Chix-A-Lot Friday: I am a graduate too!

I know everybody knows that my brother Doodlebug is learning to be basically obedient and graduating from classes, but guess what: I am a graduate too!

But I am a graduate in kind of a fancy, secret way that only me and mama know about — and now you’ll know too.

Mama has mentioned in the past how I am not so great at meeting other dogs and how I used to give her panic attacks when we were out in public and there were other dogs around, right? Well guess what? Mama says that I passed my impromptu final exam this week and that I’m now officially a graduate of all that nonsense!

The other day mama took me on a dog hike with some of our trainer friends and some other dogs who are working on themselves and their people (who are working on themselves too), and I really turned up the shine for mama. Here are some things that happened:

  • Some off-leash dogs came running by us on the trail and I turned my head away to say “no thank you” and just coolly ignored the heck out of them;
  • I bedded down for a nap in the tall grasses on a break just a few feet away from several other dogs; and
  • I got to play a helper role, posing as a dog resting right on the edge of the trail as everybody else practiced Walking By Distractions (me!!), keeping my composure even if the other dogs barked or stared at me.

Those of you who knew the Before Chick really understand what a Very Big Deal this is.  I did awesome!

I’m not showing off just for showing off’s sake — I’m mostly bragging to remind my friends of how far a reactive dog can come with hard work, training, and mutual trust between dog and person. All throughout our hike mama kept saying — I can’t believe he’s the same Chick!

Of course I’m the same Chick, mama. But during all that time you were busy worrying about me, I was busy learning some important lessons: I don’t have to approach a dog if I’m worried about it, I know you will protect me whenever I’m concerned, and I can always look to you for help figuring out what I’m supposed to do.

After I learned those things, everything else is a piece of cake! I’ve been practicing the Good Behaviors for a long time now, I just don’t think that they really sank in the whole way for mama until recently. I just had to keep showing her and showing her and showing her. I guess this week, she finally understood!

Years ago when we were just beginning our journey, mama never would have guessed that someday we’d be able to hike off-leash with six dogs I don’t know all around us — with me sticking right by her side like a good boy, not even worried about what everybody else was doing. But check us out here — aren’t we just the picture of wholesome fun?

30 responses

  1. Major congratulations are in order! I hope that someday my big guy and I can do the same thing. Here is to never, never giving up on your dog.

  2. Wow Chick – your mama (and all of your fans) are very proud of you!! You’re such a good example for the Dude. Keep up the good work, buddy!

  3. Yay Chick! Do you think that he is feeling more comfortable around other dogs because of his successful sibling relationship with Doodlebug? And because of your fostering over the months that has exposed him to multiple dogs?

  4. Congrats Chick!
    Alek, can you tell me the type of backpack he’s wearing?
    I was just saying that I wanted to get one for Fenway!

  5. That is so fantastic and something for Piper and I to work towards. I just became the proud mama to pittie Piper about 7 mos ago and when we first got her walking was a nightmare. We work very hard at our leash manners, attend training classes about once a month, and have come so far, although we are still working on not getting SO excited when other dogs come around. However, we are both trying to focus on our successes and to remember one step at a time…literally! :

    Piper says, “We just recently found your blog and we are so happy that we did! Mom says she didn’t realize there were blogs specifically written by other pittie owners working hard to dispel all the myths and misconceptions about Pitties. We thank you!”

  6. My fiancée has a Pitt mix (Pitt/German shepherd officially) who loves his backpack as well.

    Good job on Chick’s progress! Chick, you and your mama should be very proud!

    I have a question for your mama (or any other readers who have insight into this) — our Pitt was rescued when he was a pup (before I met my fiancée) from what he assumes was an abusive situation. Critter is very well trained and well behaved, but he has issues with new people. He growls and cowers away from anyone he’s not familiar with, and gets very submissive when strangers are near us on a walk. Is there anything we can do to try to help him with his skittishness, or do we just deal with it? He’s a very good dog, but people don’t understand his behavior has a reason more often than not. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated =)

    • We just went through this behavior with a foster and, with a good training plan, and some patience, Critter can definitely improve! Our foster is now in a forever home with a mom, dad, young girl and lots of visitors. He is still not first at the door visiting strangers but he is no longer cowering in a corner and growling when they even think about looking at him! Our plan involved mat work and targeting with very high value treats. But, I don’t think every training plan works for every dog so I recommend finding a positive trainer for Critter and getting a plan of your own. Just wanted you to know there is tons of hope.

      • thank you! Sorry this is so late…I usually read WP posts on my iPhone and didn’t see this until tonight. Thank you so much for your insight, I will definitely pass it along to my fiance. He’s such a good, sweet dog that it kills me when he has these episodes.

  7. Congrats Chick! My Molly would like to know where you got your awesome backpack from??
    She wants to be able to carry her favorite things when we hike!

  8. We are all very proud of you Mr Chick! I’m glad to hear that your rambunctiousness and misdemeanoring is behind you! Now you’re Bona Fide!

  9. I don’t know why, but this made me tear up! eeek. Ok now that I’ve gained my composure, I have to say… Your hear must be filled (appropriately so) with pride, as in bursting. And it should! Cheers to you guys.
    Love from B-More.

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