Update on Docket
So Docket went down to the farm with me earlier this week, and I have good news and . . .neutral news. But I thought I'd relay for thoughts.
The good news: Docket had a great time. He got to gallop around off leash on long walks in the country, and he was very, very good, always returning as soon as I called him, stopping and looking for me when I got too far away. Basically, wonderful. '
We also took him to an informal agilty session run by my aunt. It was the first time he was in the ring off leash, because it was the first time that we were out there without another dog. He did wonderfully . . . better then I did, because I was not used to directing him without a leash and kept looking around to see where he was, which just messed everything up. But he did well.
He by and large played very nicely with the other dogs at the farm, and spent a lot of time with his BFF, Ticker the border collie. He sensibly avoided Jam (another BC) who made it clear that he did NOT want Docket's company. He was respectful of another corgi that did not wish to play and mostly played nicely with a third DC, Dust.
The neutral news:
Docket seems to have two separate (but I think connected) issues involving DA agression. Both come into play on leash, as I mentioned earlier. The first is the lunging and snapping and snarling on leash that he shows at agility here. Well, he did it there too. I'm used to it, and can cut it off at the pass, but he started his display. But we noticed something . . . despite the presence of a standard poodle (which always sets him off) he by and large only started up when another dog was active and playing. Or doing the course. If the other dogs were quiet, so was he. And here's the kicker . . .when Ticker was doing the course, he started up, lunging and snapping. I KNOW Docket is not afraid of or aggressive to Ticker. He LOVES Ticker. He cries when Ticker is taken away. So my aunt and I concluded that what is happening is that he is highly stimulated by being at agility, and he's leashed. He wants to play and run around, and being leashed he can't. He gets frustrated, and angry, and then his brain shuts off altogether and I have a demented corgi trying to kill himself, everyone else, and occasionally me at the end of the leash. He aggression comes from frustration. This makes sense, because the way I turn him off his to take him away from the area, block his view, and get him focused on me . . . and he calms down. Now, why the very sight of a poodle makes him go nuts, I don't know . . . perhaps he thinks they are sheep?
However, that is not the explaination for all his behavior. Although he can escalate from frustration rapidly, he can be quietly sitting or walking on the leash and then lunge and snap at another dog. There's no display, just wham. He'll seem hyperalert before hand, but Docket is usually that way! Well, we got to see that in an unusual scenerio. Docket and I went to visit an old farm hand who has been very ill. The man is deaf. We went to his house and visited with him and his step daughter. He frightened Docket a bit, but he was good. While we were there, my aunt showed up with Dust, a female BC who gets along fine with Docket. Meanwhile, the old farmhand, who loves dogs, was trying to get Docket to come to him. He speaks very strangely, and Docket got frightened and growled a little bit and came to me. Ok, well that's ok. So we put him outside. But then I got worried about him being outside alone, even on the farm, and put a LEASH on him and brought him back, making him sit next to me.
He snapped at Dust as she walked by. Little warning, just lunge, snap. My aunt (I'm not sure if this was a good idea, but I didn't have a chance to stop her) decided he was being a brat, picked him up by the scruff and shook him (not hard enough to hurt him). A little later, he did it again, when Dust wandered by (I was keeping him at my side and under control, but I was momnentarily distracted). My aunt told me to keep him close and call Dust over and pet her . . . this upset him, but I was able to keep him calm. Ok, that seemed good. PEt her, then praise him like crazy. Not a bad plan. So, then we got ready to leave . . . I let him off leash, because we were going outside. Right at the door way, another snap at Dust. My aunt said "I thought he only did that on leash" and I said, "well, he's just been on leash with her for an hour and we are in a doorway." Sure enough, once we got outside, he was fine (though he had some humorous encounters with cats. Docket is rather afraid of cats). He was fine with Dust the whole rest of the trip.
My aunt thinks he's being dominant towards the other dog when he does that, trying to be the boss. I'm not so sure. I think he may be being preemptive . . . trying to protect both me and himself because he feels helpless on the leash and the other dog is too close. Again, this is a dog he knows and plays well with, not a strange dog.
LAst thing . ..we were there for three days, and Docket never stopped. If brought inside, he would off-switch and go to sleep, but outside, in the fenced enclosure or off leash he ran, and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. He played with lots of dogs, both familiar and newly met, and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran. I swear, he could power a small city. So much for the more "laid back" cardigan corgis . . . Docket is honestly once of the most active dogs that I have ever met that is not a Border Collie. I expected an active dog, a busy dog (I do know corgis) but Docket is over the top. I am now thinking about getting him a treadmill . . . there is no way I can keep up with him. Sarama gets tried of playing after a while. I think he needs to burn off some of that crazy energy. THoughts?
I'm a lawyer, but I'm not YOUR lawyer. Nothing I say should be taken as legal advice.
The Court's extensive review of these pages serves as a useful reminder that loaded guns, sharp objects and law degrees should be kept out of the reach of children.
-- United States Magistrate Judge Paul Cleary
Laughing Shadows Bead & Design: http://www.laughingshadows.com