Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Two steps forward and three steps back

Just had to share a little bit of funny before getting into the nitty gritty.


Dog training is a ridiculous process. Ridiculous, I tell you. Trainer Ryan said there will be days when it seems like you're sliding backwards in the process, but FOR THE LOVE why can't it just be that Pippi decides, you know what, today I don't want to give you my paw to shake.

We're currently working on being nice to strangers. She's supposed to sit for greeting and keep her butt on the ground and just let them pet her. Simple enough, right? Yesterday on our walk a group of kids wanted to pet her and ask me questions about her. No problem. She walked up to them, sat down, handed them her paw, and tried to lick their faces. When she was done, she walked away. It was something I'd only dreamed about. I was so ridiculously happy with her. I thought we are finally turning a corner with this people thing.

This morning I just happened to walk her at the same time people were walking their kids to the bus stop and she was getting spooked by everyone and barking like she wanted to get at their throats.  Seriously, dog? Just when I was starting to think you were learning! If it were a different circumstance and people weren't on a time table to get their kids to school on time, I may have done the, "Hi, I'm trying to teach my dog to sit for greeting. Would you mind helping us out...?" and then she would sit and be nice because, dude, what's better than a stale dog treat and someone paying attention to me!!? I guess, until we get the hang of this stranger thing, she's just going to scare the shit out of people if it's not a good time for them to pay attention to her and hand her a treat.

I hate this.

So, this brings me to another story that happened in training class this weekend. We were walking around the store, working on the "heel" and "wait" commands and a guy startled Pippi and she barked. Instead of not being a douche bag and either walking away or giving her a minute to understand he's not a threat, he leaned down and shoved a fist in her face which I guess was his way of saying hi to a dog. Pippi don't play that game. She growled at him and showed her teeth and I pulled her away and walked the other direction. He then went to Trainer Ryan (who saw the whole thing) and said the guy tried to say Pippi bit him. Ryan told me Pippi did nothing wrong, that it was the guy's fault, so I was right in not scolding her in that circumstance.

Take note, ass wipe.

Other than these slip-ups, we're doing pretty good with other parts of training. Now, "on your bed" results in Pippi running over and plopping down on her bed all excited. I can even knock on the door without her barking every. single. time. Small victories, I guess. Thank goodness for those.

I have another run scheduled with Mike today after work. Hopefully I won't slow him down too much again. He mapped the route this time and promised me there's only one substantial hill. We'll see.


  1. My solution is always to exercise the dog more. Why don't you take her on the runs? I bet she'd calm down and run nicely if you gave her a shot (don't expect the first mile to be pretty)

    Also, maybe try calming yourself down? Dogs can really pick up tension from their owners and you anticipate her acting out, then you might actually be perpetuating the problem.

    It seems a little dangerous to ask strangers to pet your dog if you're not 100% sure of her reaction. In theory, she just needs to not bark and lunge at people, so if you can achieve that...then you won, right? It's more about getting her to listen to you versus getting her to love everyone. Even Peanut doesn't love everyone she meets and doesn't always like to be petted. The important thing is that she listens to me.

    Good luck on your run today!

  2. The guy from the training class sounds like a douche. Glad Pippi is making progress!

  3. I agree with Kara. If people are falsely accusing Pippi of biting them, it's probably not a great idea to ask strangers to help you train her. It sucks that people won't approach a dog the right way, but you can't control people, it's more important that you can control your dog.

    I definitely think you should take Pippi running. Bungee is usually somewhat batshit (because she's so excited) for the first minute of a run and then she calms down and loves life. Then she just sleeps and is the laziest dog alive for the rest of the day.

  4. All I can really say is "ditto" to Kara and Kari. Pippi needs practice with strangers, yes. But if you let her do this with people you don't know, you're asking for a lawsuit. You're not responsible for other people, but you are legally responsible for Pippi and that could cost you, ESPECIALLY if she bites a kid.

    Do you have friends you can practice with? My mom is helping her friend train her dog who has been aggressive recently. But that's a good arrangement b/c my mom won't sue her friend.

    As for the kids at the bus stop, I would have either removed her from the situation entirely or scolded. If not, she's going to think she barked ferociously and IT WORKED b/c no one attacked her.

    1. Ok, so my thought process in doing the "meeting strangers" thing is that this is what the trainer said we need to do in order for her to get used to the fact that people won't hurt her and don't be afraid. I'm kind of at my wit's end with this part of the process.

      I was just walking her up and down the street like we do every morning and people were walking by, taking their kids to the bus stop. I take her off the sidewalk entirely because I don't want something bad to happen, especially when it's a situation I can't predict. (they came around a corner and she didn't see them at first). I then make her sit and look at me and tell her "no" and wait until they walk by. I'm not sure what else to do.

    2. Clarification: I tell her "no" when she's barking at people, not just because people are walking by. If she's good when people are walking by, we just keep going.

  5. You need "strangers" as in people who are only strangers to her. Then you can tell them what to do in advance.

  6. Guy's an idiot for presenting his fist to a dog. How would a person react to that!? I think the part about you pulling her off the sidewalk and making her sit until people walk by is perfect. That dino graphic is great :)