Things That People Don’t Like to Talk About- Progress Has Stopped

It’s not that there we’ve never made progress.  We have, and it has been excellent.  Leroy is on Prozac and he is a happier and more manageable dog.  I wrote about it here, and took a video of us working at the park.  That is an improved dog… seriously.  Maybe you didn’t know him before, but just take my word on this one.  Or take my vet’s word after she watched the video, “That is really terrific – GREAT job, and you’re using different tools (watch, leave it, look at that). You really seem to have found that door into his brain :)”.

So despite the progress, Leroy still has his moments.  That’s all fine and well.  But is that as good as it gets?  I have been participating in a weekly training walk for Pit Bull owners.  Leroy seems to do the same thing every week.  Maybe I just am too close to see what I’m doing wrong.  He freaks out but recovers quickly, then he’s happy to be next to the other dogs and enjoy the pack walk.  Freak out, walk.  Freak out, walk.  Freak out, walk.  Every single week, all summer long.

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I’m gonna be honest here.  I am quite sure that I have room to improve.  I know it for a fact.  But even considering that, there is a part of me that thinks I should be happy with what we’ve accomplished and stop expecting more.

I’ve had the great pleasure of helping one of the rescue dogs, Denali, as her foster buddy and trainer.  She is a sweet three year old girl that needed some help on manners. She happens to have a very pregnant foster mom who has never had a dog before.  🙂  Denali is just a little bit pushy and rude in social settings.  But she absolutely stole my heart!  And after one adoption event and training walk, she has gotten significantly better with her handler focus, sit, watch me, and down.  PROGRESS!  So much progress in just two days.  It’s overwhelming!

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After causing a scene of excitement in the park once Denali mastered the “down” command, I realized that I love and miss training!  I just have been stuck in a routine with Leroy.  I am enjoying the Nosework class with him very much.  But I haven’t felt that excited rush of watching him learn something in a long time.  So until I figure out what to do with my boy, I will get that clicker out and help Denali be the best girl she can be!  She will learn manners, basic obedience, tricks.. maybe she’ll even get C.L.A.S.S. certified!

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*Note.  While I was in the middle of writing this and making mini strawberry pies, my brother Steven’s friend said, “I hope when I have a dog he is as well behaved as Leroy.  He’s a good boy.”

I feel like the universe just smacked me in the head!  Granted, this friend has not seen Leroy lunge after another dog or protect a bone.  He has not seen Leroy be his full-arse-self. But when Leroy is being properly managed and in a familiar location, he is a very good boy.  Sure he chases his tail, sometimes regularly jumps on strangers, begs for food, acts like a goon, ect.  But he is a wonderful dog, especially when he’s not being stressed out by any of his triggers.

To top things off, we showed off our most recent trick, “Bang” which we learned way back in Philly.  But apparently my family had not seen it yet!  They were very impressed 🙂  Since it was new and we hadn’t practiced regularly, he was a little rusty.  But by attempt three he promptly rolled over, flailed up his legs, and paused for effect.  Thanks buddy! 🙂  So my dog is making progress!  Or maybe I’m just making progress at managing him 😉  Either way, Leroy was called well behaved today, possibly for the first time in his life.  So “Thank you”, to my brother’s friend Anthony, for unknowingly putting me in my place.

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Progress Pie

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3 thoughts on “Things That People Don’t Like to Talk About- Progress Has Stopped

  1. I have only read your one post about Leroy being on Prozac. I have a Pitbull girl Laycee who is also on Prozac. We rescued her at 8 mos. old and she had severe seperation anxiety when we tried crate training her. She actually figured how how to unlatch the top latch on the crate door and squeeze thru the top to get out….she tried pulling down on top of the crate and bent it, then she started pooping in the crate. That was the last straw…off to the vet we went to see what alternatives we had for anxiety. She suggested Prozac. We were leery at first, but after only a few days on it it was like a miracle! She still gets a little vocal when we leave her, but she doesn’t go crazy and try to break out of the crate anymore and doesn’t poop in it. I know people don’t look kindly to using drugs for you dog….but you have to do something because it breaks your heart seeing them go thru anxiety. She has a multitude of other issues like Leroy does too….dog aggression…some people aggression. Good luck! Enjoy reading about Leroy!

  2. As “parent’s” we have such high hopes and know they can do so much better than what they are doing at the moment. We sometimes have to stop and remember where they are coming from, How long it’s taken to get to where they are and just enjoy the wonderful dog they are now. Having someone else call your dog a good dog or hope their dog is as good as yours is the best compliment you can ever get. My Nallah is a rescue. She has issues still but, is the best dog I could ever ask for. There came a time when I had to say enough is enough and just stopped “pushing” her. I get to enjoy her and love each and every minute I have left with her. yesterday, she surprised me by not barking at the neighbor when he was in his yard. She has barked at him for the past 6 months! Be patient, they will surprise you!

  3. I think you deserve a chance to look back on how far you’ve come and be thrilled. You guys have worked hard and you know that plateaus happen. I don’t think you stop working for something more, though. I bet if you sort of stepped outside of yourself, or even if you convinced one of your brothers to come with you to the training walk and handle Leroy while you observe, you’d figure out exactly what’s causing the initial freak out and be able to make a plan to train Leroy out of it. My off the cuff guess is that the training walk has some stressors for Leroy and separately they’re ones you’ve worked on and that he can handle but when they’re stacked together like that he can’t quite get a grip without some help. You’ll work it out, you guys are a great team!

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