A Little Not So Little Rant: First Part of Yesterday With Oji

Oh Little Oji

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Nothing too important here, so I guess this thread could be deleted if deemed unnecessary, but perhaps it holds value for some.

Yesterday, late morning, my wife, two daughters and I were going to walk to the nearby park space to do some snow sledding. I always need to get Oji out for the first exercise of the day, so I suggested I bring him. My wife usually reacts quite negatively to that idea, because frankly he is a giant pain in most situations, and he definitely takes about all my attention. To my surprise, she quickly and willingly said okay.

We get all ready, and start the short walk to the park. Now, this park has been a very popular destination lately with the generous amount of snow we've had. It's got a great big hill. I figured it wouldn't be too busy yet on a Sunday morning. It wasn't overly busy, but still a handful of families were there.

Oji has shown that he gets quite wound up when my daughters sled down the hill. I have him on a heel-stay until they get to the bottom and stop moving; then I release him to run down there. This, when there is almost nobody else there. It was too busy for this yesterday so he was on leash and pulling and jerking me about. I found out he also gets very prey drivey and whiny and hyper about anyone else sledding down the hill.

I take him over to an unpopulated area of the park and let him run around off leash, e-collar on. This goes fine. I put him back on leash and move toward the main hill area where all the people are. After a few minutes, I decide I'm tired of my dog keeping me away from my family, who is at the bottom of the hill, so I walk us slowly down the big hill.

Get down there, and I realize I have to position us sort of behind some loose brush so we won't have people heading right toward us as they reach the bottom of the hill. Maybe this looked unusual, I don't know.

Oji is yanking me around a bit and being unruly and whiny of course. If I put him on a heel, he'll whine or yelp out of stress. If I put him on a stay, he'll whine, which I cannot allow and must correct. Basically, we're in an unpleasant situation for all involved.

Then, this man speaks up from a few yards away and says "Is he okay?" Knowing that this is often loaded language, I reply "What do you mean?" This instantly embarrasses my wife, who proceeds to try to make nice like she always does. The man indicates he was wondering if my dog is okay to be pet (by his kids). Oji has shown no inclination to bite or get nippy with kids, but in this instance I had to say no, explaining he is just too high energy and would be all over you (as I make a pawing gesture). The guy just doesn't seem to have a pleasant affect, but he accepts the answer. So, my wife is now mad at me for sure, where before it was a lower level irritation.

Subsequently, I decide I want some relief in the form of leashing Oji to a nearby small tree in among the brush. This always takes some stress off of me, as I am no longer being physically pulled and jerked around. He has his e-collar on, so I am able to give him the command to not bark. Phew.

Now, however, another man speaks up and says "Is he tied out?" We all know that tying a dog is a trigger for many people, so right away I feel very cautious about this interaction. My wife jumps in and handles this one, so I don't say anything; but I am later informed that I didn't have a nice look on my face. So, now I have a wife that is even madder at me.

Yes, the man might have genuinely thought that Oji was an abandoned dog and we were just standing near him; but equally as likely, he could have been being an animal rights do-gooder and protesting that I tied my dog out.

Soon, my wife suggests that I just take Oji home. Acquiescing, I put my hands up and leave, knowing I have a date with an argument.

So, folks, what would you write as the moral of this story? What can I learn? What can you learn?
 

Skb

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Only thing I can add is some understanding. If I dont take Skynyrd out to run off leash first then he is a pain to try to "just go for a walk" with. Its like he has to burn off all that energy first. Do you think Oji would have been different if he had had some exercise first? Also, I just hate going where any other people are. I know this is not realistic but I always get a little mad when I see other people. My boyfriend always tells me " it's not your place only!" Lol.
 

Lizbeli

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That sounds so annoyingly stressful. Honestly there are times where I wished I picked an “easier” breed that didn’t require so much training. One thats just naturally chill haha.

The whining and barking in public is something that drives me nuts. I remember when Jasper was a puppy I would take long walks at the park. Anytime we stopped moving, like if I sat on a bench, he would whine and whine. Even still he does to some extent. But after many walks and several “stop and do nothing pauses” he has gotten much better.

Sounds like all the activity around you guys got him wound up. Unfortunately I would think it would take repetition of distraction training to really change him. Wonder if you could go on a day the family isn’t there and just walk around the perimeter where the kids are sledding.
 

LifeofRubie

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Knowing my dogs, I would take Moose to a sled hill in a heartbeat but would 100% leave Rubie at home.

It just doesn't sound like a situation in which she'd be set-up for success. Now, her approaching it and observing from a distance wouldn't get her too wound up but jumping right into the all those moving parts; she would be stressed out.
 

Rits

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Sounds stressful and would be a wake-up to me that my dog needs more training in high stimulating environments like that. No offense at all. I would be equally as annoyed and embarrassed as you were with all the situations thrown at you. I would work our butts off in gradually being able to work in an environment like that. I wouldn't take my dog again until I did this.
 

