys and her dad and I let her know which ones were “throw toys”(yes, you may pick it up and throw it for him) and which ones were “tug toys” (don’t touch those ones). Q got down on the rug and watched Boogie chew his corn cob. Several times she offered him his rubber dinosaur but he was way more interested in me because I had the bacon cheese cookies. And in Eddie because he was eating ice cream.
Sharing here some photos of the cute twosome…
One time Boogie gave Q a kiss on the face. This is quite a big deal because Boogie doesn’t just kiss ANYBODY, least of all someone he is meeting for the first time. Boogie was relaxed and polite – no jumping, no running, his ears and face were soft the entire time – and Q was delightfully gentle with him, petting him on the back and throwing/dropping his ball for him.
These pics are from a couple of weeks ago when Boogie’s neighbors came to visit for ICE CREAM. Recipe and reviews for The Pawfect Parfait are right here. It was interesting to observe that the ice cream became even more delicious to Boogie when there were other dogs interested in it.
Oliver & his brother Piccolo, live across the street. We see these doggies everyday on our walks, and Boogie was invited to Oliver’s birthday party this past Sunday.
I hadn’t planned on bringing Boogie to the party. I was told that there would be 10-20 OFFLEASH dogs – most of whom would be unfamiliar to Boogie – running around a tiny courtyard. There was no way I would feel comfortable in this situation, nor would Boogie. Besides, it wouldn’t be fair to keep Boogie on-leash in a sea of off-leash dogs and there is no way I would let Boogie off-leash in an unfenced area.
We arrived late in the afternoon, at the end of the party when all the big dogs had gone home. There were a few small friendly dogs remaining.
Boogie was very calm, relaxed and sweet. Everyone commented on how “good” he was. The big slice of organic carrot-oats-honey-peanut-butter birthday cake helped, I’m sure.
Boogie says hi to the birthday boy -
*Body language observation: When Boogie greets an unfamiliar dog, his ears are up and his neck is stiff. When he greets a buddy, his ears go back.
Here he is with frosting on his nose.
I MUST get the recipe for this cake.
I said we weren’t going to the annual Boston Tea Party, but at the very last minute, we changed our minds…
Temecula is about 2 hours away and by the time we arrived, it was almost closing time so perhaps there were less boston terriers present than there must’ve been earlier in the day.
Two years ago, at the 2009 Boston Tea Party, Boogie lunged and snapped at every single dog that came near him. Last year’s Boston Tea Party, I went alone and didn’t bring him. As part of his training protocol, we avoided ALL unfamiliar dogs as it would’ve been too stressful for him to be around hundreds of dogs.
This year, I could not believe the difference. Not only were Boogie and Popeye FRIENDS again (see previous blog post), Boogie greeted and sniffed lots of other bostons, and remained calm and happy all day. If he looked a little stiff during greetings, I called him away and everything was fine. It was a fun and social event for both humans and dogs, and I could not have been happier and more proud of the Boogs!
Pic of Boogie standing next to a little boston girl (I don’t know who she is).
It was a really hot day and all the dogs were panting. Here’s a photo that I love of Boogie, Rosie and Popeye sharing water. Three tongues in one bottle cap!
This past weekend was the APDT conference in San Diego and thanks to Grisha Stewart, I was able to attend the exhibit hall/book signing part of the event. It was so great to meet Grisha in person at last! I also met up with Dr. Sophia Yin and visited the fantabulous Cat’s House.
There were many vendors in the APDT exhibit hall and some were giving away free treats and toys… an offer that I couldn’t refuse. See the Little Jacs treats? They are really really disgustingly smell-won’t-easily-wash-off-your-hands-STINKY and Boogie loves them.
I received a sample Thundershirt (not sure yet when I would put this on Boogie who can sleep through alarm clocks, thunderstorms and earthquakes…) from a lovely lady whose name I can’t remember, and I bought a new Freedom Leash and Harness combo at a very discounted price. It was also lovely to meet up with Dorna Sakurai for whom I have done some illustration work.
While I was away Boogie slept over with his buddies, Rosie and Popeye for the first time. You can see videos from their last play date in this flickr set.
According to Rosie’s and Popeye’s parents, the dogs had a wonderful time, there was a lot of playing, no issues with walks around the neighborhood, Boogie was well-behaved and did not bug Cosmo the cat. (Whew) The boys in particular – Boogie and Popeye – hit it off and became best mates.
Well, everything was fine and dandy until I arrived back in LA to pick Boogie up.
There we all were in the yard. The excitement level was high, the dogs were running around, a tennis ball was thrown, the humans were chatting… and suddenly Popeye and Boogie were locked in a fight. We weren’t sure how the fight started exactly because none of us were paying attention. Popeye’s dad and I struggled to pull the dogs apart. Both dogs held onto to each other very tightly with their sharp teeth.
And then we were washing and bandaging bite wounds and an hour later, Boogie was at the emergency vet getting his leg wounds stapled. Popeye too had to have his paw injury drained and wear the cone of shame.
Yeah, tough guys. What did they learn from this? Probably nothing good.
