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Old 07-14-2013, 03:11 AM   #1
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I love to take my dogs for walks. There is a park right across the street, and I usually walk them around that at least once before walking into the neighborhoods that surround it (I like to make sure I pick up after them, and the park has garbage cans. Usually they'll do their business early on, which I like so I'm not carrying it around the rest of my walk).

The park is kind of the gathering place for a lot of people...there's a pool, basketball courts, children's play area with jungle gym and slides, baseball diamonds, practice fields, and tennis courts. Aside from the occasional hello to passing people, I'm okay ignoring everyone else, putting my headphones in and enjoying my walk.

Lately there have been a few groups of young adults/teenagers who are being more vocal than I am comfortable with. I don't care about whatever they say about me, I'm not there to impress them. But they are trying to antagonize my dogs, and THAT is unacceptable.

My Sheltie already has a fight/flight instinct when cars go driving by, and some of them purposely drive by a lot faster than they should (speed limit is 15, they gun their engines and slam on their brakes, I'd imagine they aren't going more than 35, but in the space of a city block, that's pretty fast)...whether it's to purposely set my dog off, or it's to impress the itty bitty bikini squad at the pool, I don't care. My dog spins and barks and gets aggressive. My biggest worry is that she will slip her leash and go running into the street.

The other concern about that is that when I'm walking both my Sheltie and my chihuahua together, when my sheltie gets that fight/flight reaction, she turns that aggression towards my chihuahua and they squabble for a couple minutes before cooling down. It sounds and looks worse than it is...it looks like they are legitimately fighting, even though they don't actually bite or scratch each other. I've started walking my dogs separately so that I can keep control.

I don't really have anywhere else I can take them for a walk safely that is close by, and I'm hoping that as summer comes to an end these kids go back to school. I've tried taking walks at different times of the day, and it never really seems to matter, there's usually a group hanging around the basketball courts at some point, even in the early AM.

I can't really talk to my fiance about this because he is the type of person to be confrontational, and we live in an area where that type of attitude can get you hurt. Aside from finding a new place to walk my dogs, I know I really don't have another option. The dogs need to be walked (that's more of a sanity thing than an exercise thing...my sheltie will bark and EVERYTHING when she doesn't get regular exercise), and I like to get in that walk every day so that I stay active.

Thanks for listening!! Just needed to get that out there, feels better to not have it weighing on my chest!
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:54 AM   #2
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I wonder if some dog training might help?
Help them to be more focused on you?

Sounds like some rude people.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:39 AM   #3
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I agree, even though it is not the dogs' fault, training might help to neutralize the problem. I would start by getting a martingale collar for the sheltie if you don't already have one. The reason is, martingales tighten when pulled so the dog can't slip out, but not as bad as a choke chain. Shelties have itty bitty heads and big poofy necks so it is hard to fit a regular collar so that they can't get out.

For training, work on "focus" while at home and gradually practice it in areas with more distractions before using it around a trigger such as cars. Hold a treat up near your face and say "focus" as soon as she looks at you, praise and reward. Gradually increase the time she has to look up at your face before she gets the reward and eventually work on doing it without prompting with a treat or hand up near your face. When she is ready to try the command when a car is going by, be ready to give her a jackpot (huge handful of treats and praise) the first few times she does it correctly so it will be really ingrained in her memory that this is what you wanted from her.

This will not only divert the dog's attention from the cars, but will teach her to turn to you for guidance and see that you are calm and not bothered by the cars going by.
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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I don't have any constructive advice, but as a dog owner/lover, I send you hugs.
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:21 PM   #5
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Maybe skip the park and just do the neighborhood and enjoy your walks again ... unless they're all around the neighborhood. Or the gentle leader type harnesses instead of anything constricting when being pulled. But then you're still dealing with obnoxious teens. Sometimes I find I alter a routine when something signals to me that I might be better off doing something else; and then in retrospect realize that it was a gift to change the routine to something else. ... Ahhhh... THAT'S why that happened is what I think at times... Best of luck.
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Old 07-14-2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone!! I did just get a slip collar for her (I got the nylon version, in a pink so bright it practically glows lol!), but it's been raining so I haven't had a time to really practice with her outside with it. One thing I'm really concerned about with it, is that if she sees something like a rabbit (which are everywhere), she likes to dart towards it. When that happens, I just get this visual that she won't care and she'll hurt herself.

I had never heard of the martingale collar till now, MAK247, thanks for the tip! I'd definitely prefer one of those to the slip collar, it seems like it would be a lot safer. I had thought about a body harness, but she is sooo poofy and big (we got the big puppy of the litter, she's 43 lbs and considered healthy for her size), trying to find one that fits has been a nightmare.

It's summertime, so these kids are everywhere. The neighborhoods around the park are minimally better, but I don't think it will really clear up until school gets back in session. I was so tempted the other day to walk up to them and ask them how they would feel if they hit my dog while trying to be a bada** speeding in their cars...but most likely that wouldn't phase them.

