Yay she growled!!

Way back in the summer of 2006 I adopted a 10 month old red Border Collie Mix.  Shayne, as she would become to be known, was a very underweight terrified dog.  I was made aware when I adopted her that she was food aggressive but other than being timid, she did okay on her temperament test (no flying colors but good enough to pass).  After about a month or two in my care her food aggression issues were being managed and worked on but quite a few other issues began to appear.

Shayne and her pal Risa in a situation that could easily have caused an overreaction (by both girls)...but we worked hard to build a pretty good relationship between them.

She began to have issues with other dogs.  These issues were exacerbated by two incidents with other dogs coming after her.  The general lack of confidence plus the two unprovoked scuffles created a very defensive dog.  She wouldn’t generally react while on leash at the sight of a dog, but if a dog got in her space she would overreact and give and over the top correction.  She couldn’t greet dogs nose-to-nose, that was way to uncomfortable to her… she would sniff for a second or two, freeze and then react with an aggressive looking forward motion while making a lot of noise (it was all show, she could have easily bitten and hurt the dog but she never did…).

So, over the last four years we have worked on her doggie manners and about a week ago I was absolutely shocked by her reaction to being rushed by a dog.  This is a dog she met briefly once before.  We were walking through a doorway when we were surprised by an off-leash dog on the other side.

Shayne jammed in the back of a van with two strange dogs (and her brother)... very close quarters would have been a sure overreaction/fight... but now, she gave a low growl to Potter (other red bc who was being 'fresh' with Rio) and then just got out of the car--she chose not to over react and instead walked away.

The other dog came right up to Shayne’s face and instead of snapping at him and making a lot of noise, she lowered her head just slightly, turned her head away just slightly and gave a low growl.  The other dog didn’t listen so she gave a warning snap….but that was it.  No aggressive forward movement while making lots of snarly noises.  She gave quite a few calming signals before she even growled and only after that didn’t work did she deliver and totally appropriate correction.

I didn’t think I would get so excited over a snap…but it was really awesome to have her be so appropriate in her corrections.  That has been quite the struggle over the years.  We had worked on her not feeling like she needed to react and rewarding heavily for calming signals but that’s not quite the same as learning how to react appropriately. For the first time, ever I think, she offered a totally acceptable correction to another dog without taking it over the top

This was definitely a WIN for our work… she’s becoming more and more social and more and more normal every day!


About Success Just Clicks

I'm a dog trainer and enthusiast who moonlights as a blogger and custom tug-toy maker.
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6 Responses to Yay she growled!!

  1. gotspots says:

    I am so excited for Shayne. It seems recently she’s been having large stepping stones in her behavior. 🙂 I hope one day she can actually welcome Delta and Doc and possibly even play with them. ONE day. 🙂 Haha Congrats to a mommy that is, and should be, super proud of her baby.

  2. For serious! She may never play nicely (I think she’s a natural fun police with poor social skills… she’s too controlling and too aroused by the play to really play well)… BUT I do think she’s moving closer and closer to being able to greet and interact with dogs appropriately with out any concerns on my part–and I think she liked Delta and I’m sure she’d like Doc. I am quite excited by the prospect of not having to keep my guard up so much … making sure we aren’t surprised by other dogs while hiking or on a walk… I know one day we will get there! Just gotta keep working! Thanks for your support!

  3. The Sprollies 'n' Border Collies says:

    Oh my gosh your dogs are just adorable! Found you PBU.

    Happy New Year!

    (You can visit us at http://www.thegreendogs.com

    • Thanks!! Your little red border collie puppy is super cute! I sort of want to cross the ocean and steal her (or him?)…red dogs are a huge weakness of mine!!

      I signed up to follow you on google friends!! My dogs are jealous about the sheep… 🙂 Happy New Year to you as well!!

  4. Way to go Shayne!! I swear, she and Risa are a LOT alike. Which is both good and bad especially when it comes to their interactions. 😉 I’m sure Shayne will continue to improve. She’s already come so far already!

  5. We came over from PBU. Would love to learn more about dog training and we’ll definitely be back to read all about it!!

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