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The Petsmart experience......

1796 Views 15 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  selzer
Mom and I decided to go to Petsmart. Her GSD Wolfgang needed a new lead, and I wanted to get Reich a Kong and goodies for inside.

After she had done so well at the vet's office earlier in the day (many other dogs around, some very reactive, but she held her sit/stay and basically observed) I decided we'd try taking her in with us. (She had a 4-5 hour break between outings, relaxing and playing with Wolf).

She LOVED the aisle full of chewies and toys...even picked out which flavor of Kong Stuffins treats she wanted lol.

Then she was met with a situation.

Exiting one aisle, there was a pit bull, who immediately started lunging, barking and snarling at her. Really giving the poor lady handling it a hard time.

Reich looked at it, started to posture... I quickly gave a 'leave it, let's go' and started walking down the next aisle.

No strain on lead in the other direction. She totally ignored the other dog and came right along with me.

I was SOOOOO happy. She is making such progress. Great timing too, as we start obedience classes next wednesday and I'd rather not spend the whole time trying to stop her from tweaking over her classmates.

The only things we've really worked on lately are her focusing on me and obeying commands, and made her play sessions with Wolfgang more frequent. I've also started monitoring my own reaction to her seeing another dog more closely.

I'm really hoping the positive experiences with him are helping her get over her fear of other dogs and gain confidence.

Opinions? Anything else the wiser here would recommend?
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That is really incredible. She is one smart cookie.

I'd recommend that people with trait inherent dog aggression not take their dogs places unless they had and could keep them under control.
(meaning the other dog-that is my only recommendation since you seem to have things moving along WELL)

to you both! And nice job Wolfgang.
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Yeah why do people wtih aggressive dogs bring them places where other dogs are? Duh.

Sounds like your doing the right things. Reich did well in the situation.

Good luck with training! If it's anything like our class, there will be at least one dog there that freaks over the slightest thing and really has no business being shown in breed or *Gasp* actually BRED!
LOL, it made perfect sense to me, Jean!
She is very smart. Unfortunately, I had alot to learn about dealing with her dog aggression to be able to start helping.

Since february we've gone from no DA, to automatically breaking down at the sound or sight of another dog (cowhering, shaking, crying, trying to dart under the nearest object etc), to going into ****-houndish fury trying to get at the other dog, to what we experienced today.

I'm very proud of her, but know we aren't done yet. I just really want to make sure I do all I can to keep the progress going and NOT screw it all up.
How old is she? Your avi looks like about 4 months old in snow, is she 6 / 7 months old? That would explain the break down of her behavior!

Just keep doing what your doing. Bad situations like today are going to happen. Stay calm and be your dog will follow your lead.
Originally Posted By: SunCzarinaYeah why do people wtih aggressive dogs bring them places where other dogs are?
Maybe the lady with the pitbull was dealing with a fearful reactive dog as well? Bullies are strong, so the owner probably had to really work to keep the control.
Im glad Reich is doing so well, keep up the good work!
Yes, about 6/7 mos. Her AKC papers list her DOB as 12/15, but we're not entirely convinced that is the accurate date.

She's growing into a big and beautiful's nice to see her starting to gain some confidence in this regard.
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SunCzarina, you questioned in your earlier post why people take their dog-aggressive dogs places. This situation could have been a bit different with the OPs dog doing the snarling and lunging. And then someone on the pittie site would be asking why people take their dog-aggressive dog places.

I don't think you can have it both ways. You cannot take a dog there to work on their dog-aggression, if you cannot take a dog-aggressive dog there. No matter how hard we worked and how well the dog has been lately and what the dog did yesterday, the fact remains that at the end of the leash is a being with a mind of its own. It can make us proud, it can mortify us.

