Tag Archives: fear of males

My Obedience School Evaluation – How I did!

Hi All,

You know that Mama was completely committed to sending me to Obedience School after all my bad behavior. Well, I went for my school evaluation on Wednesday. The trainers had to determine whether I’d be better in a group class or in private lessons.

Mama was keeping her fingers crossed for a group class. The prices were listed on the website for group classes but not for the private lessons. Mama says that if a site won’t say how much it is over the internet, then it’s probably a scary price. She gave me a little walk before we went to calm me down. She wanted me to be at my best. I don’t know what she was so nervous about. I ACED the evaluation.


Chris greeted us when we got to the school. He was kind of nice. I was a little bit scared of him so I barked at him a little bit. He backed off and went into a big room ahead of me. We went in there and he threw me a treat. Hmmm! Tasty! He kept throwing them near me and eventually I got a little closer and took them from his hand. He was steady talking to Mama the whole time, not paying me much attention. The room was really interesting.

This school had all kinds of neat stuff for a dog to sniff. There was this big roof thing that I could climb on. Once I got to the top I was nose to nose with Mama. I liked that a lot. Mama says they do something called “agility training” at the school too.


Obviously, this isn’t me, but it could be.

She said that if I get my good doggy citizen certificate that she might spring for some agility training.

I don’t really know what that is, but if it involves getting to climb on that roof and other cool stuff, then I might like it.


I am visualizing my success.

Eventually, Kris started having me do things for my treat. I had to touch his hand with my nose while he gave me a treat in the other hand. He did this a lot. He told Mama that it was to get me accustomed to seeing a hand coming toward me and not to be scared. He seems to think that most of my barking has to do with fear.

Yeah, I agree – I’m trying to put a good SCARE into people so they don’t eat me my mom.

Remember I’m a security dog!

The treats were really good, and I started doing all sorts of things for him. I sat every time he asked me to. Mama decided to show me off. I settled and rolled over for her and she didn’t give me anything other than love!

This Kris dude is pretty smart! He immediately suggested that I might need to be in Obedience II class, the more advanced class, rather than Obedience I.


See how smart I look!

Well, of course I’m advanced. And he’s very bright to notice! I think we’ll get along just fine!

Mama wants me to be in the first basic class, though. She thinks I might have gaps in my knowledge.

So, as you can see I passed my evaluation with flying colors!

I am going to the group class.


Yippee! Well, Yippee for passing, I’m still not so sure I’ll like this class, but if it involves lots of treats and climbing on the roof thing then I might be able to stand it. Mama says we start October 15 so you’ll be seeing a lot of blog posts about my training during October and November.

My eye lids are so, so heavy! I have to go take a nap now fellow bloggers. I’m all tuckered out from my visit to school.

Mama seems very pleased with me and I know that’s a good thing. My belly is nice and full of treats too. This could be a win-win for all of us.

My eyes are closing now…

Smell you later,

Your Pal,

Opie


What do you mean I’m going to school?

 

Hey Fellow Doggers,

It looks like I’m really going to do it. Mama is going to sign me up for school. She’s trying to decide right now if we’ll go Saturdays or take an evening class during the week. She hasn’t called the school yet, but she’s read all of their reviews on YELP and they have more good reviews than bad! So, we’re going to Zoom Room!


Frankly, I think the big draw is that they are right next to Doggy Central, my doggy day care and boarding place. Mama has high hopes for me. She says I’m kind of an advanced student. Unlike the other dogs, I’m firmly on the right track. I just wander off it from time to time. Tee Hee!

You see. I can sit 80% of the time and stay about 75% of the time. Ever since Mama saw Santa and her buddies from I am Santa a Miniature Schnauzer rolling over, she’s been teaching me to roll over as well. I can roll on my back for a tummy rub, but I stop half way. Mama’s a terrible teacher. She gives in when I give her the “Puppy Dog” look (You know the one I mean fellow doggers!) She gives me a tummy rub AND my treat. She’s such a push over.

(The puppy dog look– I can get away with anything with this look!

BOL! )


I’m going to school because mama wants me to be a good doggy citizen. She wants me to be able to go with the family on trips and hang out at outdoor cafes. I’m certainly all for that. I don’t much like getting left home alone. Additionally, as much as I like the all dog partying at Doggy Central, I prefer to hang with my regular pack. If I can learn to get along with folks that aren’t MY humans, not bark too much, and not rumble at men with beards, then that would be just great! We’re shooting for a Good Doggy Citizen certificate!


