Five Dogs At The Riverwalk

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I’m glad it’s an overcast day. I have so much work to catch up on and I don’t feel bad spending most of my time inside. I have to study, do packaging for the shop, and catch up on laundry! I hope I can get all of that done soon so I can head to the grocery store to get some healthy foods for the week. After breakfast, Nick and I went our separate ways so we could both get work done.

We were blessed with a beautiful weekend. It wasn’t miserably hot and we took advantage of it by spending a lot of time outside.

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After church yesterday, we took the dogs to PetSmart to grab them new leashes. I’ve been having a hard time with Grumples lately. He’s acting out and getting leash aggression. I bought him a front harness after failing with almost every other type of leash.

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The new leash helps a lot with pulling, but it’s not helping with his outbursts.

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The river walk has tons of areas for swimming, biking, and walking. The dogs had fun jumping in and out of the water.

We were shocked at Tino’s excitement towards the water. He darted for it and started splashing around.

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Even people were swimming in the river. I don’t think I’d be able to get in the water since there are tons of snakes and it’s not clear enough…

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People were out in the middle of the river with coolers and fishing.

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We are going to come back on a day when there aren’t a lot of people, so we can take the dogs off leash to swim.

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While we walk Grumples, he is great. He can walk by people and dogs, but every now and then…something will set him off. He made me really nervous yesterday to the point where it made me sick to my stomach because of how stressed out I was. If I don’t let him go up to a dog to sniff, he freaks out and starts barking and lunging. It’s terrifying. I was sick all day yesterday from it and on the verge of tears. This stuff makes me so upset.

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Ten seconds after an outburst he is normal all of a sudden…

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Nick’s parents brought their dogs to the Riverwalk too.

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The great thing about the path is that it’s dog friendly. It has trash cans and bags for the waste, tons of areas for them to walk, and it’s shaded.

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We had five dogs!

I brought a backpack with ten bottles of water.

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Grumples, Tino, Marley, Haley, and Luke!

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Grumples is so good with other dogs, people, and then as soon as that leash attaches to him, he’s a different person and I feel like it’s getting worse and worse!

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I mean…he doesn’t look like a mean dog…but his episodes are atrocious.

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I’ve read a lot of articles, books, and watched youtube videos on how to fix it, but none of them seem to work. All dogs are different. He started changing about a year ago and after yesterday’s walk, I decided that I need to get a professional. I’ve tried everything, but nothing is working and it’s not safe for him or others to be around his episodes. He’s such a loving dog, but he’s going through something.

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Tino on the other hand is doing really well and is the biggest goofball.

I felt really bad for him at PetSmart. While we were in there, a lady with two giant labs came down our aisle. Their labs started barking at Tino and it’s normal for a dog to bark back. Tino is the FRIENDLIEST dog ever; he won’t hurt a caterpillar. The lady started yelling “get back” “get out of here” and said something under her breath about him being pit bull. There is so much ignorance and stigma to the breed and people need to really do more research on these dogs because they are so misunderstood.

You can’t judge a dog by it’s breed. Look how friendly Grumples looks…

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We finally finished our walk!

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The dogs drank so much water before getting into the car.

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My car is due for a cleaning now!

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We got to training around five and had him evaluated. They said that Grumples is acting this way because he’s insecure and a very nervous dog. He’s also addicted to the “high” that he gets from acting out and that is why he only barked at every other person. As soon as he got off the high, he needed to get upset again. He listens well, he knows sign language, he knows so many tricks, but its the self confidence that he needs to work on. A lot of this could be because I was by myself a lot in Chicago and Detroit and would walk at night. He felt the fear and become more protective of me. When we were in the training room, he sat right in front of me panting and got nervous when anyone came too close to me. That isn’t good. I just want to be able to take my dog places with me again and not worry about how he’ll act.

He will be getting some deep training and I’m going to figure this out. They’ll be training the BOTH of us. You all know how much I love my dog, and I don’t want to see anything bad happen to him. I just want him back to normal. I’ll keep you all updated on him!

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After the dog trainer, we headed back to Nick’s parents for dinner. His mom made broccoli salad and his dad made pulled pork.

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After dinner we relaxed outside with coffee. Nick’s mom made apple crisp and it was delicious and reminded me of fall 🙂 We all watched the movie Aloha together. It was a good movie, but kind of strange at the same time.  “Cheesy” would be a great way to describe it.

It was a good ending to the night and a stress reliever. Grumps was cuddled up next to me and I tried to calm myself and stop thinking about it.

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The pups and I were passed out by eleven!

Alright, time to knock some things out so I can grocery shop and relax the rest of the time!

Comments

  • Dee

    Is it weird to get comments on old posts? does it happen a lot?

