Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...

Our Sweet and Crazy Coonhound ...
Run Free: birthdate unknown - Oct. 17 2008

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Leash Issue

Training a dog is always a work in progress. We've made pretty spectacular strides in the the four months that Booker has lived with us. He arrived via Delta Air Cargo from Birmingham Alabama on January 26th - that would have made his four month anniversary a couple days ago.

Accomplished so far:

  • Completely housebroken (no marking, etc)
  • Trustworthy out of kennel for extended periods unsupervised (except for a couple instances of stolen kitchen items, like a container of Fish Rub)
  • No more bike or motorcycle barking, growling and lunging
  • Completely stopped fence aggression at the dog park
  • Eliminated food aggression (although we have also banished major food treats, like raw bones)
  • Minimized open car door/SUV/truck aggression
  • Diminished toy aggression
  • Controlled separation barking
  • Just about washed out the rusty chain stains from his chest

We have judiciously employed training tools to reprogram Booker, who was a obviously a only recently retired coon hunting dog. The shock collar (which is now sitting unneeded on the kitchen counter) saved our daily outings to the dog park from being an impossibility. A citronella spray collar is reminding Booker to reserve his barking for outdoors. David and Samantha may laugh at me, but I've found the advice and techniques we needed for most of our training challenges.

Our experiences in the condo lobby and elevator, though, are creating some leash aggression in Booker, who is very obviously an alpha dog, but not an aggressive one. He exhibits no submissive behaviors at all with other dogs, rather greets calmly and then continues on his way, fairly aloof, but polite. He will stand his ground in all scenarios, which is very seldom (never?) an issue at the dog park, but is troubling when we are assaulted by a pint size furry terror in the small confines of the building. Booker will let loose with his huge coonhound bark and brace for an anticipated attack. He has begun barking even before a dog barrels impolitely into us, which makes me uncomfortable, which he is obviously sensing. I don't want this to become a bad cycle that feeds unacceptable behavior. I want him to ignore other dogs when he is on leash, and to interact calmly when I give permission.

I think (don't laugh!) that I have found some help again, this time from Canine University. I need to get some really good treats and concentrate on positive engagement with me when we encounter other dogs.

Now what to do with the tiny toothy terrors on zippy-leashes? I may resort to a greeting that adds "Please control your dog" to my usual "hello, how are you?"

1 comment:

Cyrus The Great said...

I don't blame Booker for wanting to eat those furry little pip squeaks! I mean, lets face it, they just don't have very good attitudes. They get all ruff and tough everytime I try to sniff their behind when clearly, I am only trying to see who they are. There's no need to act all snotty. My mom says that it must be a parental thing that they are lacking. I mean my 'rents would never allow me to act that way! The mailman says its bad karma anyway.
But on the other paw, you humans don't understand that we are much more highly evolved in the sense of a threat! I always know when a mean dog is approaching, just as I know when it's bath time. They both make me curl my toes and cringe. Some cringe, and some growl. I guess its the way we k-9's veiw our lives. I have a suggestion for Booker though, maybe he should consult the mailman about adjusting his chi. (no not Chihuahua- I mean CHI- you know his life force energy...) I bet this will help. Yeah, I try to get my daily dose in before the afternoon potty break and before the mid day snoozathon.
Let me know how it goes!
Bully Licks and Farts
Cyrus the Bulldog