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Old 06-28-2012, 10:57 PM
StillandSilent StillandSilent is online now
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Question Gambit Lives to Frustrate Me

I think he gets off on it.

Ever since I brought Gambit home, he has been terrified of children. I don't think he ever saw a child during the first 6-8 months of his life, and doesn't know how to react to their loud/busy/screamy ways. Since I have no children and do not care to deal with them either, and he has so many other problems, this is one I've just let slide. If I'm walking him and we see children, he shies away, but does not growl or act aggresssive.

Despite lots of hard work, Gambit's progress with strangers has plateaued. He still accepts new people if he meets them a few times, but he has not made much progress as far as accepting them quicker or going places in public. I've accepted this.

My sister has three children under the age of six, and the rule has always been that Gambit must be put up when we all visit at the same time. This is done for everyone's sanity, especially since he hates both my sister and her husband (possibly because his Mommy does).

At the moment, the oldest child (5) has been coming home with my mother for extra school help. This child is quiet and calm, so the rule is amended to Gamibt may be out when the child is working at the table or watching TV. The child knows not to touch or look at Gambit, who has plenty of space to retreat back to his safe spots. The usual situation is both Gambit and I in one room (open floor plan), nephew and my mother in an ajoining room. This situation has played out 3-4 times over about a month and a half.

Today I was called in to see the childs reading progress. Gambit followed me ( a huge step in and of itself) and sat next to my chair, which was across the table. The he laid down under the table, facing the child, who I do not believe knew he was there. When I stood up to leave, Gambit stood as well and walked right by the childs chair! A dog who has not come within 15 feet of a child in his entire life just got up and volutarily passed within six inches! Words can not describe what an amazing moment this is for him.

Is this common? For him to seem to level out and then just take this enormous leap forward? Does it point towards more progress being possible, or can it be just a one time thing?

Gambit is 2 years old, and seemed to hit his social maturity about 4-5 month ago. Every time I think I have the blasted coy figured out, he pulls a fast one on me.
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:01 AM
Kaydee
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Maybe a nice quiet buddy is what Gambit needs...your nephew might be the child who can help Gambit be a bit more socially rounded. I have kids, but Sophie keeps close by me near playgrounds and schools. She prefers quiet ones too.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:00 AM
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jenv101 jenv101 is offline
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Yeah it sounds like he was finally comfortable enough with the child due to the space he was given and the quiet, calm attitude. Along with the child ignoring him - perfect! That is awesome news!! I think every kid he meets would probably have to act that way though, and that is probably not going to happen with every one. This is the exact same scenario that Riley needs to accept new people too and kids especially.
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:37 AM
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Aleron Aleron is offline
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Yay Gambit!

I don't have any experience with Coydogs but I do have a lot of experience with quirky herding breeds that can have quirky adolescent ummm...moments. IME with such dogs, a lot of time the things that you don't work on because they are too overwhleming or not important enough to focus on are the things the dogs end up getting over themselves with natural exposure and time. And the things that seem super important that you must overcome can take the longest and may or may not be successful. I think the reason is that often the choice to work on a problem (not liking people, being afraid of kids, etc) ends up putting more pressure on the dog. While you are attempting to make a positive association in the dog's mind, it becomes a positive but negative thing for the dog. Sometimes the positive ends up outweighing the negative and sometimes it doesn't. Having strangers give a fearful dog treats for example often does not make them less fearful of strangers. They may decide they want the treat badly enough to face their fear and take it from a stranger but the pressure that puts on them can make them even more worried about strangers over time. I can't tell you how many dogs I have seen who have a "carefully take treat then bark at the stranger" pattern cemented into their mind.

OTOH not working on the problem, just exposing the dog through natural life but not attempting to create any sort of scenario involving the people or thing the dog is worried about can actually help to get many dogs over their issues. Because they are able to see them as just part of the scenery and not anything weird or worrisome.
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