And my wallet is hurting.
Popeye and the Boogs are healing up now. Boogie is on antibiotics and Rimadil and thankfully no longer limping nor showing any signs of reactivity toward strange dogs on our walks like after the last time he got into a dog fight. In 2 weeks, the staples will be removed and hopefully soon, when both dogs are completely physically healed they can meet and play again.
I was chatting to Sarah our trainer about this fight incident and she brought up Trigger Stacking. In the BAT book, there’s an illustration about Trigger Stacking which basically means that when a dog has a bunch of stressful experiences, all the stresses add up in his system and he suddenly blows a fuse (or reaches his “Bite/Reactivity Threshold”). It is not ONE thing that starts a fight, but several things added up over a short period of time and as a result the outburst may seen unpredictable or over-the-top when it really isn’t.
In this case, the easiest assumption to make is that the dogs fought because both wanted possession of the tennis ball (which was being thrown for the first time all weekend) , but it could have also been that a couple of minutes earlier, two German shepherds had walked past the front gate and triggered raised hackles on both Boogie and Popeye. And a little time before this, I (Boogie’s mom) had arrived which is what started all the excitement in the first place. Perhaps the tennis ball was the last straw rather than the primary cause in the context of two toy-possessive macho boys with short fuses (aka “low reactivity thresholds”).
* When Boogie and Rosie were playing fetch with the tennis ball , there were no issues. Rosie is really sweet and flirty and gives in to the boys.
The major lesson that I am re-learning here is that it is not safe to play fetch with Boogie when there are other dogs present AND I need to do some sort of “impulse control training” with him (not clear yet what this should be) so that he is less toy-obsessed and will learn to nicely share his toys….
Unfortunately due to this incident we won’t be going to the Boston Buddies’ Boston Tea Party tomorrow. Which is a shame because I wanted to bid on the silent auction’s “Boogie On Ukelele” tote and grab a copy of the new calendar.
Look, the munchkins are on the cover!
Yesterday was Boogie’s third play date with his girlfriend Rosie …
… and her newly adopted brother Popeye, a very sweet and goofy red boston terrier.
Things could not have gone better! First we went for a walk around the block, then back in my friends’ newly-fenced yard, the dogs played and played and played.
*Sorry about the noise in the video; you may want to turn down/mute the sound.*
I had never seen Boogie play with a “boy dog” before so this was really cool. When Boogie and Rosie play, they like to chase each other. With Popeye, there was lots of mouthing, wrestling and rolling about on the ground.
It was an afternoon of very happy dogs and EXTREME cuteness!
More photos and (blurry) video clips in my flickr set HERE.
This is copied and pasted from a post I read on the Functional Rewards yahoo group:
(I hope that the author doesn’t mind my reposting this)
“Reactive” dogs just can’t be compared to the mellow, ho hum, relaxed sort of dog that is comfortable, pleasant, and predictable on a leisurely walk. If that is the type of walk that the owner of a “reactive” dog hopes to have, then the owner is setting his/herself and the dog up to fail. Some reactive dogs may be able to achieve that at some point, or at least a semblance of it… but most will NOT achieve that “bomb proof” status.
I also believe that there is a type of “grief” that owners of challenging dogs go through in realizing their dog may not be able to meet the owners’ desires/needs or do the types of things that the owner hoped to do with their dog. I believe this is an important part of loving our dogs for who they are (and HOW they are).
Now, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue to re-train/rehab our dogs – though admittedly, sometimes I do think we do overdo this and should consider just letting our dog be who they are and CHANGE OUR THINKING and activities to SUIT THE DOG. But in using remedial training methods, mostly I just think our goals, expectations, and measures need to be comparing our dog to his/her own behavior… not against the typical dog. Does that make sense? I also think that our goals with reactive dogs are better focused on increasing management and safety, and REDUCING reactivity (the number of triggers, the intensity of the reaction, and recovery time) as opposed to shooting for a “normal” walk. One of the lessons I always remind myself: MAKE SURE MY EXPECTATIONS (of myself and my dog) ARE REASONABLE AND ACHIEVABLE.
This is an illustration that I did over a year ago.
I am still very mindful of all these ‘management rules’. However, I am pleased to say that I am better at READING Boogie, and at catching and responding to his signals, which means that we don’t always have to turn away/cross the street/avoid civilization.
These days, I rarely use the “Look At That” cue. (aka BAT – Stage One) I say “Boogie, WAIT” and we wait. Then I watch him to see what he is feeling. 80% of the time he wants to move forward, NOT move away. Using moving forward as the functional reward, I wait for Boogie to check in with me. He gets a YES! and Treat and we move forward. This way, I know that the trigger is no longer (or never was) an issue.
The other 20% of the time, Boogie freezes. He becomes tense when he sees the trigger. This is a cue for me that we need to get away. I tap his butt, call him, and we do a 180, away from the scary/offending person or dog. Boogie pees on something. Relaxes.
Yep, NORMAL dog-walking for me.
I would be happier if Boogie could be relaxed with *slow-moving hunched-over old people with grocery bags who stare at him*….