Lily Rehab: Part I

This picture might look like the black dog (my Lily) is mauling a visiting golden retriever (Radar) while Trip the JRT is watching on the sidelines. This is one of those deceptive pictures — Lily has known Radar since he was a wee pup growing up in my chaotic household three winters ago and in this visit they were just having a rousing good time of typical and normal and active and good doggie play.

HOWEVER, I am fully admitting that Lily, who is my safety net in many ways, can be dog aggressive and although I have managed it since she matured (as a pup she was heavily socialized and very appropriate — See Intimate Dinner Party Dog post) I have decided I really want to change her at the tender age of 8+.

So I am going to report periodically on success and explain the process.

Phase I:
I have instituted nearly daily walks (I strive to go 5/7 days per week) with all 3 dogs from anywhere from 2 miles up to about 6 (which makes us all weary).

For the bulk of the trek, with or without my neighbor and her dog and toddler in stroller, Lily and Bean are joined together, wearing their Har-Vest’s, and are ahead of me. Sometimes I have them pull just slightly to help pull me along in the slush, snow and ice which is a frequent surface this time of year in Cleveland, OH!

Certain dogs trigger reactivity (nothing else anymore, even squirrels although she is well aware of them) including raised hair, growling and IF given the opportunity (I NEVER LET THAT HAPPEN BECAUSE I AM PROACTIVE AND AWARE), she would lunge and potentially bite.

Leashes escalate problems. No doubt of that. So I am working Lily, both on walks and just around the house, to come when I say “touch” or simply put my hand out, and get lots of loving, one of her favorite treats. On the last portion of the walk I have her walk beside me, joined to Bean, dragging the leash and staying at my side and checking in often.

My goal is to have all 3 dogs heeling reliably OFF LEASH (or dragging) no matter the distraction by the end of summer.

I’ll report in now and then with updates.

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