    Anyway, I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post! my dog is the EXACT say way as your is with the insecurities and the need to protect me! I’ve been reading some of the other posts between this and the most recent one and havent come across an update on his behavior. I was just wondering where you go with the training/ if it helped/ was it worth it?

    Thanks for being awesome!

    -Dee

    Reply to Dee
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Oh no! I get them all the time.

      I have been working with him and a trainer! He has been doing so much better. For safety, I also have a very soft muzzle around his mouth. He can still bark with it (which makes hime feel protected) and its a comfortable fit. This helps me walk him in places without the feel that he is going to go after someone. It also makes me feel better, which makes him act less “nervous” and so that has been a huge help. I’ve been working with him every single day with long walks and making him practice listening and focus with me. My trainer has me make very deep noises when he’s about to act up in his ear, and he makes me use a deep voice with I give him commands. We practice sitting and walking back and forth and tricks on his walk, which is is phenomenal at, but it helps with command and focus. Food doesn’t help, so the deep voice does.

      xo

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • McKayla

    Grumples sounds a lot like my dog Georgia Mae! She is the most wonderful dog around people, but if a unfamiliar dog comes near me, she goes insane. It’s embarrassing and it makes me feel sick to my stomach as well. I’ve been wondering if training would be helpful, so if it works well, I would love to hear about it!

    P.S. I love all your posts about dogs, some people are just grumpy…

    Reply to McKayla
  • Sara

    Dear Taralynn,

    I have never commented on your blog and am not one to do so but I wanted to say that I am sorry that you and Tino experienced discrimination based on his breed. I also have a dog that falls into the “pitbull ” breed and cannot believe how people can be so ignorant. I feel as though the lack of education around the breed marks them as bad dogs when in reality they are gentle giants; dogs are not bad, people are bad and they are the reason for this ignorant and discrimination. I am not sure if you are aware but Petsmart are also guilty of this, they do not accept “bully breeds” into their pet hotels with this disclaimer on their site: “Dogs in the “bully breed” classification (i.e. American Pit Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers or mixed breeds that have the appearance or characteristics of one of these breeds). For the safety of all animals and associates, and at the discretion of PetSmart, some pets may not be permitted”. Because of this, I no longer can support Petsmart and instead have started supporting my local mom and pop store.

    I hope you can used your blog to bring awareness to this issue and help educate people on these loving dogs.

    thank you for your time.

    Reply to Sara
  • Erin

    Hey Taralynn,
    Love your blog and positive attitude. Just curious how Grumples behaves on leash with Nick when you aren’t around? Best of luck helping him get back to his normal happy self!

    Reply to Erin
  • rosie

    Poor Grumples, hopefully he’ll be back to normal in no time. My horse has axiently issues towhee gets very overprotective of me he will chase away dogs and other horses that are near me. He also gets very jealous of my boyfriend and he starts acting up if you don’t pay attention to him. He is such a big sook though, would never hurt a person and is great with other animals when Im not too close to them. He is a bit of a strange horse but I love him and I’ve been doing a lot of liberty training with him on the ground which has really helped his anxiety 🙂

    Reply to rosie
  • Nicole Paolone

    I’m sorry to hear about your pup! My sisters dog seems to have an issue with tall, large, men and barks at them all the time. Training takes time, but Grumples seems smart, I’m sure he’ll figure it out quickly.

    Cheers,
    Nicole

    Reply to Nicole Paolone
  • aleah

    Your pups are so cute! I really want dogs but don’t think I can take care of them because they are so much work 🙁 It’s good that you are taking him to training again. I had a friend whose dog got put down because it bit someone….super nice dog but just had a bad incident. I don’t think people give dogs enough benefit of the doubt!

    Check out my site! http://amchang9.wix.com/medicineinmichigan

    Reply to aleah
  • Anna

    My goodness don’t listen to them, sometimes people suck – I absolutely want to hear more about your dog’s anxiety. We have an Australian shepherd with similar issues, though they happen off-leash. Same thing – he wants to protect us.
    I so know how super stressful it can be not knowing how your dog will react. But it’s true they can sense that stress! It’s a good mental exercise for us humans to try to remain calm for our dogs!
    So anyway, thanks for sharing.

    Reply to Anna
  • Kristin C

    Where is the river walk? I’d love to take my dogs.

    Reply to Kristin C
  • Christina

    Poor Grumples! He’s such a cutie. I’m sure his training will help!

    Reply to Christina
  • Amanda

    What a bunch of happy dogs- I love it!

    Reply to Amanda
  • Katie

    You should definitely look into a harness lead (www.harnesslead.com). I have a rescue pup that has the same issues and this has helped tremendously. Every time she starts getting anxious, she immediately starts pulling on the leash (which at 65 pounds, she’s not easy to handle). She is quite a little Houdini and she hasn’t been able to escape it yet so that’s a huge plus. I also carry little treats with me to get her to sit until she calms down.