Oh Little Oji

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Thanks for the input so far!

Yes, there is probably more training I could be doing with Oji. I have done a good amount, for those of you who don't know me as well. I am not inclined, however, to just go and put in training sessions with him at this point. He'll be 7 this summer and I've trained him well in the basics, just as I did my last working Dobe.

Just to further explain: I certainly did not take him right in close to people. I wouldn't do that, even in non-Covid times. At the bottom of the hill there, it did get more congested than I liked.

I want to reiterate that when Oji is amped up, full of energy, or stressed and I put him on a heel is likely to do this yappy/barky thing that my daughter describes as sounding like he is being hurt. Forbid I start running with him on a heel in this state. He will start loudly growling (and of course forging forward) and jumping up and down and get bitey with my forearm. This is adding in a different thing, I know – prey drive AND frustration.

At any rate, just know that this is a major roadblock to our training. If he was drawing attention to himself on Sunday, imagine adding in the yowling barking.

So yeah, that is just one of the challenges he brings to the table.

I wish I could simply say he would be better in a home that took him to IGP training twice a week, but quite honestly, he is just not a biddable dog. I know it took a few of his littermates like 3 years to start getting IGP titles on them, and I feel their owner (the breeder) might be one to limp them along toward titles. I just think this breeding was, in retrospect of course, ill-advised. I told my wife yesterday that maybe one day I will find his thing – the thing he is willing to do that will give him an outlet and maybe even make me proud.

But, again, yes there's probably more I could do.
 

Gelcoater

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So what about the hot dog trick some folks do to keep their attention on you?
Mouth full of sliced hotdog, him in a heal/walk and blow a slice down at him.
Keeps him looking up at you and not focused on what’s going on around.
 

JanS

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I agree that's a high excitement situation and the dog probably doesn't understand when you don't see sledding around there too often. Add your family into the mix when he wants to protect them and seeing all of the people gliding down the hill around them was probably a big trigger.
 

Kaiser2016

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Moral of the story? We have all been there, done that! :rofl:

Things are certainly made harder when one spouse finds it more embarrassing than the other. When Kaiser would pull and get frothy like a maniac, I would take the leash from my hb in order to alleviate his embarrassment, but then he'd be embarrassed by that too :rolleyes: Then comes separating the dog activities between spouses creating further division. In the case of a family outing, I think you would have been better off leaving Oji home and focusing on the sledding activity. Let's face it, squealing kids on fast moving sleds are hazardous enough without factoring in how the dog will handle all of it.

but I am later informed that I didn't have a nice look on my face. So, now I have a wife that is even madder at me.
:spit: Since this seems like a neighborhood type of activity and something your wife enjoys, it may make your life easier to just follow her lead - that way everyone can come home happy, and you can go out again to take care of Oji's needs :pokeeyes:
 

Gelcoater

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Since this seems like a neighborhood type of activity and something your wife enjoys, it may make your life easier to just follow her lead - that way everyone can come home happy, and you can go out again to take care of Oji's needs
Or condensed down a bit,
Happy wife=Happy life. :thumbsup:

:martini:
 

Rits

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So what about the hot dog trick some folks do to keep their attention on you?
Mouth full of sliced hotdog, him in a heal/walk and blow a slice down at him.
Keeps him looking up at you and not focused on what’s going on around.
I think Oji in the above case is past the point of seeing anything but what has him frustrated and in prey drive. Treats don't matter. I've been there :rolleyes: The human is frustrated at this point too!
 

jazzies mum

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Do you think that part of the problem with enjoying an outing like this might be that people seem to think they need to butt in? Having a hyped up dog is one thing, but then having to deal with general public concern makes it really hard to just deal with Oji I would think. I suspect that I might have an anti social gene that makes unwanted interference really hard to deal with so this might be the case here, maybe? It takes all your attention on your dog to get a result something like you would like and then having to play nice to an incomer! :sour: On family outings it just might be better to let your wife deal with these people, or just do family outings and Oji exercise outings as separate things.
Having read a lot about Oji over the years I think he is just one of those super hyped dogs that find restraint very difficult rather than just needing more training or exposure. A shame there wasn't an outlet like fastcat or lure coursing close to you, as he would probably delight in that! Getting him back might be a different matter! :woot2:
 

Oh Little Oji

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I think Oji in the above case is past the point of seeing anything but what has him frustrated and in prey drive. Treats don't matter. I've been there :rolleyes: The human is frustrated at this point too!
I clicked "agree" there because I did try treats a time or two and it was not enough to get his attention. That's a good idea in general, @Gelcoater though. I had forgotten about the rather hilarious spitting of hot dog bits from the mouth!