Mama says I should VISUALIZE my success! Mine will be a little less messy, but you get the idea!

Once my classes start, I’ll be sharing my experiences with all of you.

I plan on being an A student at this school. It’s how the boys in this family roll. Oops, did I accidently brag about my hu-brothers. Oh well! What did you expect? They’re my pack mates – my fur challenged homies!

Do you think I should bring a bully stick or an apple for the teacher?

OR

I’m a little conflicted!

Anyway, have a great week fellow doggers.

I’ll be doing some last minute partying at Doggy Central while Mom and the boys head off for one last little vacation.

Keep visiting my blog. Check out some of my old articles in the archives.

Sniffs and Licks,

Your pal,

Opie


Meeting the folks – Grandma and Grandpa

Hi All,

Opie Here!

Except for the impromptu bath on Thanksgiving Day, I’d say that this Thanksgiving holiday stuff has been a blast! I got this fabulous dinner! I have a new favorite food! TURKEY!

Thanksgiving also has an added benefit.

More people to ADORE ME!

Grandma and Grandpa came for dinner. I met grandma before when she came out for a “Girls Weekend” with Mama (Whatever a “Girls Weekend” is). She’s great. She looks and sounds a lot like mom. I could tell she really LOVED me! So I quickly loved her right back!

This Thanksgiving I met Grandpa Joe. He’s a little scary. He’s bigger than my Dad! He’s really tall. He also likes to wear a baseball cap. I don’t really like baseball caps. I think I’m going to chew his when he leaves it on the floor again. It hides his eyes, and I can’t tell what he’s thinking about me. He does give good treats. He pets me really nicely. I overheard Grandpa say that I’m really smart.

Well, I think Grandpa is smart too for realizing this right off the bat. He thinks he has to keep giving me treats so I won’t bark at him. I bark and they tell me to hush, and when I hush then they give me a treat. They think they’re teaching me to be nice, but we all know who’s coming out ahead on this deal. Grandpa Joe says he’s got my number. I don’t know what that means but he always has some chicken jerky for me and he gave me EXTRA TURKEY on Thanksgiving Day. To my mind, that makes him A-OK!

I may even let him wear that baseball cap inside the house. Tee Hee!

All in all, it’s been a great weekend. Mom, Dad and the boys and Grandma and Grandpa are home ALL of the time. Grandpa has even taken me with Michael on a big walk!

I love holidays – and I love meeting the folks!

Well, gotta run!

Smell you later,

Your Pal,

 

Opie


Here I come to save the day — Treat Man!

Preparing for “Treat Man!”

Sunday morning was unusual!   At 6:45 AM we got up to walk Opie.  I offered to walk Opie alone if Greg would clean the bathroom. Greg agreed, but Opie didn’t. Opie stood on Greg’s side of the bed,  wagging his tail expectantly.  He nosed Greg’s hand, licked him. It was clear that he was not happy with Greg staying at home for the walk.  Okay now we’re both going.  That was okay, except that I usually return from these walks completely exhausted.  I need good quality time with my coffee and the cross word before I can bestir myself to do any significant work.   Unfortunately, I was not going to get any leisure time this Sunday Morning. We had an early morning  appointment with our trainer/animal behaviorist Larry B.

Weirdly, since we’ve gotten Opie our house has been a lot tidier than normal. The boys have kept up their end of the doggy deal. Their laundry does not migrate far from the hamper and little toys and things are no longer likely to show up on the floor. Fear of Opie choking on it or Opie destroying the toy seems to have created an obstacle free floor. Everything within Opie’s reach is in pretty decent shape.  How many more reasons to love this dog can there be?!!!!

However, there are still some things that have to be done in preparation for our guest.  Dishes must be washed, the floor vacuumed the  furniture dusted, the clear coffee table cleaned. Oddly, there are little doggy footprints on the end nearest the window. I wonder how that happened?

I roust the boys!  They vacuum and dust while I close myself up in the bathroom with the windows open and create my usual toxic cleaning cloud.  Why is it that when it’s my turn to clean the bathroom, I’m wearing black?  Yes, I am using a product that has bleach in it.  The tub is clean, the sink, mirrors and toilet bowl are spotless!   We finish tidying with an hour to spare. We have our coffee and breakfast and I jump in the shower and clean up minutes before he arrives.

