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Exercising a dog-reactive rescue APBT; any suggestions?


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My lovely girl Keisha is an 11 year old spayed old family red APBT; she has been with me for 4 years. When I adopted her, I knew some of her back story (and it wasn't real pretty). Keisha had been in and out of dog refuges since she was 18 months old, and had a long list of failed foster homes and at least 2 failed adoptions. One of those failed adoptions was by a young dickhead male who got her into fights with other dogs; "my dog is tougher than your dog" scenarios. Yeah, so she has a lot of mental scars, and some physical ones as well. Fortunately, the dog rescue got wind of Keisha's situation and compulsorily "re-acquired" her. When I adopted her, Keisha had been in kennels for months. There aren't a lot of a lot of people who want to foster a fear-aggressive dog that can't be socialised with other dogs.

 

However, Keisha is the most lovely of dogs with humans and people comment on how calm and relaxed she is in my backyard. We have hosted parties and other events and Keisha has been perfectly behaved, especially with children. My 95 year old mother-in-law who lives with us adores Keisha, and it is reciprocated.

 

But.... She is not real good around other dogs and that limits where and how I can exercise her. I have found a few fenced areas where I can safely let her off lead, but these are not always available. My backyard is quite big, but not as big as your typical off-lead dog exercise area.

 

So, any suggestions as to how I am going to exercise this athlete of a dog? I have used my nearby light industrial area for walking (no dogs there, and the couple of guard dogs are easy to avoid). I've used multi story car parks (again, no dogs there and any that are, are locked in cars). Oh, and I have accessed a respected and competent dog behaviorist to assess Keisha, and was told that these behaviours have been so well entrenched that it would be very difficult to ameliorate them.

 

Regards, ricey

 

 

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Bless you for taking on a dog with challenging behaviours. At 11 years old, I honestly wouldn't put her through the stress that's involved with the rehabilitation and counter conditioning process (and I've had to make a similar decision with my senior staffy x after he was attacked and traumatised.) I'd do what you're already doing and put your energy in to managing her environment instead.

 

For on leash walks, cemeteries were a godsend for us. We did sometimes see another dog but it was usually easy for me to spot them well before my dog did and change direction to avoid any issues. For off leash runs, I found some unfenced parklands in the CBD where dogs are allowed off leash but it was usually empty during the day. We did still occasionally have incidents with other dogs turning up and rushing us, which was very frustrating, but for the vast majority of visits we had it to ourselves. That being said, my dog was terrified and would shut down rather than try to attack the other dog, so if your dog's reactivity extends to actually wanting to do damage to another dog, I'd either muzzle train her or skip this type of exercise option, for both her safety and the safety of other dogs. 

 

I don't know what's available in your area but there is a private facility here that can be hired for off leash time with no other dogs present. We also had greyhound tracks suggested to us for private off leash runs, as some facilities will let you hire them out. There are a couple of forests about an hours drive from here that allow dogs off leash so long as they don't enter the native areas of the forests (which also have fox baits in them.) You'd need a solid recall though and to be able to stop your dog if it happened to see a kangaroo. Best of luck to you with finding some safe options for your off leash time. 

 

 

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Do you have a community facebook page?

 

More intimate  local knowledge could make the difference with the possibility of offers for the use of private areas depending on the community.

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23 hours ago, Dogsfevr said:

You could hire the private dog run at Morley vets .

 

 

 

Yes, i have hired the the private dog exercise area at Morley Vet a couple of times (Morley Vet is my vet of choice, Dr Rodney Sundra is Keisha's vet). Both times, Keisha just stayed by my side and sniffed the dog smells and had her tale between her legs. I guess she was overwhelmed by all the dog smells, much more so than when we are out on walks. At the Morley vet dog exercise area I had her favourite chew toy with us and I tried to get her excited with it by dangling it under her nose and amping her up, then throwing it. She wasn't having any of that, just stayed glued to my side with her tale between her legs.

 

One of the few places that she seems comfortable with is the Bayswater community garden, which is fully fenced, but right next door to the Frank Drago soccer grounds which is an off-lead dog exercise area. Funny thing is, there can be dogs in the soccer grounds barking at her but Keisha doesn't seem upset by them. I guess spending so much time in kennels she has realised that dogs can't get to her through Cyclone fencing.

ricey

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23 hours ago, Snook said:

For on leash walks, cemeteries were a godsend for us. We did sometimes see another dog but it was usually easy for me to spot them well before my dog did and change direction to avoid any issues. For off leash runs, I found some unfenced parklands in the CBD where dogs are allowed off leash but it was usually empty during the day. We did still occasionally have incidents with other dogs turning up and rushing us, which was very frustrating, but for the vast majority of visits we had it to ourselves. That being said, my dog was terrified and would shut down rather than try to attack the other dog, so if your dog's reactivity extends to actually wanting to do damage to another dog, I'd either muzzle train her or skip this type of exercise option, for both her safety and the safety of other dogs.

thanks for the suggestion of cemetaries; there is one around 4 kilometres away, and also Perth's main cemetery (Karrakatta) that is about 10k away. A nice stroll through Karrakatta, visit and tend the graves of a few old friends who will never grow old sounds rather charming (and Keisha will love the new smells). But I won't be able to let her off-leash; I tried for 3 months to get her used to wearing a Baskerville Ultra Muzzle, with no success.

ricey

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10 hours ago, ricey said:

thanks for the suggestion of cemetaries; there is one around 4 kilometres away, and also Perth's main cemetery (Karrakatta) that is about 10k away. A nice stroll through Karrakatta, visit and tend the graves of a few old friends who will never grow old sounds rather charming (and Keisha will love the new smells). But I won't be able to let her off-leash; I tried for 3 months to get her used to wearing a Baskerville Ultra Muzzle, with no success.

ricey

You may have to limit off leash exercise to private facilities that you can hire, when you don't have to worry about any other dogs turning up. 

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It sounds as though Keisha has a wonderful life with you, your family and friends.  She isn’t a youngster anymore and would probably be happy just doing a few activities in your back yard.  So much stress in her life before you - I wouldn’t put her through any more.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Loving my Oldies said:

It sounds as though Keisha has a wonderful life with you, your family and friends.  She isn’t a youngster anymore and would probably be happy just doing a few activities in your back yard.  So much stress in her life before you - I wouldn’t put her through any more.  

 

 

I think that very much depends on Keisha to be honest. I was given the same advice for Justice by his vet behaviourist and to keep him home, instead of persisting with finding safe places for him. He was still really active for a senior dog though and would have been completely miserable if I'd kept him at home for the last few years of his life. He was still racing around like a lunatic at 15 and absolutely loved outings and a good off leash run, until he was forced to rest when he tore a muscle a couple of months before he died.

 

If Keisha is an old 11 year old who's happy to snooze at home and hang out in the back yard, then I agree with you. And if she doesn't actually want to go out then I wouldn't force her to. If she's a young 11 like my boy was though and loves going out, provided her triggers are avoided, then I would persist with finding safe places for her to run and sniff. 

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