Reub's journey

14 May 2011

Dog in training

It has been one week since we went to see a dog trainer about Reub, whose escalating aggression towards certain people and dogs has become an issue we can't ignore. Our consultant, Julie, told us "You can't depend on 'Hope.' You can't just hope that the aggression will stop. It will not." This was really great advice, because I do often find myself "hoping" problems away. So we must do something.

This is the sign at our front door. Next week maybe I will have a better one. It would be fun to have a different sign every week.
I think it will help if I pledge to document our progress  once every week or so. Maybe it will be interesting to watch our struggles, I don't know; I do know that this will help me see whatever progress we have made.

This past week:
1. I have played telephone tag with Reub's wonderful vet, who has multiple medical treatments in mind, ranging from therapy to pheromone collars to Prozac. Next week maybe I will get to speak with her in person to figure out what is best.
2.  We have been working on getting Reub to sit when the doorbell rings. Sounds easy, right? Eddy thought so. Ed just LOVES the doorbell game!  At first I locked him in another room when I did this training, but finally decided he might be a good model for his buddy Reub.

Like a high school football coach I have decided to video some training sessions. This was taken today. I see that (clumsy with the camera and treat bag) I am slow to reward poor, adorable Reub, and I sound a little nervous (not good).

I also suddenly admire the rug on our floor, which we brought back from Afghanistan 35 years ago as returning Peace Corps volunteers, and I can't believe I put it in the highest-traffic place in the house.


  1. omigosh i love those dogs. wahhhhh...(and the rug is nice too)
    you sound awesome, kerry. i know a few people who could stand seeing how to train a dog...

  2. I feel a great deal of respect for you. So many people wouldn't bother.

  3. such beautiful 'kids'. eddy is a great role model. i hope reub gets over his aggression. that's a HUGE worry, i'm sure.

  4. Good luck. I saw where each of them sat and one clearly was ready for the fast run to the door! If you can get them to sit further back that might show they are progressing. Lots of work and good luck.

  5. Slim, thank you. These boys love you too. Reub was so happy in your lap; he was scary at first though, wasn't he.

    Snow, I hope we can turn things around with this boy. It's worth the try, but yeah, you're right, it's not for everybody.

    tw: The worry is alleviated quite a bit by taking action.

    Tabor: Thanks. Yes, more distance will eventually have to be part of it, and then of course having him sit when an actual stranger comes to the door; that will be huge. It is a ton of work!

  6. Hang in there! So glad you have so much dedication to the guy.

  7. Wow Mom! I don't think you sound nervous at all-- you sound calm and in control. Look how desperately they (both!) want to do the right thing! Reuben is trying so earnestly. I love you all so much. Ps- "Wow" is "Mom" upside down:)


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