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Old 08-08-2014, 08:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Kindness of Strangers and Puppy Training

Linus is almost 5 months old now. I’d like to share some experiences and wonder if anyone else has been helped by strangers in training their dog.

Lawnmowers: a few weeks after we got Linus I came across a neighbor mowing her lawn while on our walk. Linus was clearly anxious about the loud lawn mower. I was working on desensitizing him to the mower (working at a distance in which I could get him to focus on me). My neighbor, whom I’ve never met before, sees this happening and stops mowing. She says hello to us and I tell her that Linus is scared of the mower. This nice lady then spends the next 10 minutes socializing with us, letting Linus approach and check out the mower. From that day on Linus is totally fine with lawn mowers.

Bicycles: Linus was a bit leery of bikes. He wouldn’t lunge but he seemed stressed when they were around. Every time I saw a bike I would get him to focus on me until the bike passed. I was doing this as a woman on a bike was waiting at a stop sign across the road from us. She remarked how cute Linus was. I thanked her and mentioned that he is a little scared of bikes. She then interrupted her ride and spent a few minutes talking to us. A very similar thing happened with another cyclist. Now Linus doesn’t mind bicycles and tends to just casually watch them ride by.

Joggers: Not long after we brought Linus home a jogger ran very, very close to us from behind. It started the pup and he then started reacting to joggers. I did my usual focus routine from then on. A little while later several different joggers noticed him stressing, interrupted their run and spent a few minutes with us talking nice to and sometimes petting Linus. Now Linus doesn’t mind joggers.

Work trucks: A couple of strangers driving work trucks have stopped, said hello and even gotten out of their truck to socialize with us. Linus pretty much ignores all vehicles now—even loud, large vehicles.

Delivery Persons: Several delivery persons have stopped to chat with us. We happened to be in the yard when they pulled up.

I am so very thankful to these total strangers for helping me train Linus.

Does anyone else have such stories? Surely my neighborhood can’t be the only one with kind, dog-loving strangers. I am lucky. More than half of my neighbors have at least one dog.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's nice to see these things with people. I experienced some of that, I threw a police officer and garbage man in there.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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One summer day when Delgado was almost 7 months old my family got together for a picnic and took the dogs to this public beach which allowed dogs. We were playing in the water for hours, then it came time to head back up the beach to eat lunch. I go to follow the rest of the family when suddenly Delgado is barking his head off and throwing a epic tantrum at having to leave the water and I stop to deal with it while my family heads off and I'm left alone.

I'm trying for a while to get up the beach and he is just getting more and more upset and mad. I tried correcting, distracting, ignoring but nothing was stopping him. He was like a two year old in a candy store kicking and screaming at the top of her lungs on the floor because the parents said no.

This older lady is walking down the beach and stops in front of me, I hung my head waiting for her to scold me for taking this wild out of control barking dog out in public. She smiled kindly at me and said, "he's young isn't he" I nodded and she patted my arm, "don't worry, you're working at training him" and she continued walking down the beach.

I paused and then held my head up high and walked quickly through the beach ignoring the barking Delgado was doing and sat down on the blanket with my family. I didn't get one single angry look, noone was judging me, they all we having fun soaking up the sun and enjoying themselves. It was a lightbulb moment for me that it truly didn't matter what people thought of me and my dog, I was working hard at training him and that's all that mattered.

I wish I could see that lady again to tell her how grateful I am and how much those words touched and encouraged me.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:48 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Great story Shanna. Sometimes we all need a little encouragement.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Enjoyed your stories. Mine was w/ Daisy of course. After her puppy kindergarten graduation I took her to a local lake. She was about 6 months old . she saw a couple eating their lunch at a picnic table by the water. She somehow lunged just right and the leash which was one of those adjustable length broke and she went to join them for their lunch. I ran over and apologized . They both laughed and said she was beautiful and it was a good thing to have her out so she could learn.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Update:

Restaurants: We took Linus to a BBQ restaurant today.

Just as soon as we sat down a kind waitress rushed over and asked if Linus needed water. I said, sure, and thanked her.

Moments later she returns with a small container of beef brisket and a large bowl of water. She playfully scolds me for looking at the brisket saying "its not for you".

After asking permission, she serves Linus. And then she takes our order.

He was one happy camper at the BBQ Restaurant, let me tell you. After thoroughly enjoying his brisket, he sat there calmly admiring the world for a while. Then crashed out under our table for the entire time we ate.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I was hiking with Nix at my favorite trail and we came across some horseback riders. Nix went BALLISTIC!!! Barking and lunging at the horses. I pulled him far off the trail and refocused him on me, so the riders could pass. But they didn't, they stopped, and we chatted a bit while Nix grumbled next to me. I apologized profusely, they were so nice. Said their horses were very used to dogs. They stayed on that trail until Nix fully settled down and then moved off. It's was the nicest thing ever. As a rider I am always so careful not to spook horses and being respectful.

Nix still hates horses. But he is controllable now. My favorite hiking spots have lots of riders on them.
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I got a horse story too lol

we have horse carriages in Manhattan, like old fashioned looking ones that give rides for money
so I'm driving one time, my dog sleeping in the back seat, i stopped at a light and one of those horses stopped behind me.

he woke up, looked out, saw a huge horse head staring at him.
and you csn picture the rest
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Update: The kindness of strangers and their help in training a puppy continues...

Children: We took Linus to the Washington DC Memorials. There is a busy path between the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. By "busy" I mean a constant stream of bicycles, joggers, walkers, strollers. We sat on a bench next to this path and watched humanity flow by. Linus was really digging it, watching and sniffing from his place next to me. Then he started hamming it up for people.

While leaving we walked passed a family sitting on a bench. Their children politely asked if they could pet Linus. We agreed and Linus said hi to the little girl, who was about 6. The 4 year old boy, however, was hesitant. He seemed a little scared of Linus who is weighing in now at 58lbs. So Linus sat on his foot and grinned at the little boy. The little boy squealed and wanted to know why Linus sat on his foot. We told him that Linus was just showing he liked him. The girl then pipes up, "does he like me too?". Yes, honey, he likes you too. Big smiles from the girl...

Seeing the little boy's discomfort, Linus then proceeds to calmly lay down on his side next to the little boy. The little boy finally melts and sees that Linus won't hurt him, gives him some pets and gets a big grin on his face.

We were so very happy to see this behavior from Linus. He's usually pretty excited around kids but was quite calm around this little boy. All-in-all a great day for socialization.

Thank you children (strangers). Thank you kindly. And thank you to the parents who raised their children to know how to behave around a dog.
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Madeline Ronan Heart (Maddie) Dec 1997 -- November 22, 2013 Rescue GSD, Sable
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