Posts Tagged ‘dog’

Dog Attack Again?

September 26, 2014
Maya on Dog Bed Looks Sad

“Why does everybody want to beat me up?”

I thought the two incidents with Maya being attacked by other dogs were isolated incidents. But it almost happened again and with a different dog! Actually, I should say dogs because there were two. Poor Maya. This time, though, I think I handled it much better for her sake.

The first time Maya was attacked, I froze. I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, the owner came and grabbed her dog and Maya wasn’t injured. The second time was too hectic because I was trying to deal with Pierson. It didn’t occur to me that the dog would turn around and attack Maya when Pierson was out of the picture.

But this third time, everything worked out great. I actually kept the two dogs from reaching her. Here’s what I did:

When I saw the two dogs coming, I stepped in front of Maya to protect her. When the two dogs got close, I stomped my foot and yelled “No!” They slowed down but were still approaching so I hunched down as if I were going to come at them and stamped my foot and yelled again. This time, they stopped. A couple more times and they backed off.

Where was their owner? She was outside with them and was yelling her head off for them to come back. They did not listen to her. I’m not surprised. I doubt Pierson would have either if the situation were reversed.

Last time, I excused the owners of the other dogs. This time, though, it was pure negligence on the owner’s part. She purposely let her dogs outside off a leash and without an enclosure. I felt like I should have said something to her, but as soon as those dogs backed off I got the heck out of there.

How would you have done?

Just Because My Dog is Shy Doesn’t Mean He Was Mistreated

September 5, 2014
Pierson Rescue Dog

Pierson was nervous on his first day at his new home. He wasn’t quite sure yet what to think of me and my husband or Maya.

I was talking to someone about my dog Pierson the other day (when do I not talk about my dogs?), about how he was rescued and about how shy he can sometimes be around strangers. Their first reaction to his shyness was to say he had probably been mistreated by his prior family. My immediate response was to say this is not necessarily true and here’s why.

SHY BUT NOT FEARFUL
Pierson is wary and shy, but he is not fearful. He darts out of the way of a fast hand movement or if someone bends over him. But this is a natural reaction for many dogs. He doesn’t snap or growl in reaction. He simply takes a few steps back.

Dad Pierson Shake

Pierson was a bit shy around my dad at first. But he warmed up to him after a few treats.

BREED BEHAVIOR
Pierson is most likely part Border Collie and part Australian Shepherd. Both these breeds are very high alert dogs. They were bred to guard flocks and so they tend to be naturally wary of strange things, including strange people. Pierson tends to warm up to a person better if I or my husband is there and if the other person lets Pierson check them out first on his own terms.

LACK OF SOCIALIZATION
I got Pierson when he was probably a year old so I have no idea how well he was socialized. He was very shy when we first got him. I have been doing my best to introduce him to new people and new things. And as such, he tends to warm up to new people much quicker than in the past. There are still occasions when he decides to be shy. Generally it is around small children since he doesn’t get the opportunity to be around children much.

Family Playing Hungry Hippos

Pierson looks on as my niece and nephew, my brother-in-law, and my husband play Hungry Hungry Hippos. He was wary of the little ones but not fearful. My sister has done a good job of teaching her kids how to approach dogs and to leave them alone if they don’t want to be bothered.

MISTREATED
A dog very well could be shy due to mistreatment. If Pierson had been mistreated, however, I would expect his reaction to be a lot more severe. I’d expect tail tucking, ears going back, eyes dilating, growling, or cowering. He occasionally growls, but it is usually when a person tries to be too overly friendly with him. He’s not a Labrador. You can’t just go up to him and try to put your arms around him! (Actually one shouldn’t do this to any dog regardless of breed, but you get my point.)

I honestly don’t know whether Pierson had been purposely abandoned in the park I found him in or if he had wandered off from his family and found his own way to the park. I have no idea if he was loved or if he was unwanted. Either way, I very much doubt he was abused. For Pierson, I think the most likely explanation for his shyness is his breed mix. Lack of socialization is probably a factor too, but I think it is possible for certain dogs to have a shyness tendency regardless of proper socialization.

Do you have a shy dog? Why do you think he or she is shy? What do you tell people when they suggest your dog might have been mistreated?

