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Hi guys,
Just looking for some sympathy... After thinking that Merc was finally growing up and becoming a well-behaved V we had one of the worst walks ever last night. He seemed to be totally oblivious to my presence, either had his nose on a trail or was fixating on something in the distance, got spooked by people at the bus-stop and most unbelievably, growled at other dogs walking down the other side of the road! :( Normally he LOVES other dogs. And then to top it off, my other half was home early today and walked Merc instead and reports back that he was great, walked quietly on the lead, paid little attention to other dogs and people and came back when called at the park. What on earth am I doing that gets Merc up on his toes like that?? ??? I’m hoping it was just a case of both of us having a bad day yesterday.

I'd love to hear that other people's dogs are misbehaving too right about now ;)
 

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Don't worry Mercutio. They all have their moments! :eek:

Gunnr has been doing so well lately that I was lulled into a false sense of confidence. She had her Gunnr moment on Saturday. She took off and just wouldn't come back that morning while working quail, I was afraid I was going to have to put her back on the 50' checkcord.. Next day she was good as gold. Tika had her lapse last Friday. Princess Tugglebutt was off for the horizon at her own little Tika pace. She's like a 4WD, not fast, but not much slows her down once she gets rolling.
 

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I'm afraid Rosie somewhat regularly embarrasses us with her fear barking and growling. Yesterday was particularly mortifying. A man walked out to the curb rather hurriedly and Rosie didn't see him until he was fast approaching and startled her. She went into a major fit of defensive/spooked barking, then another man at the same house came out, spooking her even more, to even more intense fits of barking, and he said, "rather aggressive for a vizsla, isn't she? They're usually so mild mannered." I tried to say, "she IS mild mannered, except when she's spooked and goes ballistic..." but I think I just came across defensive. I think we need to hire a trainer to work with us on desensitization.
 

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Kian does this the odd time. What we find that works for him is if we approach the person or object that has spooked him. We use the "see, it's nice" and walk over to it and just reassure Kian that it's all okay. It works about 90% of the time.
 

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I remember you saying that--we'll have to try it. The only thing is, if it's a person, especially if they don't like dogs or look annoyed with us, sometimes we feel like we have to just get her away because they don't understand that her barking is driven by fear and sometimes seem to think we're bad people with a vicious dog.
 

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Thanks guys :) Gunnr, I have a great mental image of Tika just steadily charging off in her own world with that "i can't hear you" expression on her face.

Tonight will be my first night back on dog-walking duty so we'll see how it goes. Apparently last night someone told my husband we need to teach Merc to "run slower" so that he doesn't bowl over the other dogs at the park.... I'm hoping my husband misunderstood the other dog owner.

Kian, great idea, I think thats the best way to go. Unfortunately I often have a mental meltdown and cam't help thinking "but what if this is the time that he actually lashes out" so then I tense up and make everything worse for the dog. The other night it took us 15 minutes to get past the bus-stop but we eventually did it. Every time Merc got tense I turned around and walked away and then when he relaxed we approached the bus-stop again. Eventually we walked past OK, he didn't bark and nothing happenned. It just makes me feel really bad when he growls at people because I know they are thinking "what an awful dog" and I just want to explain to them that he is lovely really.

Sarah I know how you feel. Some people don't realise that dogs can be scared and their way of saying "you're scaring me back off" is to bark. We now have new dogs laws that say you can be fined and the dog declared dangerous if they "harass" a person or moving object. They don't have to actually attack just scare someone basically.
 

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Actually, I'm not aware of any such law here, but that was a worry that occurred to us (some kind of legal consequences if someone got upset enough). So I agree with what you said about tensing up. I try not to, but I'm aware that I sometimes do, especially if kids are around and I want to be sure I restrain her from getting too close to them (if they look alarmed).
 

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Mercutio said:
Thanks guys :) . We now have new dogs laws that say you can be fined and the dog declared dangerous if they "harass" a person or moving object. They don't have to actually attack just scare someone basically.
Wow! That's a pretty wide open law.
When I was racing bicycles I knew where every "chaser dog" lived. I used then for sprint training partners on training rides.;D
As the years went by, they got older and would just bark at me from their yards. Eventually they passed on, and I found that I really missed them.
While riding my bibcycle I got chased by a goat once, ran into an Angus bull that got loose, and almost got trampled by a 1/2 dozen yearling milk cows (Holsteins). Not much to do with dogs though, i was just remembering it while typing. ( (I'd like to see Animal Control take on a 3500 lb. Angus Bull. :eek:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I'm used to thinking of cyclists as training opportunities for Merc but next time I get a dirty look when Merc barks at a cyclist I'll try telling them to think of it as a sprint training opportunity........ :D
 
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