Thanks again!!!!
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:42 PM   #7
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Default re:

I had a sheltie for 11 years so I know how they are. I used a nylon slip collar on him as well due to all his "poofyness". He'd just slip out of all the other kinds.

Can your fiance walk with you from time to time? I know he's confrontational, but maybe just a couple of times of those kids seeing him with you would make them stop. I'd home EVENTUALLY they would stop on their own after the newness of making your dogs fight wears off. Some dog training classes may also help with distractions.

Just a thought about the barking....ours barked all the time. All shelties do. We had tried EVERYTHING to get him to stop, but we were finally being reported by neighbors and decided to get him "debarking" surgery - where they snip the dogs vocal cords and they can no longer make a loud bark. 100% worth the cost. Some people may not like it, but everyone turns out happier in the end, including the dog.

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Old 07-14-2013, 02:14 PM   #8
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I just wanted to say I have a chihuahua too as you can tell from my picture lol

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Old 07-14-2013, 02:54 PM   #9
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Please do not debark your dog. Dogs bark as a form of communication, and it is an unnecessary, painful surgery done out of convenience. You are right that he barks because he needs to expend energy. Silencing him will not change his need to expend that energy. Are you able to go out at different times, maybe? Like later in the day, or earlier in the morning, or around meal times where the jerks, um, I mean kids, will be inside?
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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I agree with Jez, debarking is unnecessary, but it sounds like barking isn't an issue so I'm not going to go any further on that one.

This is a public park right? You could always call the police department and make a complaint (be sure to mention the speeding). Nothing may come of it, but who knows, maybe they'll start to patrol the area more or park a car there for a while. Oftentimes just the side of a squad car is enough for teens to keep themselves in check, and you don't have to be confrontational at all.
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Old 07-14-2013, 11:23 PM   #11
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I don't have an opinion either way on debarking, however I agree that in this case, that wouldn't solve the problem, so even if its something you are comfortable with, it doesn't seem needed in this situation.

As much as those teens sound like annoying punks, it seems that the issue comes back to your dog's behavoir not being what it should be when cars go by. Even if those kids are jerks for trying to upset your dog, what they are doing would not bother a dog that was well behaved. Maybe use this as an opportunity to get some dog training and help your dog no longer be stressed from that situation. Again as much as those kids are being real jerks, you can't expect other people (even crappy ones) to change their behavoir (even unnecessarily rude behavoir) to accomodate your dog's issues. A dog should not react that way to cars driving by and ultimately the solution is to better train the dog....and hope those kids find a new hangout anyway because they still sound like a pain in the rear.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlamourGirl827 View Post
I don't have an opinion either way on debarking, however I agree that in this case, that wouldn't solve the problem, so even if its something you are comfortable with, it doesn't seem needed in this situation.

As much as those teens sound like annoying punks, it seems that the issue comes back to your dog's behavoir not being what it should be when cars go by. Even if those kids are jerks for trying to upset your dog, what they are doing would not bother a dog that was well behaved. Maybe use this as an opportunity to get some dog training and help your dog no longer be stressed from that situation. Again as much as those kids are being real jerks, you can't expect other people (even crappy ones) to change their behavoir (even unnecessarily rude behavoir) to accomodate your dog's issues. A dog should not react that way to cars driving by and ultimately the solution is to better train the dog....and hope those kids find a new hangout anyway because they still sound like a pain in the rear.
I agree that training would be a good idea. I also agree that you're only in control of your own behavior.

However the reckless driving/excessive speeding in a pedestrian area sounds dangerous to me, and it would be good if that stopped.
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Old 07-15-2013, 01:02 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone!! The park is a public space, and I'm surprised by the speeding because police generally patrol the area regularly. I just happen to always be walking when no one is around =(

My sheltie could use some training...going to take my fiance with me tomorrow to help with the slip collar, and to make sure she doesn't get too stressed. I'm just very nervous that she is going to keep pulling, or see something she has to chase, and she is going to get hurt. I'll talk to him about a martingale collar, which seems to be a bit safer, and see if he can get one of those at the pet store this week if I continue to be nervous with the slip collar. no doubt my sheltie can tell I'm nervous, and that probably won't help the situation.

I'm just frustrated by the rude behavior more than anything. If they were making fun of me, or laughing at me, sure it would hurt, but I don't really care to impress them. It's just the fact that they are antagonizing my dogs...they stand further away and make barking noises to try and rile them up (that doesn't work, my dogs could care less about their fake barking), they drive faster than they should, and I'm noticing that they are leaving half-eaten food on the ground right outside of the garbage cans (I watched them point to my dogs, then place a half eaten piece of pizza on the ground right next to a giant blue garbage can...like, really?! seriously?!).

Fingers crossed the new collar helps, and the rude behavior lessens!
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Missy Krissy View Post
I agree that training would be a good idea. I also agree that you're only in control of your own behavior.

However the reckless driving/excessive speeding in a pedestrian area sounds dangerous to me, and it would be good if that stopped.
I do agree with this. I over looked that they are still speeding in an area where they should not be. Perhaps an anonymous call to the police, as someone else suggested, could help this.
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