Tag Archives: Patience

Teaching Bella To Get Along With Other Dogs – BARCS ID# A21561474

getalong117 days ago, Cynthia and I went to pick up Candie, now renamed Bella, from BARCS, and the progress she’s made so far is amazing.  At the beginning, Bella wanted nothing to do with Alex and we did not force her either, but rather took them both for walks, and runs around the neighborhood.  Bella’s body language was that of a dog in shock of being outside.  More details in another post.  Anyway, as time went by, Bella stopped staring and wanting to go for Alex.

getalong2But look at Bella now.  She is sunbathing on our deck with Alex and Dexter.  Does this take time?  Yes, it does.  And a ton of patience.  Today, Monday, was a nice day so we went out and stayed hanging out on the deck for a while.  What is the point of doing this?  I want Bella to get used to just relaxing around other dogs and I also wanted to observe her body language towards Alex and Dexter, and the squirrels around our backyard that always get her attention.

getalong3This is one of my regulars, Dexter, a boxer mix.  Dexter loves to sunbathe indoors or outdoors.  He is a bigger sun worshipper than my daughter, Alex.  Bella was not very good at dealing with other dogs once we were inside the house, but…

getalong4this is Bella now.  Bella was already on that spot.  Dexter came over and decided that that was the right spot for him and proceeded to fall asleep without a care in the world.  I was looking at their body language to see if there was any signs of aggression to come, but nothing.  I know this may sound ridiculous to some people, but I wanted to cry.  Why?  This is progress for Bella, being able to get along with other dogs indoors, and I was over the moon.

getalong5As you can see, Bella is about to fall asleep too.  Is there anything in particular we did to get her to this point?  No, it was a combination of many things such as:

  • Exercise – a mix of walks and runs twice a day
  • Feeding – once she is finished eating, she is to wait patiently until all the other dogs finish their meal and then all of them go to bed to relax and take a nap
  • Sleeping – she sleeps in her crate after we give her some loving
  • At home – she is not allowed to roam around the house on her own.  She is either with Cynthia or I so we can monitor her body language and interaction with other dogs
  • Outside – we are working on getting her to walk properly, and she is doing better.  Her body language during our walks went from afraid to more relaxed as time went by, although squirrels still drive her nuts
  • Structure – she gets all the love she can handle, but she must earn it.  She has to sit before she gets anything, she has to wait before going out the door, and so much more

getalong6Bella is even getting more comfortable with Alex sniffing her and being close to her.  For those pet parents and foster parents that just got a new dog to add to their pack, my advice would be to do the following: have patience, appreciate the progress your dogs are making regardless of how small they may seem, do not leave them unattended, provide structure for them, exercise them, and work on teaching them basic training and good manners.  Understand this though, your dog will not change overnight.  You will see progress and change in your dog as time goes by, so arm yourself with a lot of patience and do not feel discourage when there are setbacks, and there will be set backs.  Our foster furry kid, Bella, is an amazing girl and little by little we are starting to see a more relaxed and balanced doggie.  Enjoy your holiday with your furry children.

Walking Your Dog Properly

Every time I go for a walk with Alex, I see pet parents walking their dogs, while others have their dogs walk them.  The former is the goal and is what you should strive for in order to enjoy walking your dog.

wlkrght1The above picture shows how a kid is walking his dog properly.  The leash is loose and both, kid and dog, are relaxed.

The picture below shows how not to walk a dog.  The dog is pulling his pet parent and frustration will soon ensue.

wlkrght2The dog’s attention is directed toward other people and dogs rather than the pet parent which causes the dog to pull on the leash.

Has this happened to me?  Heck yes.  More times than I care to remember, but walking Alex and the dogs that stay with us taught me the following:

  1. Before putting that leash on your dog, check your mood.  Yes, check your mood.  If you are angry, nervous, anxious, etc., your dog will pick up on it and your walk will be a nightmare.
  2. Ask your dog to sit so you can put on her collar and leash.  Open the door with you exiting first, followed by your dog.
  3. Make sure the leash is loose and your dog is on your left side.  If you prefer to use the right side, that is fine, but at the beginning you need to use the same side for consistency.
  4. Start walking with your dog next to you.  If she starts getting ahead of you, at this point she is probably pulling you, walk the opposite way.
  5. Every time she pulls you go the opposite way.  She’ll get the point after a couple of times.  I did this with my first dog, Casey, and I got dizzy because a few times were more like a lot of times.  Patience was my only weapon.
  6. If you get frustrated, and you will, please go back home and end the walk.  The ability for a dog to learn diminishes when she is under stress.

wlkrght3This is Cynthia and Alex walking on a loose leash in Annapolis, MD.  Alex, unlike Casey, learned very fast how to walk this way.  If you have a dog like Alex, teaching your dog to walk properly will be a breeze, but if you happen to have a dog like Casey be prepared to turn around over and over again.

Also, whenever you are teaching your dog something new make sure that you do it in an area that your dog is familiar with and where there are no distractions.  The point is to set your dog up for success, right?  Later on you can add distractions.

wlkrght4 I would not take a dog that does not know how to walk on a loose leash to Annapolis, although this is a very beautiful place, because there are way too many distractions.  Be fair and patient with your dog, and remember that dogs are individuals and as such they learn at their own pace, not yours.