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Discussion Starter #221
Posted this on FB today. Posting it here because this is basically the 'reactive dog journal' for me.

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I'm thinking about Molly this morning and most of what I'm thinking is that I have got to stop with the labels and calling her stuff like 'The Neurotic Princess'.

I don't mean I need to stop managing her - she needs distance from dogs I'm not going to take time to introduce her properly to, and she needs to not meet strange people - and I will definitely call her names, but applying a bunch of labels at this point isn't helping me manage her. It's just getting in our way.

Kylie is more likely to lunge at another dog than Molly, at this point, and she's less likely to ultimately make friends when given a slow and proper introduction. Kylie would also prefer most people keep their hands the eff off her. Yet, I've never considered Kylie a problem. I didn't have labels for her, I just gave her what she needed to be comfortable, didn't care too much and moved on.

There are places Kylie is comfortable and can go that I wouldn't take Molly because she wouldn't be at all happy there, but-

The labels have served their use, at this point, and need to go. It's no longer a matter of 'this is what is going on and since I know I can figure out how to fix it'. All that's happening now is that the verbage is reinforcing this view of her as 'broken' in my head.

She needs some stuff and I'll make sure she gets it, but she's not broken. She's Molly. She's my dog. Those are pretty much the only labels that need to be applied, dammit.
 

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Yes and relate. Language carries so much power because we have been using it to think since we were 2. Labels are short hand but can sometimes backfire and become a way of looking at things that are dynamic and on a spectrum as black and white. It's like mental health diagnoses in our culture. They don't describe a specific disease so much as a group of symptoms that will be experienced differently by different people. At least these are the thoughts that were triggered in me by your post. And I think it goes back to what you were saying about accepting a dog for who they are. I think I'm running away with your point on my own mind-workings. Still very thought provoking.
 

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Discussion Starter #223

Molly at last weekend's trial.


Distance from ring.
 

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Nice job, as always! I am continuously inspired by Molly and your acceptance of who she is. And she is AWESOME. My work wants me to write an article about acceptance (specifically for fearful dogs) and Molly definitely comes to mind, in terms of your journey with her and how far she's come because of your work and how you celebrate her.

Also, your matching game is so on point. I had to stare at the photo for a long time to realize the crate mat and the blanket were two separate entities. My first thought was wondering how you got a super convenient bottomless crate type thing...
 

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Discussion Starter #225
At some point it's basically accept the dog you have or tear your hair out :p Besides, you're right, she's a very good dog and we've got a pretty good understanding now.

I laughed at the remark about matching. I bought those things entirely separately, and the crate 'mat' is actually 2 car mats I got for a whole dollar in a local overstock store. I set up at the trial and was baffled (and amused). I could not have shade matched that well if my life had depended on it!
 

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Discussion Starter #226
The 'general public' is frustrating the crap out of me, all over again.

Molly is now, mostly, entirely fine with people - barring some specific and relatively rarestuff. Entirely fine ranges from neutral to *really* happy to see them.

So, when she was growling, snarling, barking, stiff and with her hackles up the most common response was to stop, or try, and baby talk and coo 'reassuringly' at her, generally making a fuss and making her more uncomfortable.

Her happy greeting, which is more and more common now, is to wiggle loosely, squint her eyes, wag her tail, approach with a c-shaped body and her ears back, and submissive grin while wiggling. CAN YOU GUESS HOW PEOPLE RESPOND TO THAT?

Terror. Stark. Raving. Terror.
 

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People suck. Once, my Pippin was barking at another dog and this dude picks up his dog and rams his dog up Pippin's butt telling me that will "cure" him.
 

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Discussion Starter #228 (Edited)
Reactivity has come up on the forums again and Molly had a training date with some friends today so, straight up shameless brag.

She's not normal. She has SURPASSED normal.

Y'all. This was a disc thing.

In a public park.

With children, other dogs (besides the disc ones), bicycles, and traffic.

She had dogs she's never seen before running 3 feet from her nose chasing discs and didn't do more than prick her ears and whine. She worked for, and sat in the laps of, strangers. She played disc well. She wasn't ignoring the environment but wasn't distracted by it in the least.

I was informed, by the person who is a CGC evaluator that she would pass the test, easily, and you know? She was right.

I'd gotten to the point where I expect this kind of stuff from her at agility events, but this? Was above and beyond. It wasn't known and a 'we know what we're here to do so let's do it' thing. This was just Molly, at a busy park, doing stuff with strange people and dogs, off leash and without fences.

She ... has gone from a dog with a short fuse to damned close to bomb proof. And I am amazed. my FB memories from 2 years ago said 'I just want to be able to do SOMETHING' with her. Nearly 3 years ago, I was in absolute tears and had no hope of ever getting anywhere.

BIG time scale, but yeah. I'd say we've made some progress.

(Will I ever stop being amazed? Lol, no.)
 

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Discussion Starter #229 (Edited)

https://youtu.be/vFX8zQ5uaBA

There is absolutely nothing particularly impressive in the behavior here - and please remember not to judge her as an obedience or rally dog; she isn't one.

What there is? What I would like you to look at? Is the environment and the DOG. (And okay to know that that first clip is a morning arrival at an agility lesson).

Guys? No words. None. I keep thinking we're as good as we could possibly get, and I keep being DEAD WRONG.
 

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I cried. Honest real tears for the beauty.
 

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Discussion Starter #231
I cried. Honest real tears for the beauty.
So did I, to be honest <3

She got her novice trick title today which is... not a big deal. What is fairly impressive is that she did it at an unfamiliar *indoor* location, with dogs barking from the other side of a wall, did it happily and comfortably, and then went to tractor supply and picked out a toy to celebrate.

