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I am very pleased to report that Renji is making tremendous progress. I think it's because my laptop crashed so I'm not nearly online as much as I usually am.
Yeah, I'm a hopeless geek. anyway, back to Renji.

Last weekend, my fiance took Renji down to visit his parents. I was worried about how Renji would react to his parents (though he did meet his dad) but especially how things would go with their 12 y/o, oversized, overweight, over-ornery beagle. Amazingly, things could not have gone better. He was fine with both his parents and even was able to be introduced to the beagle! They both did posturing, some attempts at mounting which were controlled, and then they PLAYED. Eureka moment- Renji's not dog aggressive so much as he REALLY REALLY WANTS TO PLAY WITH DOGS BAD. So they got on great. Of course, the beag is dominant, stubborn, and very used to getting his way, so it was he that ended up being "top dog" and it was he that eventually told Renji, in no uncertain terms, to bug off. They eventually had to be separated but only because Renji kept bugging the hound and the hound was escalating his snapping. The beagle is also allowed up on the furniture and Renji is not and amazingly Renji didn't even try to hop up. At one point they even drank out of the same water bowl as if they'd done it for years. Huzzah!

So we're having our ups and downs, of course. Some days things are great, other days it feels like we took a huge step back, but the progress over time is definitely up. We've been going to training and this morning was our.. fourth group class I believe. Renji did AWESOME! There were SIX dogs, some of which were puppies and one of which was reactive (much like Renji), and a bunch of people because most dogs had two handlers with them and one dog had brought his whole family (two adults and three kids). It was a lot for Renji but right off the bat I decided that enough is enough, he's going to deal with him and pay attention to me and I'm going to stay calm and act like this is the most normal thing ever. Whereas in all other classes we initially began way across the training field and only towards the end moved in, today I put him 10 feet away from two other puppies, right in the middle of them but a bit back. And he did great!

We had some excited lunging but they were easily dealt with by moving away, redirecting, refocusing. It was a bit much, but Renji did beautifully. I praised him when he was quiet and just observing or when he kept calm when other dogs were making a fuss. I praised him muchly when the kids were near him and the kids moved just a couple feet away from him and he didn't care! When one dog got reactive and aggressive, Renji did very well and didn't escalate as much as I thought. At the end of the class, I had Renji out of the training area, sitting between my legs, and we were just a few feet away from the lady with the reactive dog, and both of our dogs stayed very relaxed- hers even ended up laying down! It's great to see handlers and dogs progress a lot just in the time of one class. :thumbs:

The trainer and her assistant both told me that Renji is doing fantastic, that he's progressing amazingly fast and we're doing awesome. I'm very proud of my goofball! He did show much better focus at this class than others but this time I brought his Kong. I have to get it on a rope by next class to make an even better reward for Renji. The trainer is also going to set up a doggie "play date" with a good match for Renji so he can just go play and be a dog; my guy said Renji just couldn't get enough of playing with the ol' hound dog. In any case, I have an awesome dog (who is way smarter than me), I have the best trainer possible (who is worth her weight in gold and Kongs), the class students are also great (and they have the cutest dogs), so all those elements make up for my training skills which do leave a lot to be desired, but it's getting there.
 

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Awesome Diana, great job!!!!


Originally Posted By: DianaMEureka moment- Renji's not dog aggressive so much as he REALLY REALLY WANTS TO PLAY WITH DOGS BAD.
He sounds JUST like Keefer, lol!
 

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Sometimes life is good! So glad to hear of Renji's progress - and yours.

Sounds like things are progressing nicely. Good to hear you recognize the temporary set backs are just that - temporary. The more you expect, the more you get, keep it up!

Way to go, Renji!
 

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Congratulations--that's wonderful news! And what a relief that you misread his behavior as aggression--I understand that completely because Rafi used to go nuts when he saw other dogs too and it was because he really wanted to get to them and play.

Hope you and Renji went out and celebrated your great progress!
 

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Yes, things are well. Focus and loose-leash walks are big problems, so this morning I took out the treats and after his potty break I tied the leash to my belt, leaving just a couple feet of slack between me and Renji. I'm happy to say I didn't once correct on the leash nor even allowed the leash to tighten. If he got a bit ahead, I just brought my leg up and touched him in the butt to snap him out of his reverie, and anytime he looked at me he got treats. We did three laps around the pool/courtyard block and he did awesome. New rule- every single time I take him outside I have either a toy on me or treats, to always reward good behavior and distract from the distractions. The chicken liver producers are going to love me.
 

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Diana - It may be time to add a command to touching his butt when getting him back in heel position. As you touch him, you could say 'get in' (as in get back in heel position.) Continue the treats or toy, though.

It shouldn't be long before that's all you have to do to get him back. Since 'get in' qucikly means yo uwant yor dog back by your side, you can you wherever they are in relation to you - front back or out to the side.
 

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Wow Dianna! That's great news!!! Reminds me some of Keeta: the flipping out, the crazyness! The only way she seemed to know how to play with other dogs was running at them full speed barking and growling, jumping on their backs and grabbing them by the neck. Not to mention the growling, barking and snapping at ME if I tried to hold her back! (I mean, how dare I interfere in her social life?)

So yeah, play behaviour can easily be mistaken for aggressive behaviour in an unsocialized, over-energetic dog.

Took a LOT of work, but wow, has she come a long way. And so will Renji, I have no doubt.

And 3 years later, I still have days where I feel we are moving backwards instead of forwards, but don't despair. I predict that now that the initial walls of getting through him have been breeched, the continuing improvements will be exponential!

Congrats for believing in him, and giving him a chance. Pat yourself on the back1!
 
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