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

Club Pit

I am lucky enough to volunteer with an amazing pit bull organization.  If you are remotely near PA, you should volunteer with us too.  We have a program called Club Pit.  From the website:

“Looking for a way to meet other pit bull owners or socialize your dog responsibly? New adopter from a shelter or rescue looking for support? Have a pit bull and want in on the fun? Check out LCPO’s Club Pit! It is our mission to have responsible pit bull owners in our communities. Club Pit is a way for us to lend pit bull owners the support they often need through information, socialization and a low cost spay & neuter program.”

Wow.  Is that awesome, or what?  Well I am a pit bull owner and I need support!  So yesterday I join Club Pit for their first weekly training walk.  It is a controlled environment that we can work on training, where I am supported and understood by fellow dog owners.  Less judgement; more nodding and compassionate smiles.  I love it, obviously.  Anyone who knows Leroy by now, knows he was bound to throw a few fits.  My friend and rescue champion Christine remarked, “Is that all he does?  That’s not so bad.  I’ve seen worse.”  She was perhaps being nice, or slightly delusional 😉  However, her unwavering support means a lot.  And Leroy adores her.  I did not remind her that, yes, this is all he does after two years of training and 20mg of Prozac!  But all in all, he was slightly improved from his pre-Prozac, pre-Reactive Rover days.  He was vocal.. he really loves to let everyone know how stressed out he is.  And I was a neglectful mom and couldn’t find his Halti, so he pulled like a demon.  But otherwise, he did just fine.

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Watch Me!

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Please ignore how attractive I am. It was a great hair day.

 

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Leroy was trying to woo Sage, who was training for her Therapy Dog test

 

Despite how well I know Leroy and how I am always preaching about standing up for your dogs, I found myself climbing up a slippery mountain to get away from a ditsy, inconsiderate  normal dog owner who thought it was funny that her two dogs totaling 35 pounds were pulling her towards our pack.  Instead of just yelling out, “Stop, he needs his space!”, I decided to run off the path, risking my life  twisting an ankle to get out of her reach.  I need to start taking my own advice!  So in case you haven’t read it yet, or if you need a pep talk like I did, check out this blog.      

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Leroy and I prepared for the walk by decorating ourselves with yellow ribbon.  Of course, not all dog owners know what this means.  So I’m here to tell you! 🙂  It means Leroy needs his space.  Here is the website for the Yellow Dog Project.  Check it out and if you see a dog sporting yellow, (or an owner running up a mountain) give them some space!