One of the things I actively detest is when my dog gets fearful. That she does on occasion, particularly when it comes to the dog run at Bishan Park.
Tag: socialisation (Page 1 of 2)
This article is a continuation to – Dog Socialisation 1 – What do you think of when you hear the word “socialisation”?
An off-leash JRT that approached Donna during our walk at the park.
We brought our dog Donna to a Dog Daycare Centre for a temperament assessment a few weeks back. We realised, as we watched Donna trying to blend into the wall in that room full of other dogs at the Dog Daycare Centre, that she does not get to play with other dogs enough to know how to deal with this sort of situation.
After that she further showed us how true that thought was when she started to show a tendency to mount the dog she was playing with when the dog run was over crowded with dogs. She gets too excited and humps the dog she is playing with. And the over-arousal makes her less responsive to recall and other cues we try to distract her from the obsession with trying to gyrate against another dog.
That is a big word, isn’t it? And one that is not particularly intuitive either.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we took Donna for
an audition a temperament assessment with a Dog Daycare Center. Before that, the owner had asked me over email, “what breed is your dog”. And when I replied mongrel, I was asked – “Is your dog socialised?”
To say I got my hackles up was an understatement. I got the underlying implication that mongrels are likely to be trouble-makers, and further conversation with the owner of the daycare center confirmed the truth of my suspicions. The owner said that the few times they had a mongrel, it had caused them problems.
Do we look like problems to you?
Picture taken in January
She never did this before, but we had only adopted her for a short period of time when this picture was taken… it sure looks funny. She looks like a pole dancer…
So I sent the picture over and was informed that we’ve got to stop it because humping is a sign of dominance. Ooops… ok, best stop encouraging the dog just because I want to take a funny video :P
But really?? Dominance? Our dog?
The other day my mom wanted to visit me but I was taking Donna out to the dog run.
And what does she do there, my mother wanted to know.
Oh, she runs around with the other dogs… you chase me… I chase you … like children.
There is a rather child-like quality about dogs that gets endearing, isn’t there?
This white husky looks bigger than Donna but she is only 7 mths old to Donna’s 4 years :P
So we go for a walk. A walk is when you put one foot in front of the other continuously and that movement carries you away to some place else.
Lately, she has decided that a walk also requires you to stay in place for a long time. A loooonnng time. Donna decidedly enjoys just standing in one spot, sniffing the air, listening and observing passerbys.
Rooted in the same spot, observing the world go by.
This is the cute, happy face you see if you are walking towards us.
Considering Donna had a pretty dull time the later part of our visit to III Cafe, we decided to stop by the Bishan Dog Run which was on the way home.
We haven’t been inside for quite some time since Donna had gotten fearful of the place the last couple of times she was chased by dogs there. Subsequently, I did take her to the park so that we practice staying calm while walking past the fenced-in doggy area. She did not appear averse to entering that day, so we thought we’d try bringing her in and hanging around the area where there were less dogs… except that three dogs immediately lopped towards our area to check her out.
While Donna did not jump for joy, she was not as fearful as she was previously as well. What she did was to duck under the park bench when she got uncomfortable with the attention and then make exploratory forays from there. In, out, in, out until she was comfortable with her new friends.
I didn’t start taking any pictures until later when I was assured that she was having fun with the other dogs.
If this brown dog had some spots, he would look like Scooby-doo! :P Looking at this picture, I think I start to get why Ruby’s human thinks that Ruby’s black coat looks too dense in colour. Donna’s black coat does stand out but does not look as nice as the brown dog’s softer tones against the surroundings.
Checking out the white dog who preferred the fence to them. :P
Is that a border collie? I’m not good at identifying breeds. Still that’s a lot of hair!!
We limited her to 15 minutes of play time in the dog run so that we could leave on a very positive note for her. She was so dog-tired, she didn’t even blink an eyelid at the close up shot at home. :P
If you are interested, Dr Sophia Yin has a great poster on Dog Park Etiquette that can be downloaded for free as well as tips how to train a dog to prevent him from being part of any unhappy situation that may escalate in a dog park in the dog park. Southslope.org has a nice Dog Park Etiquette Poster with lots of useful tips for adults and for parents with children on how we can help make the dog park an enjoyable place for all humans and dogs and also what to do, if a fight breaks out.
Ever since I decided to take Donna down three times a day for her morning walk and two pee breaks, to cut down on the cleaning and disinfecting I need to do at home, I get out of the house more often.
But going down just for the dog to inspect the grass can get boring. Although I’m sure the dog will disagree on that point. I mean, look at it.
That’s the, “It’s opening. It’s opening….oh, it’s not opening…. quick open the door so we can go out” look.
Anyway, once out of the door I start to plan the route we’re going to take because going down the same path all the time is really boring. But pee breaks are really short, and the path can’t differ all that much. That’s when we started to get creative and try to include doing errands on pee breaks.
Some nights, I dropped used and rinsed drink and dog food cans into the recycling bin that is a mere 3 minutes walk away. Or paper into the paper recycling bin which is just by our development. Drop the mail into the postbox. Go withdraw money at the ATM. Anything, as long as it is outdoors and accessible for a person with a dog. It’s really how creative we can get with the limitations that we experience living in a highly urbanised environment which may not be as dog friendly as some countries in the west.
The other night we drove out with the dog to the town hub. One of us goes to buy takeaway while the other walks and sits with the dog so that she also gets to be in a place with more strangers walking about their business. And Donna is getting good at sitting and staying for longer periods if the human is attached to the leash. She doesn’t react when people walk pass her. And she seem to be happy enough to sit and stare at groups of people, the man pushing the trolley in the distance, etc, etc. And mostly people just ignore her presence, except for kids who may go “woof, woof” at her.
Yesterday night we met a trio of kids that made me laugh.
Kid 1: Is it a girl? (referring to the dog)
Kid 2: Will she bite?
Kid 3: Of course she won’t bite, she’s a girl!
Heated discussion among themselves start.
But yes, I learnt something new that night, girl-dogs don’t bite! : D
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