Poor Maya – Sometimes Stuff Happens with Our Dogs

August 1, 2014
My Sad Dog Maya in a Cone

Poor sweet Maya. She had to wear this cone for a few weeks. You’ll see why below.

Stuff. I’m putting it nicely here because I don’t like to curse. If you have dogs, you understand what I mean by stuff. It doesn’t matter how much preventative action you take, how much training you do, or how responsible of a pet owner you are. Stuff happens. And it happens when you least expect it.

Let me tell you about the bad stuff that happened to my poor Maya during her first couple of weeks in our new home in Iowa. Maya was attacked on two separate occasions by two different dogs and two different owners. Sounds terrible, right? It was traumatizing for us both, especially Maya.

The funny thing is, we don’t live in a neighborhood of irresponsible pet owners. Our neighbors don’t let their dogs run loose. There is almost no trouble here. It just so happens that Maya was in the wrong place at the wrong time… twice.

The first incident was when we were on a walk. And it was as a result of a pet owner who had a momentary lapse of judgment. She went from the back yard to the front in order to put something in the trash. It was only going to take a few seconds so she didn’t close the gate. A few seconds was all it took. Maya and I happened to walk by at that moment and her dog ran out the gate and attacked Maya.

It happened so quickly. I was too shocked to react. Thankfully, the owner reacted right away. Maya’s feelings were hurt, but she was otherwise unharmed.

The woman was very apologetic. I didn’t lose my temper or give her a lecture about how she should have known better. The truth is, it could have just as easily happened the other way around. I get complacent with how well my dogs behave and sometimes I don’t think. Seriously, what are the chances of another dog walking by in that less-than-30-second span?

In the second incident, a Jack Russell Terrier let himself outside when he saw my dogs. Jack Russells are extremely intelligent… and devious. Although the owner knew how smart her dog was, the act of him opening the door like that took her completely by surprise. The Jack went mostly after Pierson and it was an ugly fight. But Pierson has thick fur and he defended himself, so he was fine.

The other dog owner and I struggled to get everyone separated. It wasn’t easy. Jacks are fast and agile. Pierson would not back down but I managed to grab him and get him away. When I did, the Jack went after Maya. Maya didn’t fight back. Her skin is thick around her neck, but the little dog got her around the leg and tore off a quarter-sized patch of skin.

My Dog Maya and Pet First Aid Kit

I used the pet first aid kit from Kurgo for the first time when Maya was injured by another dog.

The owner was extremely apologetic and took full responsibility. She helped me tend Maya’s wounds and took care of her medical needs. The injury on Maya’s leg looked terrible. But no arteries were hit. There was very little bleeding. Her hair will probably never grow back in that spot.

Maya limped badly for the rest of the day. But by the following morning, she was back to her chipper self. She wore a cone for a while, took some antibiotics, and had some nice pain relieving ointment. Her wound is now healed nicely, although scarred.

I know my Pierson is dog aggressive. And as such, I am very careful with him. But stuff can still happen. I can see the possibility of Pierson getting out or getting away unexpectedly and going after another dog. It has actually happened once while on a walk. He jerked the leash right out of my hand. We were very fortunate in that I got a hold of him before he could do anything to the other dog.

If Pierson had done what these dogs did to my Maya, would that make me an irresponsible dog owner? Would it label Pierson as a vicious dog? If it had been Pierson who had done these things, how would I have wanted the other parties to react? Angrily? Accusingly? With hostility?

Let’s face it, sometimes dogs do doggy things. It could be easy to judge these other dog owners and their dogs. And I think sometimes we tend to do just that, especially when we are the victims. But it is important to look at the entire situation. We are not perfect. Our dogs, angels though they might be most of the time, are not perfect either.

This article is not to say that being responsible doesn’t matter because stuff is going to happen anyway. Always be responsible with your pets. Never be careless. Because that one moment when you’re not is when stuff will happen to you and your dog too.

Maya Under My Desk

Maya loves to lay under my desk when I’m working. If you look at her front left leg, you can see her injury.

Wordy Wordless Wednesday – Celebrating 41 Years with Dogs

July 30, 2014

Did I say ‘wordless’? Okay, so it’s not completely wordless. Today is my 41st birthday. I do not dread this day (nor did I dread the big four-o day). These are the happiest times in my life. There have been a lot of bumps in my early years, but one great thing has been constant for all 41 of them and that is dogs. Let me share them with you.

