Friday, June 7, 2013

Ed & Tess's Favorite Things: DINOS Vest

Since this post, we've gotten a lot of questions about Edison's vest.  We ordered it here after finding the Etsy shop through DINOS.  Not that long ago, we found Notes from a Dog Walker blog which has TONS of great info and learned that there was a name for Ed: a Dog in Need of Space!



After this incident, we decided we needed to be more proactive about having people giving Ed space.  So we decided to get the vest we had talked about long ago.  And we found exactly what we were looking for!  We didn't want something that said "DO NOT TOUCH," but something that made people think before approaching.



As we've said before, we like having a lot of positive human interactions with Ed, but they need to be totally on our terms.  As for dog interaction, those are on the back burner.  We want Ed to have tons of passive socialization experiences, but would need just the right dog with just the right owner and plenty of non-contact meetings before even considering a contact greeting.



On a side note, I started to think about this approach and wondering if there was a chance that we're doing more harm.  By not letting Edison ever greet dogs (and having him always on leash when we see other dogs), I worry that we are fueling his frustration.



Obviously without knowing where Edison's reactivity really would take him, erring on the side of caution is a WAY better approach.  I just worry that we are making it so he can NEVER meet dogs.  Did that make sense?  Any thoughts?



Does your pooch ever get to meet other dogs?  What is your criteria and approach?

14 comments:

  1. my Zeus played well with my other dog we recently had to find a new home for. Now he misses a playmate but he is so reactive when he sees another dog. I would really love for him to be social but not sure how. He takes to young dogs very well, its the older ones that scare me. I worry that the fear is more on my part and he his simply reacting to my energy

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    1. Been there!! We have weekly walks on Sundays with a group we started specifically for reactive dogs like your Zeus called Pack of Erie Dogs. You can find us on Facebook through the link at the top of the page.

      What we love about this group is that everyone knows which dogs need more space, so they give it. It allows the human on the other end of the leash to relax a bit, helping the pooch to relax, too. We'd love to have you. You can email us at packoferiedogs@gmail.com for more info!!

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  2. As you probably know, the biggest reason we volunteer and bring dogs home is to benefit our dogs! It's true! I LOVE helping shelter dogs and giving them a break but almost overnight my dogs have become better about being introduced to other dogs. It hasn't stopped Hades from being reactive, but it has given him lots of opportunities to meet new dogs with all kinds of personalities. I like this because me and Jay are in charge--we don't have to worry about making another owner nervous or going at another person's pace. It's OUR dogs and dogs we know from the rescue, no one else. Honestly because I think I am a huge part of the problem (though I hate to admit that,) I don't allow on-leash greetings but Jay seems to do it all the time if he takes Hades out on his own and he always does fine! I don't think you are making it worse, I think you are going at a good pace. I'm sure over time you will get to the point where you are more comfortable with him greeting dogs.

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    1. That's really great! I don't know that any of the shelters around here have that option. We have considered fostering (many, many times) for this reason, but have yet to pull the trigger. We're doing a lot of passive socialization with the hope that we'll get to greetings one day!!

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  3. Lainey is reactive, but only to certain dogs (or certain people) and we have yet to figure out what they all have in common. We really have to pay attention to the signs she is giving us, before any type of interaction with others. Although, she does great at doggy daycare with ALL the dogs....explain that one!

    I think you are doing things the best way you know how. I appreciate the fact that you put as much thought and effort into what is best for Edison. There are a lot of dog owners who aren't willing to do the work. Kudos to you and hugs to the pups!

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    1. Isn't it funny how it seems like there is no connection!! We know that Ed doesn't like herdings breeds (collies, shelties, cattle dog...it's the eyes!) or confident dogs (chow chows).

      Thanks for the support!

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  4. When we first brought Ed home, he was crazy, but we let him off leash with other dogs before knowing this and he was fine. He was too much for the others, but not aggressive at all. And even when Tess's feelings have been hurt and they've gotten into a tiff in the yard, he's never had a clue what was going on.