If I recall, on the occasions I used treats outdoors I managed to coax tiny spurts of his attention and he was I think actually sort of annoyed by my offering treats. :rofl: It's like: What? Treat? (back to staring at the animal), Huh, treat? Oh yeah. (back to staring at the animal), Treat? Yeah I want it (back to staring at the animal), Would you stop with the dang treat already? (back to staring at animal), Snatch the treat. Treat falls out of mouth (back to staring at the animal).
 

Oh Little Oji

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One major takeaway for me here is that Sunday's little debacle (and the dozens of others over the months and years) is what I should point to when I try to tell my dear wife that Oji is not a normal dog! I've tried to get that across to her in the past.

Of course, her response is that she WANTS a normal dog! Well, actually, she doesn't want a dog at all; but she would choose some smallish cute sweet mixed breed. She says our dog limits us way too much. This is mostly when it comes to taking trips. He is near impossible to board or to keep in a crate in a rental house so we can go out and to things without the dog. (Peeing out of the crate, destruction of crate, non-stop barking). All this gets to his separation anxiety, but anyway... Not a normal dog. Not a normal breed, really. (and that's not an insult)
 

Pb57

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This is actually kind of funny to me, sorry. You remind me of myself out in public but you are probably more behaved than I. I retired as a Deputy Sheriff after 30 years and I have no patience anymore. I used to but not anymore. Paul
 

Tropicalbri's

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Some dogs need help sometimes to take the edge off and generate more focus.
Often like kids with hyperactivity disorder of which they have no control over.
It’s then we have to step in and make decisions for them that is in their best interest.

We have often prescribed Trazadone, Prozac, and Gabapentin with great success for animals that cannot control their behavior even with training.
I know many that absolutely do not want to give any medication but if it increases their quality of daily life with their family then it’s worth it.
it doesn’t mean they have to be on it for life as they can be weaned off as you see consistent positive behavior changes.

Oji may also pick up on your wife’s vibes of disliking him or his behavior and creates an issue of him acting out more. No offense to your wife at all but animals pick up quickly on body language from their humans.

It’s just a thought to mull over, I apologize if I overstepped on my suggestions.
 

Oh Little Oji

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This is actually kind of funny to me, sorry. You remind me of myself out in public but you are probably more behaved than I. I retired as a Deputy Sheriff after 30 years and I have no patience anymore. I used to but not anymore. Paul
It's cool. Yeah, I tend toward the antisocial and... Well, my wife assumes the best in others. Me? Not so much. That came up in the argument. :drama:

Actually, I've long identified with the Doberman, or at least my impressions of the breed. Misunderstood, quirky, damaged soul. Not as much physically though. Not overly tall or purebred. Pit Bull mix maybe. :rofl:

You're probably going: Uh, okay.
 

Oh Little Oji

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Some dogs need help sometimes to take the edge off and generate more focus.
Often like kids with hyperactivity disorder of which they have no control over.
It’s then we have to step in and make decisions for them that is in their best interest.

We have often prescribed Trazadone, Prozac, and Gabapentin with great success for animals that cannot control their behavior even with training.
I know many that absolutely do not want to give any medication but if it increases their quality of daily life with their family then it’s worth it.
it doesn’t mean they have to be on it for life as they can be weaned off as you see consistent positive behavior changes.

Oji may also pick up on your wife’s vibes of disliking him or his behavior and creates an issue of him acting out more. No offense to your wife at all but animals pick up quickly on body language from their humans.

It’s just a thought to mull over, I apologize if I overstepped on my suggestions.
Not overstepping at all, Bri!

Wife is in favor of medicating him – has wanted that for years. The thought just makes me sad. We actually have some Trazadone we got for boarding him, and have used it a time or two for that, and long car trips. We procured a bottle on two occasions, and a lot still remains in both bottles, a few years later.

My mind goes to my brother in law's family. A few years ago, they bought a Pembroke Corgi pup for the (11 or 12 yr. old?) son. Why Corgi? I think the breed currently enjoys a small to significant fancy. I think the other factor was how stinkin' cute they are as puppies. Well, this dog is a pain. I honestly don't know if it simply is a typical Corgi of proper temperament, or if he is unusually neurotic or anything like that. I do know that any time my wife and daughter visit them, that dog barks at my girl kind of nonstop, and it's loud especially indoors! I am concerned about hearing damage! I see they have done at least some training with him, like retrieving a thrown toy in the house, but they medicate the dog – I think on an ongoing basis. I look at that and think: Uninformed choice, Failure.

Well, you have it correct that there is dislike toward Oji, and I know this is not the thing to say on a forum full of hardcore dog lovers, but it's also on my part. You don't know the level of tension in my household at times. The explosive barking at animals,m the slow destruction of our floors which we paid $10,000 to refinish before moving in here, the whining, the scars he put on my face when I tried to put booties on him before we moved in here with the new floors. He makes me raise my voice in anger on a regular basis in front of my daughters. A very often repeated thing in my house: "Daddy's not mad at you. Daddy's mad at the doggy."
 

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