I showed you a photo of this dog last week. Wendy wasn’t just special to my mom, she was special to me because she was the first dog I was ever exposed to.

Spaniel Mix Wendy

My mom was worried about how Wendy would react to me as a newborn baby. Luckily, Wendy adored me and she was very protective of me. She would sleep under my crib and she’d watch me carefully whenever anyone held me.

I showed you this photo last week too. While I was growing up, my mom had a number of dogs, but Cassie was the first dog that was considered my dog.

Cassie - Shetland Sheepdog

When my mom took Cassie in, I was just 10 years old. Cassie immediately attached herself to me and would only sleep with me in my room, even when it was my sister’s turn to have her.

After I moved out of my parent’s house I, of course, took Cassie with me. Cassie was getting older and I thought a new puppy would liven things up a bit. Cassie wasn’t as thrilled about Smokey as I was, but they did play from time to time and Smokey did put a bit of a spring into her step.

Me and My Dog Smokey at Georgetown Lake

My dog Smokey was my hiking buddy. We spent three days roughing it as we hiked around Georgetown Lake in Texas.

My Border Collie / Shepherd Dog Smokey

Here’s a better photo of my dog Smokey, also taken at Georgetown Lake.

More of My Dog Smokey

Smokey and I did a lot of outdoor things together. Swimming was one of his favorites.

After a year or so of getting Smokey, I started working for the animal shelter in Austin, Texas. Since then I adopted and fostered a number of dogs (and cats). I don’t talk about them as much as the others because I had to leave them with my ex after we got divorced. The divorce ended badly so I do not know what became of them. I can only hope he cared for them or gave them to good homes.

Beagle Mix Huckleberry Hound

Huckleberry Hound was rescued from the back of a Uhaul truck with 50 other dogs. The dogs were all sick with Parvo. Huckleberry was the only one that pulled through. He lived at the shelter for three months before I decided to take him home. Huck lived with me for four years before he got out of the fence one day and was struck and killed by a car. :(

My Dogs and Cat Huckleberry Grady Scrapper

Huck with Scrapper and Grady. Scrapper is the cat and he loved to walk on a leash outside. Grady was my dad and stepmom’s dog. They gave up Grady because they couldn’t train him. They do not have the dog-sense that my mom has.

Cats CleoPatra Scrapper Dillan

Patra (short for Cleopatra) is the tortoiseshell cat and is the first cat I rescued from the animal shelter. She was a stray and was in rabies observation for a week for scratching a child. She was going to be euthenized but I didn’t let it happen. I don’t remember how I got Scrapper, the white with gray kitty. And Dillan, the all gray kitten, was rescued from the jaws of a Doberman named Dillan.

Golden Retriever Molly McButter

I fostered Molly for a few weeks, during which time she earned the nickname of Molly McButter.

Foster Pups Skittles Max Puddles

From left to top then bottom right: Skittles, Max, and Puddles. These were foster pups I had for a few weeks.

My Black and White Cat Spider

I honestly don’t remember how I got Spider (so named because he often climbed the curtains and walls). He is one of the ones I was forced to leave behind when I got divorced.

Dogs Becky Anne and Sheba

Becky Anne, the G. Shepherd-colored Whippet mix, was going to be put to sleep because she wasn’t cute enough. Yes, it’s true. The man in charge of the shelter I worked at decided he didn’t like me and immediately ordered the dog to be put to sleep when he found out I took interest in her. Sheba is the Rottweiler mixed that was abandoned in front of my house. I guess her owners decided that since I already had five dogs, I wouldn’t notice the sixth! I had Sheba for two years before she got out with Huckleberry and was never heard from again, even though she was wearing her tags. :(

My Chow / Shepherd Mix Achilles

Achilles came from a box of pups that someone was giving away in front of Walmart. I had him for almost three years before he escaped from the yard and was never seen again. He had tags, but I lived in the country so anything could have happened. :(

If you’ve been following this blog, then you remember this dog. Like my dog Achilles, Sephi was named from Greek mythology (short for Persephone). My ex gave Sephi to me because he felt guilty for cheating on me. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. Sephi was the only dog I was able to keep from the divorce. I couldn’t keep the others because I wasn’t working and so my ex got to keep our house.