We are eager to see Larry. He costs about $90 an hour, but as far as I am concerned he’s already earned the money on his 2 hour session with us.  You may recall in a previous blog post Turning a Corner — Opie Loves Daddy!  that we had some trouble with Opie in those first weeks. Larry is the one who gave us the advice that really turned the situation around.  His phone advice turned Opie into a family dog and not just my devoted dog slave.  I was happy  and eager to find out what great advice and choice information he would impart to us.

Opie still has a problem with men.  We’ve definitely got to get him over that. But first we’d like to keep him from barking incessantly and suspiciously people who come to visit us.  Larry is going to help us with that and a few other things which will be chronicled at a later date.

It’s Treat Man!

Opie acted predictably and growled and lunged at Larry when we let him into the house.  Opie was clearly outraged.  The translation of his barks was pretty clear.

” Who the *&%# are you? Get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!”

Larry was very calm and knelt down and let Opie smell his hand.

Opie: ” Yes, I smell you hand, you smell likes treats and one old dog and one younger dog and some other dogs that are not so close by. Yes, you smell good, but I’m not that easy, buster. I got my eyes on you!”

Opie quieted for a bit and finally contented himself with sitting under Greg’s leg and looking menacingly back at Larry.  We offered Larry a chair and he sat down and pulled  treat out of his pouch. Opie was quiet and came forward cautiously.  He took the treat and let Larry pet him.

I should say that intermittently this treating continued throughout our conversation, but only when Opie was quiet and not growling.

I got my eyes on you!!

Opie’s self talk:” This guy has some tasty treats. He hasn’t tried anything yet. Hmm those treats sure are good. As long as he doesn’t try anything, I guess he can sit far away from my mom and dad. He better not move. Gee those treats were yummy.  Mental growl, I wish I could just have the treats and he would disappear.  I’m sleepy.”

Larry asked us lots of questions. He asked about Opie, about our family. He talked to the boys individually.  I have to say I was impressed.  So far Larry’s advice had been sound. He seemed to have gotten Opie’s number pretty quick and he was doing his homework with us to see what our family was like and how good we’d be to work with and maybe also what Opie’s relationship was with all of us.

We talked about leashes and walking and collars and food and treats. We talked about dog parks and dog behavior and Opie’s behavior and where it probably was coming from. We talked about Larry’s work at the South L.A. Shelter, the sad situation with rescue dogs in general and the need for more people to be better and more committed owners.  He talked about his dogs. He would take them to the dog park after he left us.

Opie fell asleep almost under Larry’s feet during our conversation.  He’d worn  himself out being alert. He’d rooted around in Larry’s bag and found himself a big chew bone. Larry had taken it from him and given it back to him several times, until he’d finally been allowed to eat it in peace.  He’d sampled a few more Larry’s treats during his good behavior.

Larry gave us our homework  and a couple of things to work on.  Opie already sits when asked 95% of the time.  However, he does not stay at all.  So we will be working on Sit and Stay for a  few weeks before we have another appointment with Larry again.  He taught us how to go about it. and clearly does not subscribe to the Cesar Milan dominance theories of training.

However, he’s not a full on positive dog trainer either. He seems to take a middle of the road approach, pulling what seems like the best advice from both streams.

Our Homework!

We are to work with Opie inside the house where there are no distractions.  He is to be on leash at this time.  We will work on the sit command and treat for that.  Then we will work on the stay command and treat for that.

 How do we do the stay command?  First, we ask him to sit. Then we tell him to stay and then we wait  about 20 seconds  before we give him a treat.  We keep increasing the time that we wait and eventually we step back  from him a little bit.  If he gets up before we are ready we start all over again. We’ll have to do this for some period of the time every day.  Since I started writing this particular posting ( yes, I take a few days to write them!), he’s  can wait  about a minute well for his treat.    Essentially, that’s it.  As he gets better at these commands we’ll move out to the backyard which is full of distractions!  So far we are still in side.  He’ is fascinated  with the backyard!

Challenges

I have a tendency to repeat myself and say the command more than once.  This is really hard.  You know how counter intuitive it is to say something once and WAIT for the creature or person to perform the command.  My boys have trained me to say a command about 20 times before I see some action. Now I have to expect Opie to do it after I say it once. YIKES! That’s hard.  I didn’t realize how well the boys had me trained.  Maybe they might be interested in some sort of behavior modification profession. I didn’t even know I’d been trained!

