Now Taking Questions!
Well, hello there stranger. Is it OK if I join you?
It’s been a long, long time since we last saw each other.
I’m sorry I didn’t write, but I want you to know that I think about you all the time.
It’s just that with the job and the other job and the job on top of that and the grad school and the old dog peeing on everything, I haven’t been able to think of anything to write during my five minutes of free time that I spend lying on the floor.
I’m embarrassed to admit that it was me who sent you that random text in January. You know, the one that said: SEND ALL THE COOKIES.
Can we just forget about that? Thanks, you’re a real friend.
Anywho, we’ve got some serious some catching up to do, don’t we?
First things first:
Imagine that a professional dog trainer, a veterinary behaviorist, a social worker, and a dog walker all offered to answer your most pressing questions about living with a reactive, fearful, aggressive, or just plain old weird dog.
What would you ask them?
I want to know. Tell me in the comments section.
Here’s why: I’m interviewing some pros for the upcoming DINOS online mini-class that I’ll be offering later this year and I want to make sure I ask them what you want to know.
I’m creating this class to help you guys feel less stressed, more connected to your dogs, and more empowered with good info. Plus you’ll have private discussion boards to talk with each other. Wheee!
The DINOS class isn’t a dog training class, although the info will pair nicely with any dog training you might be doing.
The class will include, among other things, a few recorded interviews with professionals who really understand the challenges you’re facing and have good advice we all need to hear.
So you tell me what questions you have for a: professional dog trainer, social worker who runs a support group for people who live with dogs who have behavior issues, and veterinary behaviorist.
I’ll choose a few of your questions to ask when I sit down to talk with them!
Speaking of questions…
And now for my most favorite thing ever: I’m answering the questions I get through my search results. I haven’t done this in years, but I love it and I wanted another round.
Here’s how it works:
When you type words into a search engine, like Google, results will pop up. If you click on a blog that came up in those search results, then the writer of the blog will see the exact words (the search terms) that you typed into the search engine, which led you to their blog post. Bloggers get a whole long list of the “search term results” that led people to their site.
These search terms crack me up. Sometimes they make me sad. And lots of times they’re good questions that deserve to be answered!
Without further ado, here’s a lightening round of search term Q+A:
“List of names for a pit bull dog”
What can I say, I like carbs and old people. And rear ends.
“Dog licking its balls”
To clarify, are you looking for photos or advice? Or is that you’re so stressed out by that awful slurping noise, which distracts you while you try to write important emails, that you were looking for an online support group? Help me to help you. Also, here’s the best ball licking cartoon out there.
“Why my dog doesn’t stand up for himself.”
Because he’s waiting for you to do it.
“Is it bad to let a dog dictate its life to you?”
It depends. Do you have an app to record them telling you their life story or will you have to take the dictation by hand? Because I can’t write as fast as my dog talks, so it would be a bad call for me personally. But maybe you’re a court stenographer, in which case you have the necessary skills to record your dog’s epic stories of relentless ball licking and how they learned to stand up for themselves when other dogs made fun of them for being named Tushie.
“I am a dog owner in Ireland but hate people with multiple dogs that are not kept on leashes and cant control them.”
Matching! Except I’m in America. Let’s be pen pals!
“tradmil for dog practice and make metirial Punjab”
Terrific! I’ll see you at 7.
Did your dog tell you to write that?
I sure do miss you guys. Remember, tell me what you want me to ask the smart kids when I interview them. Put those questions right in the comments for me to read!
Oh, and if you want to be the first to know when the DINOS class will run, please sign up for updates here! I’ll only email you about class info…no spam, ever.
Comments are closed.
Reading this post reminded me of how much I missed reading your posts! Sorry you’ve been so snowed, thanks for writing, I’ll try to think of an intelligent question.
Thanks Rondi and silly questions are welcome too!
Question from VT: “My rescue dog has gradually become more and more hyper and reactive. She gets wound up from hearing birds, kids, car noises, well, pretty much everything. It is more just wacko and barking, rather than aggressive. Help!”
Thank you for your question!
For a minute, I had to check the name on the above post from Marie Lallier….I thought I may have written it…
Same situation, similar dog…HELLLPPPP!
Comments section? Where is that? OH…right here? Well I guess I didn’t realize they/you could see what I keyed in as my search!! How funny. I will be more careful with thoughts. But I do have your book, and 2 very stinker reactive weigh more than me dogs…who I love dearly. I read the book every night…they still drag me down the street, chase squirrels and other dogs (especially small tasty ones). Do you think I should fit them with muzzles?
The search results are anonymous, so feel free to google anything and everything you want to – we’ll never know it was you! Thanks for your question Kriss. My short answer is yes, but I’ll be sure to talk more in-depth about this with the pros about this in the upcoming interviews!
Thanks! Good to see you back writing to us!
Jessica, we’ve missed you!
Having worked with a trainer, behavior consultant, behaviorist, sheep, horses, classes upon classes and, of course, my financial advisor, there is one question and one comment I wish I had answers to at the start, both to do with MY well-being:
The question: “When will this get better?” I am aware there is no answer, but I needed a date when my dog would be normal. The pit took away all semblance of order and structure in my life. We do the work, could you just tell me when it will be easier to deal with her in the world?
The comment: “She will make progress as you make progress.” All of us working in tandem to bring this dog peace, turns out I have been the hindrance. EVERYTHING got better when (a) my timing improved and (b) I accepted that Molly is a fixator with no impulse control and that might not ever change.