My Chow Shepherd Mix Dog Sephi

Sephi was my sole companion for many hears after my divorce. She passed away at the age of 11 in November 2011.

My two current best buds are Maya and Pierson.

My Dogs Maya and Pierson Having a Ball in the Fall

Maya was adopted by a family with two toddlers and an infant. After one week, they posted her on Craigslist and I was the lucky responder. Pierson was rescued from Pierson Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

That’s all the words I have on this very special Wordy Wordless Wednesday. For more doggy fun, check out the blog hop link below.

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A Few Words About Drawing Rocky for Wordless Wednesday

July 16, 2014

Just before my mom was diagnosed with brain cancer, her dog Rocky passed away in his sleep. My mom really loved Rocky and wanted to have him memorialized with art. And not just art from anyone. She wanted me to draw him. :)

Portrait of Rocky the Dog

It really helps me to draw a dog if I have a great photo, and my mom had the perfect one of Rocky.

Third Sketch of Rocky the Dog

It took a few sketches to get the proportions of Rocky right.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 1

I traced the sketch onto acid free pastel paper. As always, the first color I added was to the eyes and nose using pastel pencils.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 2

The next part was coloring Rocky’s open mouth. This was actually far more difficult that I first thought it would be.

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 3

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 4

Drawing Rocky the Dog Step 5

I’m almost done!

Drawing of Rocky the Dog - Pastel

The final touches were adding Rocky’s whiskers (which is something I almost always forget) and adding texture to his long neck fur. This photo is actually a little dark compared to the original. Imagine the fur as white as in the previous image.

I was lucky enough to be able to complete this drawing while my mom was visiting me (which was just before I moved to Iowa). She was able to watch me draw and got to see me finish it. And I am proud to say that she absolutely loved it!

For more great pet photos, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop link below:

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Sillyboy Fluffypants

May 22, 2014

I admit it. I like to watch Spongebob Squarepants. It’s idiotically silly, to say it nicely, and it makes me laugh. Nautical nonsense, indeed. For whatever reason, I’ve attributed the silliness to my boy Pierson. One of his many nicknames is Sillyboy Fluffypants, named after Spongebob Squarepants. The Spongebob intro song gets stuck in my head sometimes and so I’ve put my own words to it about Pierson:

Who gives me snuggles and doesn’t have fleas?
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
On bushes and hydrants and corners he pees;
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
If cutie dog nonsense be something you wish,
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
Then go get some kibble and fill up his dish!
Sillyboy Fluffypants!
Silly Boy… Fluffy Pants!

My Dog Pierson and Spongebob Squarepants

SillyBoy FluffyPants!

Incidentally, when I need a mood lift, I play this video:

Admit it… you know you sing silly songs about your dog too. I know I’m not the only weird one out there. ;)

Solo is Reunited with My Mom!

April 21, 2014
Dog Solo Sitting

Sweet Solo is happily reunited with my mom and stepdad.

On the 10th, I told you about how my mom and stepdad moved to Oregon and how my stepdad had to leave their dog Solo behind in Missouri because they got the wrong kind of crate for flying. Luckily, a neighbor was able to take Solo back to the house. And for the past 10 days, Solo has been living all alone on en enclosed patio of an empty house with the neighbor coming by a few times a day to care for her.

People go on vacation without their dogs all the time and pay for pet sitters or boarding kennels. But like my mom and stepdad, I couldn’t help but think about how lonely and confused poor Solo must be. It was a less than ideal situation. But at least she was cared for. And at least she was in a place where she’s comfortable.

Well, I’m happy to say that Solo is finally reunited with my mom and stepdad in Oregon. One of their friend’s/neighbor’s bought an airline approved crate and another friend/neighbor took Solo to the vet to renew the health certificate. And that same neighbor took Solo to the airport, two hours away, and sent Solo on her way.

I wish I had still been in Oregon so I could have seen the reunion. I can only imagine how happy Solo was to see them. I have no doubt that she whined and cried with excitement. And I can imagine that both my mom and stepdad had tears in their eyes when they finally got to hug her. And I bet you there were a few other onlookers at the airport who saw the reunion and got teary-eyed as well. As far as I know, no one took photos or recorded the union. That would have been awesome to see.