I went in prepared to move outside, but she was legitimately okay in that basement. THAT was what prompted me to try TSC. Where she barked at the cashier, redirected easily and moved on.

...also I cracked everyone up because I have *accidentally* taught that dog one hell of a heel.
 

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Discussion Starter #233
From facebook, so names are going to be odd for you all, but.

That in depth brag I promised. This week Molly:

-Took her disc up to a group of several people chatting, in hopes of them throwing it.

-Played disc with several people (including some she's had little to no previous interaction with, like Seth).

-Actually sat at Travis feet and, I think, wanted to be adopted by him (he throws far and is the best).

-Would LIKE to have played tug with them and her disc (this is horrible, funny, but also impressive; spit her disc and back off is what she does when she's still not sure)

-Jumped up on people and made kissy faces at them.

-Sniffed Min and realized Min was neither a rabbit or a threat.

- Did not give a **** about the other dogs, including Rusty. Biggest concern from her was that she wasn't getting any turns at playing just then.

-Wore a go pro for a bit,was unbothered.

-Chased her disc while people walked by really close. Was not distracted but also did not care.

-Left through a crowd of small children , including one tiny one nearly running directly into her, without issue. (Wagged her tail and was friendly looking, even)

Y'all, she's been improving over all for a long time, but she's barely even recognizable as the same dog from 6 months ago. She's still not going to want to be pet and handled by strangers, and I have no doubt she still has limited tolerance for rude dogs, and she can still be pretty tightly wound, but.

Holy. Crap.

I keep thinking 'she's good, this is the 'finish line', she's not going to get better/there is no better. And I keep being DEAD WRONG.

(First person who makes a crack about 'rude' behavior like not outting or jumping up for this particular dog wins me rolling my eyes so hard I sprain something)
 

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This week Molly:

-Took her disc up to a group of several people chatting, in hopes of them throwing it.

-Played disc with several people (including some she's had little to no previous interaction with, like Seth).

-Actually sat at Travis feet and, I think, wanted to be adopted by him (he throws far and is the best) . . .
Molly has come such a long way in a very short time!
So what if she doesn't want to be pet or handled by strangers? I don't want strangers touching me either!
And rude dogs? Again, I feel the same and that includes rude people.
Go Molly!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #235
Molly has come such a long way in a very short time!
So what if she doesn't want to be pet or handled by strangers? I don't want strangers touching me either!
And rude dogs? Again, I feel the same and that includes rude people.
Go Molly!!!
I am totally okay with those things. They're normal, especially for herd-y things. And she is ONE HECK of a herdy thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #236 (Edited)



Professional photos were taken.

That's one of those 'never going to happen' things that. Happened. She even played with the photographer.
 

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I was looking for a new agility class to take recently (my old one has been canceled for the foreseeable future because of a damaged field), and I had a terrible phone call with the head of a local agility club. She said that my Klara would never be allowed to get anywhere near a trial ring 'all doped up', referring to her fluoxetine. Aside from the fact that she made me cry by telling me that I clearly hadn't trained well enough, tried hard enough, or seriously thought about the side effects of the medication my dog is on, she also made me wonder if that's true.

I don't think we'd ever get to the point of doing an actual triail, but are there rules in place around that? Molly is still on her meds right, has that caused any issues?
 

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Discussion Starter #238
I was looking for a new agility class to take recently (my old one has been canceled for the foreseeable future because of a damaged field), and I had a terrible phone call with the head of a local agility club. She said that my Klara would never be allowed to get anywhere near a trial ring 'all doped up', referring to her fluoxetine. Aside from the fact that she made me cry by telling me that I clearly hadn't trained well enough, tried hard enough, or seriously thought about the side effects of the medication my dog is on, she also made me wonder if that's true.

I don't think we'd ever get to the point of doing an actual triail, but are there rules in place around that? Molly is still on her meds right, has that caused any issues?
There are *some* rules in place around medicated dogs - barely, and at international levels, and even then only to avoid people giving their dog PAIN MEDICATION so they can run injured.

There are no rules against running on SSRIs, not in any organization that I know of. Molly is still on meds, everyone knows it, no one gives a crap. They would if she were creating problems for other dogs or people (ie: Meds weren't working), but that's all.

That woman you talked to was both a jerk and WRONG. I am so mad for you!
 

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I was looking for a new agility class to take recently (my old one has been canceled for the foreseeable future because of a damaged field), and I had a terrible phone call with the head of a local agility club. She said that my Klara would never be allowed to get anywhere near a trial ring 'all doped up', referring to her fluoxetine. Aside from the fact that she made me cry by telling me that I clearly hadn't trained well enough, tried hard enough, or seriously thought about the side effects of the medication my dog is on, she also made me wonder if that's true.

I don't think we'd ever get to the point of doing an actual triail, but are there rules in place around that? Molly is still on her meds right, has that caused any issues?
Sorry you had that experience. What a horrible thing to say. I hope you and Klara find a more welcoming club. You probably dodged a bullet...
 

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Thanks to you both, it was really awful. I am not wrong for medicating my dog, but it's hard to remember sometimes. This was our first phone conversation to set up a time to visit her facility, and she was incredibly dismissive and horrible.

There aren't a lot of clubs in my area, but I've reached out to a few people today via email to look for classes. Klara and I just want to have fun and build confidence! It's fun for both of us.

I went and watched my first agility trial today, it was happening at my local fairgrounds and I was nearby for another event. It looks so great! Such happy pups!
 
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