We have had some remarkable success these last few months. I am able to keep her under threshold a majority of the time (passers by even comment what a well-behaved pit she is!). I have realized the progress is actually MY improvement; Molly has simply been waiting for me to guide her appropriately. The main skill I have learned? Avoid, avoid, avoid. I changed my expectations. She may never see another dog and be fine, but we rack up success after success ignoring squirrels and babies, people we know as well as strangers We buy power drinks for skateboarders so they stop their boards and greet Molly when we approach. All that builds our cumulative confidence; it confirms that looking at me has a much better payoff (all the chicken you can eat!) than anything else out there.
Long-winded way of stating to our future online mentors: please put the work in a holistic context, help me redefine our goals.
Jessica, feel free to edit this down or not post this at all. No offense taken either way. (Please, all the looks and comments from neighbors and their ‘friendly’ dogs? I am made of steel.)
All the very to you,
Lynn (the mom) and Molly (the pit I do not hate nearly as much as I once did)
Hi Lynn! I’ve missed hearing from you and Molly too!
Two things: I love that you have skateboarders helping you out. And that is such a great question/comment for the pros!!
“Please put the work in a holistic context, help me redefine our goals.”
Let me ask you this, just to clarify further. Did someone say this to you back at the start: “She will make progress as you make progress.”? If so, did you feel that annoyingly vague or was it helpful in creating some context?
Thank you, Jessica.
No one told me her progress was dependent upon mine. I thought we practiced until one day she would be fine. People said Molly would calm down with age. Nope. She was bait, she missed the good stuff during her critical development (Coppinger, fantastic source), her brain cannot process like a typical brain. That is what I learned about my dog through my reading of canine biology. That piece of information put me in a better place in terms of patience. But no one told me.
My job was to manage MY environment so that I could better manage hers. Nobody told me not to walk my dog at 7 am because everyone walks their dog at 7 am. We go at five. Nobody told me to never wears clogs or flip flops even for quick walks because you never know when you are going to have to lure your dog while walking backwards and tie up sneakers are best for avoiding falls. No one told me to ask neighbors if we can walk with and ignore you and your dog while eating chicken so that you become no big deal in our environment on future walks. Nobody told me that heeling on a leash is not about the walk, as much as it is a starting point of so many other skills, including tricks!
I added to Molly’s pain for about four years because I didn’t understand the whole picture. I am certainly NOT blaming anyone, but I do believe realistic expectations were never presented to me because who wants to tell their client what they are up against for a very long time?
I don’t know if I provided the information you sought. But thank you for this forum. I can breathe again!
Jessica, you have been a source of tremendous support for us. Thank you.
Oh my goodness, how come no one told you to avoid walking at 7am?! Ok, I really see what you mean here…it’s not only that realistic expectations weren’t set (re: her brain), but also that there were lots of practical, day-to-day tips that you had to figure out on your own and that took a long time to do! Thank you, this is really helpful…I’m going to email you privately because I have an idea! xo Jess
Hi Jessica! So glad to have you back, and way to go on doin’ you for a while! Tildy Moo has made tremendous progress thanks in great part to your outstanding blog, and extended Kikopup binges at Youtube. I’m feeling my way back to the final frontier, which isTildy socializing with other dogs. She consistently lunges, barks, and gets super reactive when near other dogs– or even if she sees them up the block. (Tildy does have one doggie friend at her grandma’s house, though. That’s something, right?!) Overall, my girl is SUPER happy. We do trails and walks off hours, daily training sessions, and she’s infinitely better with people now that I know how to manage the interactions. So, my questions to you and your board of awesomeness are–Am I doing Tildy a diservice by keeping her separate from almost all dogs? Is there a point at which I should let go of the prospect of her socializing comfortably or at all? FYI–She is between 8-10 years old, and has been with me for three years, if that makes a difference. (Also, so stinkin’ cute, for the record.) Thanks for all you do! Lizzy & the Moo
Aw, you guys have done such amazing things in your time together! I will definitely bring this up in class – it’s a great question. And she IS super cute!! xo Jess
Will it ever be possible to walk past a mail carrier without all hell breaking loose? I love my rescue Belgian Tervuren/chow mix more than anything, and she’s made an incredible amount of progress since I adopted her — after she’d been returned twice, with one trainer recommending that she be put down — but she is still crazy on the subject of not just mail carriers, but all delivery folk and their vehicles. Is there anything I can do to help her move past this?
Oh, that’s a good one! I walk a dog that was hit by a UPS truck years ago and he has very strong feelings about all delivery folks (understandably). I’ll be sure to bring this one up, since I know we’re not the only ones dealing with this!
I like to say that my dog is a DINO in remission because I don’t think a DINO is ever fully cured and unfortunately she does have the odd flare-up. But, for the most part, we are on the other side of her horrible days and came through together as a team, making our bond stronger, I think, than it would have been if she hadn’t seen every human, dog, rock, tree, plastic bag etc. as the enemy to be smited. We are proof that it does and can get better. But a DINO will probably always be a DINO. Thank you so much for everything you have done and will do in support. The most helpful thing for me was knowing I wasn’t alone and my dog wasn’t a monster.
My question is this, do you have any methods for polite communication with other dog walkers who let their dogs off-leash in on-leash areas because they don’t realize the danger they are putting their own dogs in? As a socially awkward and shy person, I have always struggled with communication. For instance, when my dogs and I dive into a bush to avoid an oncoming “friendly”, I feel this is an appropriate signal to leave us alone. I am not jumping into brambles because I like getting dirty. But so often my fellow walker does nothing as his or her dog dives after us. Other than yelling, which never works, is there anything you can suggest saying quickly and calmly that helps people realize the error of their ways? I want to have positive encounters with my neighbours but I fear I will be known as the “bitchy dog walker” forever.