    Reply to Katie
  • grumples

    Oh yeah, sick burn! you sure just told me!.
    Those two are not exclusive. Me not reading your blog won’t make your life more interesting, it’s like you have no reading comprehension at all. Oh wait! you don’t!

    Reply to grumples
  • Alyssa

    Grumples and Tino are so lucky to have you as their owner. You’re so dedicated to them! I hope Grumples feels more like himself soon, it’s sad to see dogs (which are like children) go through a hard time. Please keep us updated!

    Reply to Alyssa
  • Melanie

    So sorry to hear about Grumples, but you are doing the right thing by seeking professional help! I hope everything works out and he gets back to his normal self!

    Reply to Melanie
  • Kayla

    I love hearing about your dogs! Esp Tino- it’s so great that you’re spreading the word about rescuing dogs rather than getting them from breeders. Things will get better with Grumples. It’s very normal for dogs to go through phases like that! You’ll see a lot of other people have gone through this with their dog if you start doing a bit of research and you’re definitely taking the correct steps. Be patient and make sure he isn’t sensing your anxiety 🙂

    Reply to Kayla
  • Selene

    Wow, there is not such thing as too many dogs 🙂

    Reply to Selene
  • Sylvia

    i totally feel your pain! We adopted a little 15 pound Maltipoo who has major mental issues. She’s dog and people aggressive, has separation anxiety, house soiling problems, and flips her switch from happy to pissed in a second. I can’t give up on her though, she’s been through a lot already. You are doing a great job with Mr. Grumples and he’s lucky to have you as his human.

    PS: Contrary to what cranky up there had to say, I enjoyed hearing all about your doggies. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to Sylvia
  • Crystal

    Hi Taralynn, I have a pitbull that walks as bad as you describe Grumples. It’s a total nightmare to walk her and it totally stresses me out too. I tried taking her to dog parks too- hoping it would increase her social skills.. but she focused too much on domination and not socializing. She’d mark her territory and rush to greet every dog and sniff them from tip to tip. The one thing that that helped tremendously (after many failed attempts) was Cesar Milan’s Illusion. Since he too has a pit- I finally made the jump and bought it. I was reluctant for the price, but we (literally) tried everything that Petsmart offered. It was between the Illusion collar and a professional.

    What the Illusion does that helps is keep the dogs nose and head up. Pits love to walk with their nose dragging on the floor- and that aids them in domination. Since they get distracted and overwhelmed with the smells she’ll stop and pull and look around. However, with this collar it keeps her focused and she doesn’t even pay attention to the other dogs. Instead she’s harboring a good posture and it comes with a VERY short leash.

    It was a total game changer. I had totally given up walking her, because it harbored bad feelings for both of us.. but now I get to have her out and about and releasing her energy positively.

    Hope it helps you too!

    Reply to Crystal
  • Tara

    I hope Grumples gets better and back to his old self. I know how it feels to worry so much about your dog. Mine is like my child (since I don’t have any) and I go a little overboard with him. But, I am like you and think our dogs should be spoiled and happy!

    Reply to Tara
  • grumples

    literally, no one wants to read a fucking essay about your dog’s anxiety. find a more interesting life, please.

    Reply to grumples
  • Camille

    I have a wonderful pitbull who loves everyone in the world but I got her when she was a bit older. She was never socialized and was pretty neglected so she can’t be around any animals except my other dog who is a little 11 lbs min pin and they are so good together. I really want to get some help training her so I can at least take her on walks without having to worry about her having a crazy episode. People are always so afraid of her just because she’s a pitbull but she loves every person she’s ever met, adults, men, kids, babies, anyone who can show her some kind of affection. I really have to give you kudos for taking care of Tino the way you do, they need that early socialization but the fact that you acknowledge that Grumples needs help even though he’s a more traditionally friendly breed gives me a whole new level of respect for you. I’ve been reading your blog for years and I love that you are willing to sau and do things to better your situation but also she’d light to others. Sorry this was so long winded but I felt you should know how awesome if a person I think you are, you can tell a lot about a person by how they great their pets 🙂

    Reply to Camille
  • Tay

    Hey Tara! I’m so sorry about Grumples acting out! I know you are getting training but for the mean time when you walk him, don’t let him get in front of you literally keep him on a short leash like RIGHT by your side, and make sure you are not tense he can totally sense that! I use this method and a gentle leader, and I walk 3 very large dogs at the same time, this allows you to have total control. When he acts out don’t freak out and just keep walking totally ignore his behavior, he’ll catch on soon enough. I can’t stress enough how much he is feeling your anxious vibes just take a deep breath and enjoy your dog. Good luck!

    Reply to Tay

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