Sunday, January 17, 2010

the Mongo Mambo

The Mongo Mambo is comrpised of-two steps forward, one step back. I don't really know what went wrong today, but frustration and regression were the key words. I was lucky enough to be allowed to run him first in the off leash dog park which I assumed would aid our leash work but that kind of flopped. I got no response from him while he was on the other side of the park, when I called his name, and whistled. I let my dog Pascual in with us and when the dogs ignored each other I put Pascual back in the car and Mongo came over to the fence and watched us, which was about the most care and concern I received from him all day. After Pascual was gone I let him run and then called him, and got no response, so I ended up going over to him and putting the leash on, at least he didn't run away from me, that was a plus. We attempted leash work, which I'm only striving for just walking together without pulling, being that he's nowhere near working on heel postion yet. During our walk I stopped to sit on a bench and observe his behavior, which I do with most of the dogs to get a sense of what they will do and how keyed in to me they are. Most dogs will come to me at some point and rub up against me or try and get my attention, or clown with me jumping on me and playing. Even if they also look off at what's around them, they somehow connect with me, but not Mongo. He's completely outwardly focused, so I'm not bonding with him quite yet which would even be O.K if we made some progress together walking peacefully. I've had some dogs who ignore me but are happy to be out and about and get with the program in terms of not fighting me on the leash. Mongo is 3 years old but occasionally lays down and refuses to move,( which is something younger dogs often do) if I try and guide him with the leash. I'm using the large link chain in the Barbara Woodhouse(English Dog Trainer) method, as a correction, not to choke him. I tried a Haltie on him but he's big and about slipped it and then tried to rub it off on the pavement and I've had another large dog break one in about 5 seconds by rubbing it on the pavement so I wasn't keen on the dog who is not bonded to me or trained to voice commands, slipping the Haltie and escaping. I am planning to try a Haltie with a second leash on just in case, maybe that will work. So here we go, two steps forwards, overall, and one step back. This sometimes happens, dogs like people have off days. My encouragement waned along with his behavior but there will be new days ahead, and hopefully we'll continue in a relatively forward motion, or I'm going to have to get super creative. Most dogs fall in line fairly quickly, he's rather an exception in the ten years I've been doing this, although some dogs react differently with different people, so maybe a large male rather than me, a smallish female, would have better luck with this rather strong, alpha, overgrown puppy. The only insight I can come away with today is that he seems more tied into the dog world than the human/dog world, in that he pays attention to my dog, who even though he is older and smaller, will snarl and put this youngun in his place. Maybe that's the key, bring Pascual with me. A friend also brought up the topic of food as a bonding mechanism as the shelter staff have grown closer to Mongo by feeding him although they don't have the time to work with him outside. So that's my food for thought, my observations to try and come up with a game plan. Any insight or advice by readers is also welcomed and appreciated.

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