I think they are doing a great job, and she had cause to believe her dog had made progress. PetsMart is an ok place to go when you are trying to socialize your dog. It is also a proving ground. It is also a place where ignorant and oblivious people go with their dogs. It is better to be 100% focussed on what you are doing (with your dog) when you are there, especially if the dog may have a problem. If I have a questionable dog I take the dog in and walk with it, but do not try to purchase anything. I can take the dog back out to my vehicle, come back in and make the purchases quickly. That way I do not have to be stuck in a check out line between who knows what.

A little is a lot when it comes to stimulation. If you go too fast or do too much, you can go backwards in a hurry. I do think classes are a good idea though, as well as occasional outings. Just be sure to be aware and move delicately away from situations you think the dog is not yet ready for, before the dog realizes it. And go home before the dog is majorly stressed out.
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Oh I agree Selzer. Reich could have very well been the loud mouth!

I wouldn't have taken her by myself. With mom there, if the experience started to go sour I could easily have handed mom my stuff and taken the dog back to the car.

I've never taken her there before because I knew it would not go well, and there are usually alot of dogs. But after observing her at the vet, surrounded and remaining calm and collected...I was ready to try her.

Just a bit ago I took her for a run down to the store. We got down to the sidewalk and the little dog at the root of her DA was out on his lead across the street, yapping and being a spazz.
She saw him right away. As soon as I saw her gaze lock on him I gave a quick 'leave it, come on'. And she did. She didn't even bark.

I do want to be careful and not put too much on her too the same time I don't want to not do enough and lose progress.

Dogs are so tricky!
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congrats, one of my most favorite things about my boy is he is not reactive to "out of control" dogs. i know that it made u feel good to be able to say to yourself "we're calm, cool, and collected" (at least thats what i think to myself) good job!
Reichsmom, I think you are doing a great job. Giving your dog a voice reminder that you are in charge of the situation and having him respond is awesome.

I am not ready to crucify the owner of the pit yet though. She may have been working with her dog as well. When we take our dogs into these places, we all need to remember that you do not need an obedience title and a CGC or even proof of vaccinations to get through the door. Many of the people and dogs there are learning, the rest are idiots.
I wouldn't call them idiots, just ignorant. At least they take their dogs places and give them attention, better than leaving them in the backyard to their own devices. I wish we could hand the "idiots" a pamphlet on dog care, and positive training methods or give them this great site to learn from(which I have recommended even to non GSD owners)
<u>"I am not ready to crucify the owner of the pit yet though."</u> I agree!
I try not to judge anyone right off the bat.

Lord...if you saw me and Reich on a bad day, you'd think she was a horrible beast and me an incompitent owner.

The owner of the pit looked more 'annoyed' than anything, not something normally seen with someone trying to work through DA, but whatever.

My girl was behaved. Our work is paying off, and I love her even more for it.

The other woman and her pit...I wish them the best.
I wouldn't call them idiots or even speak to them at all for fear of my dog acting up over the tone of my voice!

Was the pit full grown? It's too bad the owner acted annoyed. I still don't think it's a place to be working on dog aggression. Too many people go there with little puppies and little dogs that could get hurt.

Your dog is a puppy, nobody should think her a horrible beast unless she's behaving that way when she's 2! Should have seen my Morgan when she was young - we used to call her serial killer psycho bitch.
"Many of the people and dogs there are learning, the rest are idiots. "

I stand by my statement. There are not that many people out there NOT learning. People with excellent, obedient dogs are still learning. People with maniacal, serial killer, psycho bitches may be learning a whole lot more than the first people mentioned, but they ARE learning. People with pits that bark and lunge at dogs are often learning too.

I am not suggesting calling the people that are not learning idiots, what a complete waste of breath that would be. No, I was stating that there are two types of people that go to Petsmart, dogs in tow: those who are learning, and those who are not. While there may not be many people that fall into the second category, the couple that are around can make life miserable and dangerous for us. And there is really no way around that fact that sheer stupidity exists in the world and WE have to protect our dogs from these people and whatever act of stupidity that they choose to commit.
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