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  1. #1
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Default One Incident, Two Conundrums

    Sebastian tried to break the fence down, in an attempt to get to the dog on the other side, last night. Naturally, this happened roughly 24 hours after I told a dear friend how well he was behaving, and how he hadn't tried breaking the fence down in at least six months. I shouldn't have jinxed it by saying anything.

    I wasn't lying to my friend. I have noticed in the last few months that Sebastian has become very cooperative and easy to live with. For the most part, he has become far less demanding when he wants something, and will usually come inside right when I open the door and ask him to. Sometimes, I have to count to three, rarely, I have to put shoes on and go out to herd him inside.

    As you all know, both Sebastian and Chester have long, well-documented histories with aggression toward dogs they don't know. As you also know, Chester is currently in treatment for severe Separation Anxiety. Chester is much improved, but the slightest variation from routine can set him back quite a bit. Right now, our aggression treatment plan is on hold until Chester can cope with being left at home while I work with Sebastian one-on-one. I plan on having the CAAB come back to work with us at that point.

    So, back to last night. The boys were out in the yard, which, as I have mentioned before, backs into a green belt. I was in the living room, where I could keep an eye on them through the windows. Having them go outside without me is part of Chester's treatment plan. I heard Sebastian start barking, and then saw that there was a dog walking in the greenway, right up next to the fence (it's a wood fence, but this particular dog wears a blue lighted collar at night, and I could see it blinking through the panels). In the seconds it took me to get outside, both Sebastian and the blinky blue collared dog were at the gate, fully engaged in a fence fight.

    This is conundrum one. Obviously, I don't want either of my dogs engaging in fence-fighting with other dogs, but I can't help but be irritated with the person allowing blinky blue dog to walk right up next to the fence. The greenway is at least 30 feet wide, allowing plenty of room for people to walk dogs without crowding another dog's territory. Sebastian and blinky blue have gotten into it before, so it's not like the person walking him didn't know that there is a big, cranky dog at our house. Our floodlights were on, and Sebastian started barking as they rounded the corner. Common sense would have told me not to let my dog walk right up next to this particular fence, but then again, I usually try not to let my dogs crowd other people's fences in general. Am I wrong in thinking this, or were blinky blue and his human really being rude?

    On my way outside, I grabbed a water bottle that I had strategically placed by the door - in case of this very type of situation, and used it to get Sebastian's attention. It worked, and as quickly as the situation had escalated, it was diffused. Sebastian ran to the closed sliding glass door, turned to me, and gave me a look that I can only describe as being one of hurt and betrayal. He almost seemed afraid of me as I pointed to the open door, and told him to go inside.

    Once he and Chester were inside, I gave them each a cookie, dried Sebastian off, and then gave them each a favorite, special-time treat. Sebastian seemed to have forgiven me, but I hadn't quite forgiven myself for using the water bottle on him. That look on his face is still haunting me today.

    What do you think? Is the water bottle too aversive for him to handle? I'm almost certain that in the same situation, food would not be powerful enough to lure him away from an arch enemy, such as blinky blue. Does anyone have any ideas of a less aversive method that might work?

    Or, could he just have been manipulating me into feeling bad? It's not like he was physically harmed during the breaking up of the fence fight.

    I'm hoping that some objective insight will help me make better sense of this, and respond better next time. I certainly don't want him fence fighting, but I don't want to lose his trust, either.
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Allowing one's dog to engage in aggression is simply wrong. Fence fighting dogs are displaying outright aggression. It is not normal behavior and should not be encouraged. There is NO REASON for one to allow it. Therefore, YES, the blue light dog's owner was extremely rude in allowing her dog to instigate a fence fight, period. You have every right to call out to her to take her dog away from your fence. Sebastian is a very large dog; if that fence doesn't hold, it is risk of injury all around.

    I see it at dog parks regularly. People allow dogs to fence fight between the big dog park and the little dog park. They think "oh, they can't hurt each other." That's just not a healthy thing to do. Imagine this, is it ok for a human to stand behind his or her own fence and repeatedly lunged and curse at other humans just to blow steam? I think most people would think that's unacceptable social behavior. It's not so different with one's dogs. There is no reason for one's dog to exercise aggressive behavior for no good reason whatsoever.

    Snapping Sebastian out of his fully engaged mode with the squirt bottle was what you needed to do in the moment. He was surprised because he's not used to getting squirted. I also think that he felt a bit apologetic because he knew he lost it and suffered the consequence for it. I would not feel too guilty about it. Sebastian is mature and will move forward.

    If this person allows her dog to be that close to your fence again, you have absolute right to something to her. All of us dog owners have to act responsibly. Her action, or lack thereof, was putting others at risk of property damage or physical injury. That is not acceptable behavior when she had plenty of space to avoid the situation.

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Christi's Avatar

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    I agree with Jewel. It was rude and irresponsible on the part the BB's owner, and you should not feel guilty for the squirt bottle. It's common knowledge that I have used one on Apollo, for only really out of control behaviour, and from your description Sebastian was, if not out of control, very close to being so.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Thank you so much, Jewel!

    Sebastian may very well have started the actual fight, but I do feel that he probably felt provoked by the other dog's proximity to the fence. He will bark at this particular dog if the dog walks by at a normal distance, but in those instances, he is still in control of his actions, and will come inside for a cookie.

    I wasn't exactly focused on what was going on on that side of the fence, but I really don't remember hearing her say anything at all to her dog. Granted, it was noisy, and I was focused on getting Sebastian inside, but I think it's telling that I don't know blinky blue's name. I'm pretty sure she knows Sebastian's name. All of our neighbors probably do, too.

