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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 15th, 2010, 3:32 pm

I found a place that offers free dock diving practice/training. It's about 45 minutes away but the trainer in charge said she'd help me teach Inara to swim first! lol She's really excited about having us come and said that he loves pit bulls and they often do really well at dock diving. PROBLEM - training is in a huge dog park. She said that they fence off the practice area, but I'd still have to walk through the park to get there. I told her that Inara is reactive to other dogs and we're in the process of working on it but that I was still concerned about walking through a dog park. This was her response:

My thoughts...honestly my thoughts are that she needs to be socialized. This dog park is 100% dogs off leash. We do fence off the area during practice while the dogs are waiting their turn. But...you have to walk half way around the lake to get to the dock.

My suggestion would NOT to take the chance and use a muzzle walking through the park..it is HUGE and will let her get used to other dogs being around her and with a muzzle there would be zero chance she would hurt another dog. You would be doing her favor exposing her to other dogs in an off elash setting. Most dogs are less agresive off leash. Some great dogs are leash agressive. Those are my thoughts. Give her a chance in a safe setting..with a muzzle until you see what she will do.


I've emailed Ginger, my goddess of a trainer, to see what her thoughts are. But do you guys think a quick dash through a dog park while muzzled (and on-leash, obviously) is going to set back our training? I REALLY want to go teach Inara to swim and dock dive, but I need to make sure that her safety and mental health come first. Thoughts?
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Postby HappyChick » July 15th, 2010, 4:46 pm

No thoughts really regarding Inara's training, just a question. Even with the dock area being fenced off, will she be able to concentrate on swimming with all those dogs running around outside of the fence? :|
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Postby katiek0417 » July 15th, 2010, 6:51 pm

HappyChick wrote:No thoughts really regarding Inara's training, just a question. Even with the dock area being fenced off, will she be able to concentrate on swimming with all those dogs running around outside of the fence? :|


Angie, I was thinking that...because Inara isn't 100% yet (to where she can ignore other dogs), is she going to be able to concentrate on the swimming stuff? Especially because she has to learn it...I always like to teach my dogs things with no distractions so they can concentrate on the task at hand...

I would 100% do what your trainer says...IMO, however, I would be concerned taking her through the park. Yes, with a muzzle you are taking safeguard...but you just don't want anything to happen that would make it a bad experience...like I said, that's just my opinion...
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 15th, 2010, 8:13 pm

Honestly, I think that once we get to the practice area I'll be able to get her into "training mode." She recovers extremely quickly from stressful situations.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Ginger but I will do what she recommends. We've worked too hard to ruin it!
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Postby Tubular Toby » July 15th, 2010, 8:18 pm

I am very interested in knowing what your trainer says. Interesting situation. =)
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Postby madremissy » July 15th, 2010, 8:49 pm

I am also interested in what your trainer has to say about this.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 15th, 2010, 9:00 pm

I'd want to know how busy the park is during this time of day (it might be an "off-time" for the park)...and how many dogs you'd be seeing if it *is* a busy time.

From what I've seen, she's gained a LOT of self control, but if the other dogs are idiots, it could end badly. ;)
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Postby katiek0417 » July 15th, 2010, 9:32 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:I'd want to know how busy the park is during this time of day (it might be an "off-time" for the park)...and how many dogs you'd be seeing if it *is* a busy time.

From what I've seen, she's gained a LOT of self control, but if the other dogs are idiots, it could end badly. ;)


No, and that was my point...I don't want you to think I was implying that Liz couldn't control Inara...I was more thinking that other people may not have good control over their dogs...That would be my biggest concern...that's all I meant... :sad2:
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Postby furever_pit » July 15th, 2010, 9:51 pm

Has Inara already been introduced to a muzzle? It can be a stressful piece of equipment for some dogs so I would keep that in mind. I'm just wondering if it might make the whole situation more uncomfortable for her?

It sounds like a good opportunity though. I am interested to hear what your trainer suggests.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 15th, 2010, 10:05 pm

Katrina, I didn't take your post as meaning I couldn't handle Inara!

When I was going through the fiasco of trying to find one that fits, whenever one came in the mail I'd put it on her for a few seconds, lots of treats, take it off, over and over, before I sent it back. It never seemed to faze her. We're actually going tomorrow to a veterinary behaviorist's clinic to try on muzzles and try to find one that fits. I figure it's a good thing to have, regardless of whether she needs it Sunday or not.