My mom and stepdad called me last night to tell me the news. Yes, my eyes got a little teary. But I was so relieved. And even though my mom has been in good spirits despite the terminal cancer, I bet she is in an even better mood now that she has her dog back.

My Mom and Her Dog Solo

April 10, 2014

I’m here in Oregon with my mom. She is still doing well, but she says her muscles are getting weaker and her eyesight worse. Despite this, her spirits are still up. Something happened regarding her dog Solo, though, that has got her down and I don’t know what to do.

My mom spent most of her life in Oregon before moving to Missouri a few years ago. Now with this diagnosis, she wanted to go back home to Oregon. So we got her a plane ticket and she flew ahead and is staying with a dear friend while also getting to see my sisters and brother and her niece and nephews. My stepdad stayed behind in Missouri to wrap up things at their property.

The plan for my stepdad and their dog Solo was that after my stepdad received their social security check, which was supposed to include a year’s worth of back pay, he was going to buy a vehicle, rent a trailer, pack up all his and my mom’s stuff, and drive with their dog Solo to Oregon. I was going to go along to help with the long drive.

The check never came, so my stepdad and I bought plane tickets to Oregon instead. I arrived Tuesday. He was supposed to arrive yesterday with Solo. He did arrive, but unfortunately the airline wouldn’t take Solo. They said her travel crate wasn’t airline approved. Luckily, the friend that had brought my stepdad to the airport was able to take Solo back home.

At this very moment, Solo is still in Missouri staying all by herself at my mom and stepdad’s old place. Their friend lives very nearby and is coming by a few times a day to feed and care for her. But otherwise, Solo is all alone.

My mom and stepdad are currently trying to figure out what to do. The coordination of all this is tricky at such a long distance. Can they count on this friend to do the legwork on finding the right crate and on making another four hour round trip to the airport to drop Solo off? I hope so. Not only that, this friend has to make sure he doesn’t forget Solo’s traveling paperwork and that this trip happens within a specified period before the paperwork expires. Otherwise, he will also have to take Solo to the vet again to get re-certified. And my mom and stepdad have to find a way to send this friend enough money to cover the crate, gas expense, and plane ticket expense.

I honestly can’t see this friend doing all this. I may be wrong, but I am still worried. I can only imagine how worried my mom and stepdad are too. This is what I am thinking of doing. After I get back home to Kansas on Sunday evening, I can work on getting an airline approved crate. I can also try to find the time to make the five hour trip to my mom’s old place in Missouri. I’d have to stay overnight, then make the two hour drive to the airport with Solo myself. From there, it is another three hour drive back to Kansas.

Finding the time to do this is tricky. I’m still packing our things for our move to Iowa. And I also have to coordinate painters, flooring people, landscapers, etc. in order to fix up our house so it can be put on the market. I WILL do whatever I need to get Solo reunited with my mom and stepdad. But if anyone has any better ideas, I’d love to hear them.

I think I’ve told you that Solo is a special needs dog and that she came from a terrible dog hoarding situation. As a result of her rescue by my mom and stepdad, Solo is highly protective of them and very close to them. She needs them as much as they need her. My mom especially needs her.

Update on Solo
My mom and stepdad found two friends in Missouri who can help out. One friend is going to find an airline approved crate. And the other friend will take Solo to the airport. Yay! :)

How to Deal With Your Dog’s Destructive Behavior

March 13, 2014

Puppy biting shoe

As you may have suspected from my previous post, I am taking a bit of a break from blogging in order to spend time with my mom. So what I have here is a great and informative article written by Helen Cole:

It’s normal for dogs to chew, says the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. When chewing becomes destructive, however, you must control the behavior to keep your pet safe and your belongings intact. Learn more about why your dog chews to prevent this inappropriate use of teeth:

Reasons for Destructive Chewing and How to Prevent It

Dogs chew for a variety of reasons. Puppies do so while they are teething to relieve pain and help adult teeth break through, according to the Humane Society of the U.S. By providing your puppy with an appropriate chew toy, you help her feel better while also teaching what what is appropriate to chew. Anytime her teeth get too close to a furniture leg or other off-limits item, interrupt with a loud noise, such as a clap, then offer an appropriate toy and provide praise when she takes it.

