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Thread: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

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    Newbie Denton's Avatar
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    Default Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    I've had Mattie for 3 weeks now after adopting her from a shelter. I live alone, so at the moment, it's just Mattie and me. She's 3 1/2 years old and I believe she's been bounced around between potential homes and shelters for most of her life to this point. She's alone about 9 hours a day while I'm at work. She's been good inside since I've had her, so she gets the run of the house while I'm gone. I've been checking in at lunch most days and make a thorough walkthrough each afternoon -- so far nothing is being chewed on or eaten that shouldn't be and there are no other... um.. surprises.

    When walking her, she's mostly good. She'll walk alongside me and follow my lead -- until she sees another dog. At that point, she will growl, bark, and try to run towards it. (If it's a cat instead, she'll go extra nuts.) On my part, I'll respond by snapping the leash in accordance to how hard she snapped, giving her a loud No, and keep going straight. I try and make a point not to break stride to give her the impression that seeing a dog nothing out of the ordinary. To a much lesser extent, she'll act similarly with people. With people there is no barking or growling -- she just wants to run up and jump on every random stranger on the street and start playing.

    In the three weeks I've had her, there's been very little real contact with other dogs. We'll pass by other walkers on the other side of the street, but that's as close as it gets. I bring her to the dog park at the apartment a few times a week, but there have never been other dogs there when we visit. (Go figure, right?)

    In a few weeks, I'll be taking a 5-day trip and will be boarding Mattie at the local PetSmart in Johns Creek. [Amazingly, they have good facilities, lots of play time, on-staff trainers, on-staff vets, and lots of other extras I wouldn't expect from a big box pet store.] I'm a bit worried, because I'm not sure how she'll act in an environment with lots of other dogs running around during the group play times. I know they'll be watching closely and have had to run into problems before, but that doesn't necessarily make me less concerned.

    After the trip, I planned on doing some more formal training, probably at PetSmart again just because I think working with a group of other dogs will be better for her. (In this particular case, the social aspect is the key draw.)

    If this sounds good (or not), please let me know - I'm open to suggestions!

    -Denton

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    Thank you for rescuing her and giving her a chance at a great life! I think you are on the right track, when walking and you correct, have some treats with you so when she does redirect you can reward her and she will begin to relate your correction with a reward (what makes Mommy happy).... eventually work off the treat and go to positive affection.... it will take some time, but you will get there.
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  3. #3
    Newbie Denton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    I brought her to the dog park after work today and another family with a dog finally came along. I kept Mattie on a short leash just in case. When the other dog came close it's like something switched in both of them. They both started at once, and we had to separate the two to keep them from getting hurt. Snarling, snapping, all that stuff. After trying to keep Mattie calm for a while (while they did the same with their dog), we finally left so they could enjoy the park a bit.

    So yeah, we have some things to work out, but we'll get there.

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    Default Re: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    Your PetSmart sounds like an excellent place to board Mattie. Give them a heads-up about her reaction to other dogs when you take her in.

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    Default Re: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    You are doing well on the walks with correcting her and it just takes time. Since you do not know her past, she may not get along with other dogs and that's something you need to find out before you go out of town. We do not board our bullies, just because you never know how they are going to be treated and we have heard of other bully owners losing their bullies because the employees put them outside and did not watch them and they died from heat stroke. We use a pet sitter that comes to our home 3 times a day to let them out and feed them. We have also used a house sitter before too, who took care of the bullies.
    Have a Great Bully Day.
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    I do the same as @Davidh (in fact David, I have a friend who owns a pet sitting business down by you!) but I am lucky to have close friends and family who either stay with Chunk here or he goes to their house. (Which is rare because we are boring and rarely leave.). My concern with boarding is if they haven't had her interact with other dogs before you board her, she's likely to either get hurt or not get any play time with other dogs. I would try taking her there for a short period of time first. Maybe they can help you see how she will do.


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    Default Re: Concerned about how Mattie treats other dogs / boarding

    @Denton Thank you for adopting Mattie and giving her a chance at a great life. I have used petsmart daycare and boarding before near where I live. I would strongly suggest putting Mattie in daycare for a few days. The staff should be able to give you a progress report on how she did playing with other dogs in daycare it is also a controlled environment. Daycare will also give Mattie a chance to get familiar with the staff, the environment (fun place to go) and also that you will be back to take her home. Also if there is any issues the staff can go over the problem before you are on your trip.

    She sounds like a wonderful girl and she is adorable. Take her to training and try to socialize her with friends dogs in neutral locations. Dogs are very good at picking up emotions from their owners so if you are insecure or nervous she will react to those feelings and will respond. Good luck

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