And I know that slapping it on her and running her through the park wouldn't be ideal, but I don't think it would upset her that much. I'm going to get a basket one so it probably won't be too much more annoying than a head halter was to her, especially for such a short time. Because once we got to the fenced in area it would come off immediately.

Still waiting to hear back from Ginger - she usually responds to emails late at night or early in the morning.
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Postby katiek0417 » July 16th, 2010, 4:48 am

pitbullmamaliz wrote:Katrina, I didn't take your post as meaning I couldn't handle Inara!



I just wanted to make sure...when I read Erin's post, then re-read mine, I realized that even though Erin probably wasn't referring to my post, mine could've been taken that way... :wink:
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 16th, 2010, 10:47 am

katiek0417 wrote:
pitbullmamaliz wrote:Katrina, I didn't take your post as meaning I couldn't handle Inara!



I just wanted to make sure...when I read Erin's post, then re-read mine, I realized that even though Erin probably wasn't referring to my post, mine could've been taken that way... :wink:


lol...nope, I wasn't referring to your post at all! ;) I honestly only skimmed through the responses...sorry for any confusion! :D
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 16th, 2010, 7:49 pm

I still haven't heard back from Ginger so I'm expecting we'll just chat before class tomorrow. One of my friends just said she was going to come without her dogs, so she'll be able to help me get through the dog park. I'm feeling much more confident now! But if Ginger says no, then I'll go without her just to check it out and see how busy the park is.

Also, Inara is now the proud owner of a lovely new iron basket muzzle! We went this evening to a local veterinary behaviorist and tried on several different sizes and styles of muzzles and decided to get this one:
Image .
She earned her dinner this evening by looking at the muzzle and sticking her nose into it. She didn't seem at all fazed by it - she'll do anything for food!
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Postby tiva » July 16th, 2010, 10:02 pm

I think it won't be a big deal for her, since she's used to being picked up by her harness and hauled past other dogs in training class. She may just see this as a weird variation on training class. I might use the same harness, to make it seem more like something she understands. And use as many of the familiar training rituals you use in class--again, so all this makes sense to her.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 16th, 2010, 10:52 pm

Nancy, I was thinking I would use her harness because, like you said, she's used to being hauled around by it.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 17th, 2010, 3:30 pm

Ginger gave me the go ahead, so Inara's learning how to swim tomorrow! I doubt we'll jump off the dock at all, but that's okay. She needs to be able to do so safely, and that requires knowing how to swim, not just "not drown" as Michelle puts it. lol
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Postby flibgit » July 17th, 2010, 3:42 pm

That's so awesome! We're working with Amber (who is reactive). Since the beginning of summer, she's gone from being afraid of the water and only walking in up to her knees if we coax her like crazy, to dragging us to the edge of the lake so she can run in. If only we could find a toy that she's nuts about, I think she'd jump off the dock. She's jumped off the side a couple times but never off the end into the water that's deep enough that she has to start swimming right away.

Andre, our DDB, loves to swim and today started jumping off our dock all by himself. We're going to continue playing with it and the next time there's a dock dogs function near us, we're going to take him to see how he does in clear water. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » July 18th, 2010, 8:43 am

Woke up all crampy and "first day of period" icky (sorry boys). Gonna have to miss practice this morning. I'm bummed. :(
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Postby flibgit » July 19th, 2010, 8:49 am

:( I really wanted to know how it went. I'm curious how the trainer teaches her how to swim. I think Amber needs some swimming lessons.
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Postby maberi » July 19th, 2010, 9:05 am

flibgit wrote: I'm curious how the trainer teaches her how to swim.


Me too :wink: Honestly I like using life jackets on dogs that are hesitant to get in the water. The life jacket gives them a huge boost of confidence once they do get in because they can just float around and don't panic as much. If a dog has a bad experience in water (sinks, has trouble swimming, etc..) it can often be very difficult to get them over that fear after so making those first few experiences really positive seems to work best.

My few experiences with dock diving have been really positive. The dogs love it and it is fun for the handlers as well. The only thing I would caution you about is the off leash dogs that are dock diving. Many times dogs that are jumping will run out of the water and "mingle" with the dogs waiting. Most of the dogs that show up are extremely social (labs, goldens, etc..) so the owners are often less cautious about letting their dogs run up to other random dogs.

Hope you guys have a good time!! Grab some pictures if you can
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