Screaming at Dogs

…has today proved ineffective. We were having a magical walk – well, not magical, but manageable. Saw a black dog chained up in someone’s driveway and thought oh great, here we go with the barking and lunging from both canine parties. But the stranger dog was silent! Phew, I thought. Pnut didn’t notice so I thought we were off scot free.

Until the dog was suddenly right beside us. No human in sight, no leash dragging, nothing. This dog appears to have been loose without supervision in the front yard. I started stuffing pnut with duck as fast and furious as possible (and trust me, I was furious) and decided to yell at the dog to make it go away. I yelled and stuck out my foot in the hopes that this would convince the other dog that I am dangerous or at least not fun. However, it paid me no mind. Now I am starting to fear the other dog trying to steal the food in addition to just being around pnut. Pnut had not barked until I started yelling, which I consider a miracle. But I yelled and he promptly began barking and lunged once at the other dog. This successfully caused retreat of the illegally off-leash dog, and I was able to coax Peanut to also walk away and eat treats treats treats. Then after about 30 seconds of walking away, I heard the dog approaching again. “It can’t be”, I thought to myself. But it was, so this time I picked Peanut up and kept on in the opposite direction of the dog. It did not continue coming up to us.

For one thing, I feel so stupid and guilty for yelling – I think I just scared Peanut more by doing so, thus negating my counter-conditioning efforts. I also feel stupid because there was a guy down the street staring at me. Everyone always stares at me when I am out with pnut because I am feeding him which is not what most people do on walks. I don’t enjoy it, and now I am additionally being stared at for yelling at a random dog which “nicely” approached me. And I imagine that they are laughing at me because I yell, and then pnut yells. One more to add to the list of reasons to feel stupid – I never considered that I may be instilling fears in the other dog. I don’t think dogs should approach strange dogs, but if it is loose without supervision I can’t imagine that there exist many well socialized dogs that wouldn’t come up for a little look. It is unnecessary to potentially plant fears of Jack Russell Terriors or girls with ponytails or whatever else the dog might latch onto. I can’t control whether nutnut reacts and scares the other dog, but I can most certainly control myself.

However, I am at a loss as to what I should have done. I had food and a dog, both of which (presumably) interested this other dog. The dog was not being controlled by anyone, my house was not close, and I am sure that if I walked away, the strange dog would have tagged along. It is ill-advised to pick up a dog being targeted by another, aggressive dog. I don’t know whether picking pnut up would have been the best option. I did it later on because the other dog was far enough away that it wouldn’t have been able to get pnut.

May I just point out that it is illegal and extremely irresponsible to have your dog free and unattended. If pnut was worse behaved, he could have bitten. I expect that the owner, if they saw the interaction, thinks I am crazy and poorly behaved for yelling at their dog. I detest the world of dog. I do not appreciate the super strong feelings I have about dog ownership and training. They make me upset. They make me hate people.

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Treat Trio for Counter Conditioning on Walkies

“Let’s get to it”

-Michael Bolton

 

Three walks today, two with me and one with Pa. Reportedly on the first walk he barked at a lady gardening who greeted him, as well as the neighbour who greeted him from the window of his truck. Not bad, but also no good for him. Or his reputation – I am going for “dream dog”.

I chose to keep both walks in the neighbourhood after he was so tense walking around the mall yesterday. On the second walk, after dinner, we saw a lady jogging, some toddlers playing loudly and their moms yelling intermittently, a pair of beautiful quiet yellow dogs walking with their man, and some average sketchy Asian people (somebody ahem pnut has a problem with Asian people…they are always walking slowly and backwards and with umbrellas and visors and other suspicious items). I felt that this was an extremely successful walk, until we were back on our street and a man on a bike with a big white dog was following us and catching up quickity split! 😦 Pnut noticed and kept turning around to stare as I tried to hurry him along, stuffing treats in his piehole the whole while; we were only a couple of houses away when the other dog began whining. It seemed to me (though it’s not like I have a degree in animal behaviour or anything, hardy-har-har) that the dog wanted simply to greet Pnut. Or maybe it was “jealous” that Pnut was getting treats. Whatever. Either way, Pnut was rather alarmed at this development and I ended up intermittently pulling to get him home – not a good thing to do, as it simply adds stress and discomfort to the situation, but it is preferable to standing there and letting the other dog come by while Pnut (presumable) stares on in paralyzing horror.

On our earlier walk, we passed by a guy cutting tree branches who offered us one to throw, and an elderly couple pushing a stroller. As we passed the elderly couple, we were going past a guy playing basketball in his front yard, and just up the street was another person approaching as well as a man using power gardening tools (?). Before that, there were a couple of very little kids riding bikes and yelling, which just happened to be very near two people walking and talking who then parted ways as an SUV pulled up. Jeepers, on that walk all of the triggers managed to group themselves! But he did wonderfully.

In fact, I can’t believe how well he did today! The two golden dogs appeared only a few metres away from behind some bushes, and while Pnut was visibly alarmed, he did not bark or even growl, and was able to stay with me and respond when I called him. This is incredible! Not to mention him not reacting at the man with the branches who spoke to us – we managed to have an entire exchange without being interrupted by barking, which my conversations on walks generally are. On a related but totally insignificant note, the branches were huge, longer than my room (I know you don’t know how big that is but measuring things is for wussies), and the dog is 12 lbs, and the man said “If you need a stick to throw, I’ve got plenty.”. Thanks bro, always looking out for a dog in need.

Anywho, super pooper! Heh. Super proud of pnutterbutter. I also walked 3 dogs today at the shelter and took my friend’s dog to be boarded. Dog day!

And I have decided that there is an ideal combination of treats for counter conditioning on walks. It is the beautiful trio of freeze dried crunchy liver (Crouch? Grouch?), Zuke’s minis, and Orijen treats. I am currently using vitality bars (don’t recall the brand) as a substitute for Orijen because I ran out when I dropped my treat bag somewhere during the first walk. Hmph. They are pretty good too. Recently, I have been considering whether perhaps straight up hooman meat – I mean, meat designated for consumption by hoomans – is cheaper than dog treats. Thoughts?