Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ideas for the Meantime

Bugs is clearly a reactive dog.

Before I had her, I stupidly assumed that reactivity in dogs was due to abuse or neglect. Boy was I wrong! Bugs has never been abused or neglected, and yet she has major issues with other dogs.

We're going to keep working on it. I'll never give up on her. She adores her pack members, but other dogs are just not good. She has potential to get along well with them, but mainly I just need her to not try to eat them.

We can't spend our walks and socialization periods in fear of seeing another dog. It just isn't healthy for anyone. And when I have Bugs and Bruno together, it's nearly impossible to do anyway. There's no way I can haul a combined 150+ pounds of determined dog back away from anything.

So, my plan for the meantime is this:

Get both Bruno and Bugs acclimated to wearing a backpack. Not just when we go away, but around the house too. This will be a huge help to me - they can carry water, dog food, my wallet, etc. It will be great in the summer, when we can do all-day hikes.

Start using these backpacks on our walks around town.

I don't want to avoid people and dogs but until I start working with a trainer that I trust, I need a backup to keep people and their dogs at a safe distance. (Both dogs adore people, but have a long way to go as far as "sit to greet" instead of "jump in people's faces to greet.")

I found this link with instructions to make a dog backpack.  This link also has some great ideas. The dogs will be on their prongs, so I don't need the backpack to double as a harness.

This link has all kinds of patches for the dogs - obviously mine are not service dogs, so I'm looking at the "In Training" and "Do Not Pet" patches.

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