Saturday, June 29, 2013

Spur: Training the Beast, Part 26

First Official Group Class, June 29

We picked up a muzzle for Spur at the Petco. I made the executive decision to put it on Spur for his group class. I knew it would make the other participants less nervous around him; therefore, they’d be more relaxed and less likely to set off something in him. Doug was feeling too sorry for him; shock collar AND muzzle. I’ll admit, Spur did look rather pitiful, but at this point, I think it was definitely the right thing to do.

When we walked up to the class, Spur didn’t make a bark nor “oof” at any other dogs or humans. Introductions were made and there were three other dogs there that were dog aggressive. (As the class continued, a few late comers showed up and several of their dogs were also dog aggressive.) They started with a weave exercise, through the other dogs/handlers. Spur did great, no noticeable issues. It seemed like he knew that, with the muzzle on, trying to act up with the others would have been moot. He acted just as sane and well-balanced as all the other dogs. The ONLY issue we had was while the dogs were taking a break (it was getting rather hot) and “Daisy” (a known bully) was standing beside the relaxing Spur. We were chatting with the other owners in the shade when I looked down and saw an odd look in Spur’s eye. And then his lip quivered. Just as I said Aaa-Aaa, Spur jumped up at Daisy and Daisy didn’t back down. Both of them, up on their hind legs! Both of them with their mouths at each other’s necks! Lots of noise! Doug was able to pull Spur away and take him for a walk. Daisy’s mom apologized and claimed she didn’t see any of it start. After Spur’s walk with Doug, he was back into the class and ready to work as if nothing happened. Except for the incident with Daisy, Spur was awesome!

After class, Sam asked if we had questions, concerns, comments. I explained that when we started, Spur was human aggressive. Now it seems he’s got a mix of Human and Dog aggression. Sam explained that really, he’s just dog aggressive with dogs that are not balanced. I agreed, but still voiced my concerns about the turn of attitude. She encouraged us to keep coming to group classes (which we were planning, anyway, because we know that all the exposure he can get can only help him,) and that if it doesn’t get any better, we’ll schedule a private class at a dog park.

As we were walking to the car, Daisy’s mom drove up and stopped to let us know that the incident was not 100% Spur’s fault. She explained that, while Daisy will not bite, she is a bully and will not stand down. She said Daisy likes to play and was most likely staring at Spur as an invite. Spur took it the wrong way, and Daisy didn’t back down. Hence the incident. I stood in that parking lot for a good 30 minutes talking with Daisy’s mom about all sorts of stuff. She was the one who, at an earlier class (May 18,) told us she had had a human aggressive shepherd and encouraged us back then that it wouldn’t be cured, but it would get better.

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