We went for a walk today…

Well yesterday actually! While I typically do most of the “dog stuff”; training, medications, dressing them up and taking pictures, thinking of new ways to challenge them, taking them to classes ect, my fiance is the belly rub giver. We are on the same page when it comes to wanting more for Johnny however, so I asked if he would go with us to see how Johnny should be handled. Honestly, I also felt myself getting more and more stressed just thinking about taking Johnny out, so I needed him there for me as well.

Johnny doing a short sit stay while I watered plants before we started!
Johnny doing a short sit stay while I watered plants before we started!

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The Game Plan

I’ve finally narrowed down how I plan to go about working with Johnny on his reactive issues. CARE for Reactive DogsRelaxation ProtocolMuzzle Training and of course Trick Training. I think each of these work hand in hand and will help him be more rounded and able to handle many different situations. There is so much support from all the different facebook groups and fellow bloggers and having a plan in place has really helped me get excited and motivated to work through this! This afternoon we went on a walk with CARE protocol in mind and it was much less stressful for Johnny, my fiance and myself. Ill post about that later tonight!

The beginning of the CARE Protocol states you should:

C- Consider the Dog’s History

A- Analyze and Arrange

R- Respite and Relaxation

E- Equipment

Johnny’s history? He walks great on leash, doesn’t bark or pull lunging to get at people until they are within his strike zone,

Johnny’s Triggers? Stranger, Dogs, Kids. This is the order we are going to work with him as well. Once he’s calmer around strangers then we’ll work on dogs and then once he’s more reliable try desensitizing him with kids. He doesn’t seem worked up around moving objects or noises which is great! Continue reading

The Beginning of Johnny’s Journey

Johnny is perfect… at home, with no visitors, as long as his schedule isn’t disturbed! We got him when I was working at HALO Animal Rescue about 5 years ago. He was just 4 months old and had already found himself on the local humane society’s euthanasia list, not for fear but for straight human aggression. We knew taking him into the rescue was going to be a risk, but we also had seen many many dogs change drastically once they felt more comfortable. We also knew how unfair some behavioral evaluations could be. Johnny, at first, was no exception. He was quiet in his kennel, calm outside in the play yard with the other small dogs, and did not show any type of high strung behavior. He was exactly what I was looking for!

Johnny's picture for HALO's website before we officially adopted him!
Johnny’s picture for HALO’s website before we officially adopted him!

Hindsight is 20-20 and looking back I know if I knew then what I know now I would have seen a very different dog. His being ‘calm’ outside was him being unsure and cautiously watching everything going on. I would have seen that although he may have been quiet in the kennel, he was anything but relaxed. He was tense and withdrawn. Definitely not your typical puppy but I loved that even though he was young he had the face and eyes of an old man. Im sure feeling bad thinking about what he must have gone through at humane was no small part in choosing to adopt him. Fast forward and now Johnny is turning 6, has bitten at least 4 people and attempted several more. He has had to endure poor training choices from us, and has gone from only child to sharing his home with not one but two sometimes obnoxious frenchies! Continue reading