Saturday, December 5, 2009

How about a little history to tell you about the future?

Hi, my name is ShayLee. I'm 16, and I own and train 3 dogs. Zoey is my Mini Aussie - she started agility in 2006, but only started seriously competing in agility last summer. We hope to do more next summer. Psyche is my Border Collie - she started training for agility in May '09, and we're hoping her first trial will be May '10. However, the dog you'll hear the most about here is Bella - she's a rescue German Shepherd Dog and she's my baby. I brought her home December 3rd, 2007. I was 14 at the time, and I started her training the next month. From then on she did 2 levels (each level 6 weeks) of Obedience with clicker training, then 3 days a week for a summer of private lessons with the same trainer, then a season of 4-H.

Bella's the star of this blog. She has some issues; some very serious ones. It started with barking, lunging and making a big fuss about any and all dogs she saw - other then the ones that live in our house. Through the 2 levels of obedience and the summer of privates we worked that problem down to where I can now handle her around other dogs.

Her newest problem appeared in May '09 when I tried to take her to agility lessons. She doesn't like running dogs. That has been something we're working on getting under control.

However, a new and more serious problem came up on the weekend of Canadian Thanks Giving. We have other dogs in our house, and among them is Gyp. She's a litter mate to my Zoey, and she's always changing her attitude towards Bella. One day she is submissive to her, the next she's lunging at her. This has caused problems, and Bella will posture over Gyp from time to time... But, on that weekend, Bella did more then posture over her. She attacked her, and left a puncture wound on her shoulder. Mom yelled (I was at work), and Bella stopped and went to a crate to hide. A problem, yes, but we thought it wasn't such a big deal because mom was able to get Bella off of her.

On December 1st '09, our problem with Bella grew again. She attacked Gyp while they were outside, and Gyp was sitting beside my mom, not provoking Bella at all. Bella attacked her, mom yelled and she walked away. Bella, however, came back at her again, and my mom couldn't get her to let go. She yelled, pushed, pulled, pried, and screamed. She stuck her fingers in her nose, mouth, and smacked her sides. She couldn't get Bella off, and mom thought Bella was killing Gyp.

I ran downstairs and outside, yelled at Bella to 'Leave it!' and Bella let go. I held onto her and just cried. My heart was broken because I thought for sure Bella had killed her, and I knew that if Bella killed her, it wouldn't matter that it was only strike 2/3; she'd have to be put to sleep.

Luckily, Gyp only had one small puncture wound (smaller then the first time) and a limp that lasted about 5 days.

Now, because of all of this drama, things have to change in our house. Bella's not allowed out with Gyp, unless she has a muzzle on (which I'm still shaping her to accept). And I'm desperately trying to figure out a way to keep my heart dog with me.

With all my thinking, I came up with the thought that since I got my job in June, I hadn't had time to train Bella properly. When she was getting one class a week, or 3 days a week, she was great. Never had a problem in the house... So I thought "Hmm, maybe that has something to do with it...?" so to start Bella and I on the track towards "Good Dog!" again, I'm upping the ante and she's getting serious exercise and serious training daily. She's also going to be assessed by a local GSD breeder, and I'm searching for things to do with her.

Right now we're dealing with cold Canadian winter. And Bella needs exercise, so that's where you all come in. Have any ideas what I can do to keep her worked this winter?

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