Kong offers a line of chew toys for puppies. They feature soft rubber and are freezable to provide numbing relief. You can find these products at pet supply stores.

A poorly trained puppy can grow into a destructive chewer. That being said, certain circumstances can cause even a well-trained adult dog to chew. They include:

  • Medical issue — A poor diet or intestinal parasite can lead to pica, an abnormal desire to eat substances not normally eaten, which can be mistaken for inappropriate chewing, veterinarian Dr. Kristy Conn points out. She also states that gastrointestinal problems can cause nausea, which can trigger chewing as a way to cope. She recommends seeing your vet to rule out such issues.
  • Separation anxiety — If, in addition to destructive chewing, your dog whines, barks, paces and forgets his housetraining when you are away, the cause may be separation anxiety, according to the ASPCA. The organization offers a lengthy description of this behavioral problem as well as ways to deal with it.
  • Boredom — If you rule out a medical issue and separation anxiety, simple boredom could be the cause. Try upping the physical and mental stimulation you give your animal. Add another walk to your daily routine or hit the dog park for off-leash play with other dogs. Food and treat puzzle toys engage a dog’s mind. Nina Ottosson toys, for example, require your dog to use his mind — plus nose and paw — to get a treat.

No matter the reason for destructive chewing, you must control both your dog’s behavior and access to items you don’t want chewed. Move what you can out of reach and spray taste deterrent on what you can’t, such as furniture. Crate your dog when you cannot provide supervision.

If you catch inappropriate chewing in the act, the Humane Society recommends the same actions as given for puppies. Never punish after the fact, as your dog cannot associate the correction with something done even a few minutes ago.

A Separate Issue: Fabric Sucking and Licking

If your dog doesn’t chew but instead sucks and licks on your fabric furniture, the above advice works as well. Instead of using a taste deterrent spray, which could stain the fabric, invest in removable covers for your furniture. Wayfair.com, for example, sells machine-washable futon covers that are easily replaced.

Back to me, Dawn. I have been lucky these past several years in that I’ve had very little problems with Maya and Pierson chewing on things they are not supposed to. The last time I had issues with a chewing dog was with Sephi in 2002 when the little devil dog chewed up all my bibles! What are some crazy experiences you’ve had with your dog chewing?

Help Working with Different Leash Reactive Behaviors

March 3, 2014

Does your dog react when he’s on a leash and sees another dog? The first thing to do is admit you have a problem.

Dog Pierson Sitting

Hi. My name is Pierson and if you’re a dog, I’m probably not going to like you. (Well, unless you’re Maya. I love Maya.) It’s nothing personal. If you’re a big dog, I go into protect-mode. If you’re a little dog, my prey-drive kicks in.

Dog Maya on the Chair

Hi. My name is Maya and I love other dogs. Well, except Pierson. Okay, I like him most of the time, except when he’s being a pest. Then I just tolerate him. But anyway, when I see another dog, I just get so happy that I start barking and lunging.

Pierson not liking dogs and Maya loving them both cause a leash reactive behavior. But because the causes are different, they require a different approach. To be honest, I have had more success dealing with Pierson’s aggressive behavior than with Maya’s excitement behavior. Just how do you deal with a crazy Labrador with GLS, anyway? (BTW, GLS stands for Goofy Lab Syndrome.)

If I see another dog while walking either Maya or Pierson, the first thing I do is cross the street. Because it has been more difficult for me to get their attention with the look command while still walking, I also make them sit. I give the look command and reward. I do this a few times until the other dog is passed.

This method works very well with Pierson unless the other dog reacts. He has made a lot of progress. However, this method is not working as well for Maya. When Maya gets excited about something, it is very difficult to distract her. She is so intent on what she sees (the other dog), that I couldn’t tempt her with a big juicy steak.

With Maya, I need to add another element to her training. If I see that she is going to start reacting, I need to turn her around and go the other way. So far, this is working, but it is not always possible for us to turn around. And I’m curious to know how doing this will eventually help her learn not to react. Any ideas on what training methods I can use for Maya? Keep in mind that when Maya gets excited, nothing, and I mean nothing can distract her. Not treats, not collars, not commands, nothing.


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