    So, my big worry is that because he's socially inept, we separate him from other dogs, and that this is turning into reactivity. I don't see another option right now, but it is something I wonder about. I'd hate to think I'm not doing what is best to make him happy, healthy, and a member of our community!

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    1. Hi Hannah! I'm Mimi, the person who made your DINOS jacket! I noticed I was getting some hits from your page and thought I'd check it out. Thank you for the plug! Would it be okay if I share your post and/or pics on my Give A Dog A Home Facebook page? Your photos are wonderful!

      As far as Edison meeting other dogs, erring on the side of caution is smart. I volunteer at my local shelter and have fostered many dogs, so I know exactly what you are talking about. At the shelter, if we want to let two dogs meet each other, we keep them both on leash in an enclosed area. We have squirt bottles and/or a hose within reach, in case things get out of control. Of course, we would only introduce dogs we are fairly certain would be okay with each other. Usually, dogs of the opposite sex are more likely to do better. We see if the dogs show the right signs--allowing each other to sniff their rumps, etc. If they seem like they'll get along, we drop leashes and allow them a short period of freedom with each other. We keep the interactions SHORT. It's better to end on a successful note.

      My own dog is super easygoing. She would never fight with another dog, but she's no doormat and does stick up for herself. Because I completely trust her ability to read other dogs and to respond appropriately, she's a great indicator of the other dog's reactivity. If you can find a dog like that and the dog's owner is willing to allow some "guinea pig" experimentation, you could allow Ed some short baby-step interactions. Sometimes, a professional trainer may have a dog like this and could guide you through an introduction and explain the cues to look for.

      Best wishes on socializing Ed. Keep up the fantastic work!

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    2. Hi Mimi! I have been meaning to leave you a note on Etsy. I did post a photo with my feedback today. Please feel free to share whatever works for you!! We love our vest and it is working really well!!

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  5. Oops, I just read through some of your previous posts. The PEDs walk sounds like the ticket! You are definitely doing all the right things. So awesome. More dog owners need to be like you!

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  6. Kaya was way too dominant with other dogs when she was younger and she was developing a short fuse too. I scaled her interactions way back and got her really into fetch instead. Now she mostly thinks I am a lot more interesting than other dogs at the park and she is a lot more patient. They're happy to meet any dog on or off leash but I prefer them not to interact with other dogs when they're on leash because I feel like that is a time they should be totally in tuned with me. I also don't let them meet dogs on leash when they're off leash because I never know the dog's situation.

    I think you're doing a good thing with Ed's vest and maybe some other dogs to slowly socialize him with on your walks. There is a lot to be said for human energy. My mom's dog has pretty serious reactivity and aggression with other dogs and when I had a couple months on my own to work with her, she let go of all of it. Once my mom returned, she went back to her old ways pretty quickly. Of course she is the one with most of the memories of past experiences.

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    1. That's really Ed's biggest problem -- he's so dominant! and dogs don't take very kindly to it most of the time. We definitely agree with the on-leash greetings...even with Tess we try to avoid it!

      Yes, knowing how well he did with Tess and our TINY foster Toby, I know he's not aggressive, just reactive, dominate, and energetic.

      I definitely try to be aware of my energy and stay as relaxed as possible -- which isn't easy when we come to a situation which I know he'll react to! But we're working on it!

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  7. You are doing AWESOME!!! You are not keeping Ed from socializing -- you are setting him up for success when he does finally do that part. Melvin does not/cannot meet dogs on leash. It just doesn't work. So we don't. And that's fine, his walk is about walking and bonding with Jake and training and pooping. If I want him to meet dogs, we do it off leash (well leash still on but dragging) and very controlled, and honestly, we don't do that all that often. But again, it's to seek success. He's just happier around humans. PS. I LOVE that vest, I sort of want the human version of it!

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement!! That's what we always say - Ed'd never going to be a dog-park dog, and that is OKAY. But we definitely want him to be a social dog and be able to do social things with him like we do Tess (someday??). We feel the same about on-leash, especially with our walks -- we work hard to get him to not pull and sniff all around, so allowing greetings would just set that work back!

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