    I don't think she was being malicious, I just think she was being careless. I absolutely plan on trying to talk to her about it the next time I see her. I plan on apologizing for Sebastian's role in the incident, explaining that it is behavior that we are working to avoid in the future, and asking her to try not to let her dog so close to our fence in the future. I think that's reasonable. I may even find out if the HOA will let me put a beware of dog sign up on the fence.

    Fortunately, there have been no signs of blinky blue dog tonight. I hope he and his Mom have many great walks away from our fence!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  5. #5
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christi View Post
    I agree with Jewel. It was rude and irresponsible on the part the BB's owner, and you should not feel guilty for the squirt bottle. It's common knowledge that I have used one on Apollo, for only really out of control behaviour, and from your description Sebastian was, if not out of control, very close to being so.
    Thank you, Christi! In that moment, Sebastian was definitely out of control. Normally, if he is focused on something to the point that he is ignoring me, all I have to do is show him the water bottle, and he remembers that being cooperative is his best option.

    Hopefully, it will be a while before I have to use it again!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  6. #6
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Antonia's Avatar

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    SM, I'm sorry to hear you had to go through this with the boys. I agree that Sebastian was likely not seriously injured by having water poured on him. Perhaps his sense of his own importance but I think that will come back with no trouble! I would be glad if I could use a water bottle to quench Tyro when he is one of his nasty moods and picking on Ru but I don't see that happening. I just have to stay sharp enough to keep a step ahead of the boy. I know you know to be aware of possible redirection in a case like this with the boys. As far as the sign goes, you may want one but the reason we got the LGD signs we have is specifically for their wording. Beware of dog signs indicate there you have a dangerous dog on the premises and can be a liability issue. Despite the fact that Tyro, Ru and Lily are guarding US and not the stock, we were advised by a lawyer friend to get them so our expectations were clear but we were not stating that our dogs were dangerous...
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  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

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    Oh Blinky Blue Dog's owner would not like me at all. I am the type of person who would let Missy outside knowing that they walk too close to my fence and have my hose on waiting for her. The minute her and Blinky Blue got too close and antagonized my dog I would turn that hose on and let it rain over the fence line. I have had to do that with my old neighbor's kids. They kept getting the dogs all riled up and all hell would break loose and so I said "Screw it." Then waited for them to do it again with the hose on. The minute they got wet they started screaming and swearing. Their parents came out back and I was ready for war. I had my dogs inside by that point and told them if their kids kept teasing my dogs I would keep hosing them down for it and they said that's fine by them their kids need to learn one way or another.

    Missy starts crap when she is in her kennel at work with one bulldog and I don't tolerate that. Even though I know it's the bulldog who starts it every single time. I expect her to rise up and do better.

    Now don't you do dare feel bad for punishing Sebastian. He knows when he is getting carried away and in the wrong. Don't let those big brown eyes fool you. I know it's hard to not feel bad, trust me Missy is the master of making me feel bad for punishing her. She is the biggest drama queen you will ever meet...it's sad.

  8. #8
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) nick's spirit's Avatar

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    SM....hope everyone's adrenaline levels are back down to normal today....an incident like that no one needs at anytime of day!

    I think your idea of calmly talking with blinky blue's guardian is a good way to approach & hopefully educate this person on the guidelines of being a responsible dog owner...and consideration for others as well....

    Agree...that Sebastian is confident enough to know he let the other dog get the best of him....I don't see any harm in a reminder from you, diffusing the situation as "too aversive"....you did what you did to protect him & the other dog as well...

    this incident comes under the heading of "don't worry, my dog is friendly"....and we all know how we feel about that statement!!

    Hope you have a nice relaxing, quiet & calm weekend!

  9. #9
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Thank you all so much! I feel much better knowing I'm not the only one who thinks that blinky blue was being rude. I don't want to make excuses for Sebastian when he's behaving badly, but I also want to be realistic about how much provocation a dog with protective and territorial instincts can handle.

    I also feel better after seeing blinky blue walk through the green belt last night, this time a good distance away from our fence. Last night, it was Chester who started barking first (he's usually very quiet outside). Sebastian followed with the barking, but both boys came inside without too much of a struggle.

    Sister Antonia, you raise a very good point about the wording of the sign. Since it's pretty obvious that I have no livestock, I may see if I can find a Guard Dog on Duty sign for the fence, if the HOA will allow it. I may get a second one to put in a front window, too.

    Tsunibear, I hope those bratty kids aren't your neighbors anymore. Did they contribute to the problems Missy was having being comfortable around kids?

    We had some problem kids in our last neighborhood. Luckily, they only harassed the dogs once. After I ran them out of the dog park, they would sneak in and steal the dog toys. Then they tried to steal one of the maintenance golf carts. I don't miss those kids at all.

    Nancy, I didn't realize how much those incidents with the "friendly dogs I shouldn't worry about" have taken a toll on me until today when I was at Home Depot. First, one couple walked past me with two very well-behaved shepherd mixes. Then, another couple came past with two also very well-behaved Aussies. Both pair of dogs gave me a pit in my stomach until I realized that Sebastian and Chester were safely at home. I guess I can use come counter-conditioning of my own! I should probably do that before I start working with the boys again!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
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  10. #10
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

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    Glad Blinky Blue's owner started keeping Blinky Blue away from your fence.

    Yes those kids helped cause some of Missy's kid issues. Thankfully they aren't next door anymore and I have fixed Missy's issues.

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