New year, new Penny training goals. Here are Penny’s “resolutions”:
- Be friendlier with fellow pups. As a puppy, Penny loved playing with other dogs at puppy daycare, at some dog parks, and she grew up with my family dog, Riley. While working on her reactivity towards people, we neglected to have her around other dogs for a few months. When we introduced her to my step-brother’s dog this Christmas, she showed some serious signs of resource guarding. Any time the other dog came toward me or Alex, the presents nears us, etc. Penny became aggressive towards him; like psycho growling, barking, lunging aggressive. More to come on how we’ll tackle this issue…
- Walking etiquette. With our new backyard easily accessible for play time, consistent walks have taken a back seat. Penny still pulls quite a bit and her threshold hasn’t expanded much either.
- Agility! In true Aussie fashion, Penny picks up on things quickly, is agile as can be, and loves a challenge. We’re considering a beginners agility course once we have a better handle on the resource guarding against other dogs. She’d thrive and build confidence. A confident dog equals a less fearful dog.
- Possibly wean her off her anti-anxiety medication. Once we are comfortable with her progress, her training plan and path, and have approval from her trainer, we want to explore weaning her off her daily anti-anxiety medication, Fluoxetine. Plenty of people have suggested we explore CBD oil as an alternative, because she is a very anxious dog in general. I’ve done only a little research, and it seems there hasn’t been a comprehensive or formal study on it. I am definitely open to getting more information and will ask my vet and trainer; I’ll report back! [If you want to read more from a reputable source, see this AKC article]
There you have it. All of these resolutions will probably get their own post as they unfold.
I don’t want to get all sappy, but I do want to reflect on how awesome dogs are. My personal experience with Penny proves a few things:
- Not every dog wants to be everyone’s best friend. Respect that. Let those kinds of dogs feel comfortable and loved how they want, even if it’s at home with the select group of people they trust.
- A dog can present challenges, whether it be because of their breed’s disposition, their personality, their experiences, their genetics or nice combination of a few of those. These challenges need to be understood, then properly faced. Any dog can thrive when their owner trains, exercises, and loves the hell out of them. Love your dog for who they are and help them be what you need them to be so they’re conducive to your lifestyle. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to me or look at my resources page.
- The dog community is vast and so willing to help one another. If you want advice, cute pictures, funny stories of dogs being naughty, and more find a dog Facebook group! I’m currently a member of: Mini Australian Shepherds, Aussies Doing Things, and Support Group for Reactive Dog Owners.
Thanks for reading! I’ll try to post more frequently in 2019, so you can enjoy all sides of Penny, frustrating to funny ones.