Success - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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  • 7 Post By boomana
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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Success

I am posting this in hopes someone who has similar issues can see behavioral training does work.

As some of you know, when I first got Lola, she was very afraid of many people, almost all women, was squirrelly around children, and absolutely couldn't tolerate anyone reaching down to touch her, always backing up and growling, and sometimes spraying her anal glands. She never had a problem with other animals, only people. I spent some time in denial because she was just a puppy, and spent most of the time doing slow socialization with lots of treats. Things got better, but you could just tell she was nervous when out and about, and started to be very leash aggressive if someone was walking directly toward her/us in a straight line. My older dog, Watson, is a sweet, gentle, protective, anxiety-ridden boy, whose fear of some dogs escalated when I got Lola, and she started picking up on his energy and following whatever he did. He was and is leash aggressive with dogs and larger men. Things weren't good, even after multiple training classes and individual sessions. My dogs LOVE training, but their emotions were getting in the way, and I'd become that woman in the neighborhood with people thinking why doesn't she get control of her dogs. Ugh. I'd worked with a behaviorist vet and her techs off and on with Watson for a couple years (we're definitely back on right now), and started with Lola separately a few months ago, with half hour sessions every two weeks.

Jump ahead a few months, and many many many hours of working with her...

Today, I can take Lola anywhere. She's confident, happy, and really sweet with everyone. If she knows she's going to get petted (I use a "go pet" cue after first teaching "go touch"), she enjoys it. No one would guess that she was once so fearful and reactive. I just spent six hours with her out on the town, where she charmed dozens of people, letting every one pet her, even the children, just wagging her tail and sitting pretty when done. At the end of the street event, we went to a restaurant on a busy street, where she stayed on her mat, out on the sidewalk, with people and dogs walking by every second a few inches from her. She was calm and just happy to be out with me on a beautiful day. My girl is 17 months, and though we still have some ways to go, I'm so proud of her and happy that I now believe she'll have the life she deserves.

I can only bring my two dogs out together to selective locations because they still feed off each other in a bad way with their fears, and I don't want set backs. Watson is improving, too, but not enough to keep him off meds, which we'll be starting next week after trying to avoid it for too long of a time. His bad incidents are fewer, but the ones he has are getting worse and really scary. I'm hopeful for my sweet boy, but I didn't start working with him until he was much older of a dog than when I started working with Lola, so we've got a lot of undoing to do.

Anyway, thank you all for being here. Even if I haven't directly posted much on this topic, I feel your support, and have use all the resources I've learned about here, starting with Dave's links, and the collective wisdom and experience of all your posts. Gonna take a little nap now. We've had a big day.


Last edited by boomana; 09-24-2016 at 05:13 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 02:55 PM
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Such wonderful progress Lola has made. She is fortunate to be with you as I am sure that many folks would have thrown up their hands when faced with her behavior challenges. Best wishes for continued progress with Lola and Watson.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 03:42 PM
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Congrats to you both! Love hearing the progress our furkids make and best of all that they are "happy"!!
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Mom to Phoenix too
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 04:51 PM
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What a nice story of your success with Lola. It's inspiring as I'm beginning to see signs in my Lola of fear of strangers that could result in nipping. Like your girl she does not want to be petted and always backs away. She acts like she loves people but zooms backwards if they reach towards her.

I can relate to your comment of being in denial because she's just a puppy. Strangers were in our house today and Lola did some of her usual excited RLH. Puppy stuff. However I'm wondering if I saw an "almost" lower leg nip from behind. She may have just been thinking of sniffing but regardless of what it was it's time to address it.

While my pup is nowhere close to being as extreme as your Lola thank you for sharing your experience. I tend to focus on competition training, environmental exposure and socializing around other dogs. Your post is a reminder that what I really want is a well rounded dog.



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2016, 10:47 PM
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Watson and Lola are lucky doggie's to have a Mom like you!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 09:55 AM
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many kudos to you. I love hearing stories like yours. It is a long hard battle to rehab these sort of problems and it takes time and patience for sure. It never ends for some of them so keep up the work , one step at a time.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-25-2016, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, guys.

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