We’ll see if  I can learn this new trick! 

The boys are really ready to get to work with Opie! 

At the conclusion of our visit with Larry, Opie woke up. He didn’t bark at him, but let him give him a goodbye pet without incident. Opie probably isn’t Larry’s greatest fan yet, but that’s okay.  We’re in this for the long haul! Wish us luck!


Opie the Misanthrope

No, I did not sleep in this bed. Why am I on it? Uh..uh…

Opie’s not too fond of men.  We are not sure why this is, but we are working on it.

We don’t know much about Opie’s past.  We only have a copy of his Kennel Card and what the Rescue people told us. 

Near the first of June, his original owners surrendered 8 month old Opie  to a shelter.  We don’t know why.  The Lhasa Happy Home Rescue picked him up from the shelter about a week later.  He was with them for a bit, and then they placed him with a foster family.   About a week later, we adopted him.  From June to now, he’s been in five different locations —   His original owners, the shelter, the rescue home, the foster parents and finally us.    We don’t know what kind of movement he had with his original owners.  They probably got him from somewhere.   With so many placements you’d think he would have been a nervous wreck when we first met him. However, he was great. That’s why his misanthropy was such a surprise.

As you know we found Opie through Petfinders.com.  We met Opie at the home of the organization’s founder and owner.  Randi had decided to take him on little walk before we arrived.  We were early and met Opie on the sidewalk in front of her home.  He behaved well. No barking or growling.  Randi picked him up and all of us held him including my husband.  I stuck my face in his fur and inhaled deeply to determine if he was truly hypoallergenic. If I started sneezing, we might as well have gotten back into the car and saved everyone some time.   But, there was no sneezing or itchiness or anything. He was quiet and affectionate as all of us took turns holding him.

Then, we went inside of Randi’s home. She had several Lhasa type dogs running around her living room. Opie was the biggest guy in the room. He was totally calm and placid. He wasn’t nippy or demanding of attention.  My husband approved and so did I. The boys wanted him. Unfortunately, I had no idea that we would actually get Opie that day.  My check book was sitting at home in a cupboard.  My husband had a meeting so we went home and got the check book and he went to his meeting. The boys and I picked up Opie and took him to the pet store and loaded up on his supplies.

Later, that same evening, my husband came home.  Opie barked and growled at him.    We didn’t know quite what to do. We figured it had something to do with him entering the house. Perhaps Opie viewed  hubby as an intruder or a non pack member.  We surfed the web, read Cesar Milan’s book in one night and sought advice. We finally got some that seems to have helped a great deal.

Part of Opies problem seems to be that he’s turned himself into my devoted body-guard/furry son. He has a bit of an Oedipal complex regarding my husband. The behaviorist suggested that my husband take a much more active role in Opies care.  Opie is already devoted and well bonded with me and the boys.  He needs to build a bond with my husband. What does that look like?  Well, hubby walks Opie twice a day, prepares his breakfast, lunch and dinner and hand feeds him a portion of it.  He’s opened his home office door so that Opie can wander in and get petted. Is it working?  I’d say yes.  Opie now sleeps on a pillow on the floor on my husbands side of the room.  Daddy is the first person he sees awake in the morning and the last person he sees at night time.

The other part of his treatment is a weekly visit to the dog park.  Opie’s been twice now — Saturday and Sunday.  He’ll probably go again this weekend.  However, I am a little suspicious of the park. Opie developed his second bout of tummy troubles after visiting the park. I think I’ll bring him his own water bowl and not let him share the communal bowl. I suspect some creepy parasite is reeking havoc with his guts.

We’ve had two male visitors since we started his behavior training. Opie barked and growled crazily at both of them, but eventually settled down.  Last night our good friend Peter visited. Peter has a huge Ridgeback of his own named Fergus.  Fergus stayed home, but his lingering essence was probably all over Peter. Opie of course growled and barked, but eventually settled down enough to fall asleep during Peter’s visit. 

Clearly, this will be a slow process.  Opie gets along wonderfully with every human in the dog park – male and female.  It must have something to do with his natural territorial nature.  We’ll know more soon. We have an appointment this weekend with the behavior guy. He’ll probably give us some more homework and more insight into our little misanthrope.