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Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Training of Pablo

The following photos are of my daughter, Tabs and my Old Boston Bull Dog, Pablo. Tabitha has a special bond with Pablo. She insists she gets to take him with her when she leaves for University (many years from now). I said, of course. 
I've had a difficult puppyhood with Pablo. He has special needs. His breed was cultivated to be fighting dogs. He has the instinct to act aggressively toward any other dog that shows any aggression toward him--he'll fight to the death. After seven solid months of vigilant and exhausting training, Pablo turns one year old. With his age comes wisdom. We've conquered some of our biggest training hurdles. He is extremely bright and learns quickly--this has contributed to the successes I've had in controlling his aggression. That and the Dogstra vibration collar pictured below. It's expensive but it works (in water too if we're in the lake). When Pablo goes into attack mode (towards another dog) I have to remind him to sit or come using the collar. I can now walk Palo and his dog-bro together again. They used to feed off of each other's energy and go ballistic every time we passed another dog. Not anymore, they heel and keep right on walking. If the other dog lunges at them aggressively, Pablo will lunge back but then I make him sit and stay until he is calm and we carry on.
Each day is a new day and I can never let down my vigilance as pack leader. Training a dog is like raising children; one doesn't master the job after a good year of dedicated work. The job is always there with new challenges and some old ones that need constant monitoring. 
Although I agreed to let Pablo leave with Tabs, I am sure he will have become the absolute perfect dog and I won't want to part with him. However,  I'll let him go with my Tabs, because, although she might like Pablo to be a part of her campus life, I'm sure good, old Mom won't be quite as enthusiastically welcomed.
* Have a beautiful September Sunday! I will post this and then wake up my youngest girls to walk down the mountain with me and the boys (our weekly hike down to the lake and back)--the mornings are cool enough now that Fernando (my black pug) can do the hike too, without over heating. My eldest daughter is out of town with a friend (helping at a Party for The Green Party--see you soon Mist!
Update: Just returned from the morning hike down the mountain and I am very sad to say that Pablo was horrible, just horrible *tears of frustration* He was determined to keep lunging at an aggressive Scottish terrier and refused to lie down for me to submit--tried to bite my hands. The training truly isn't over until its over--one no longer has a dog. Wish me luck as I realize our training journey has only just begun...sigh....sigh...weep...weep...




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