“Stay away” Accessories

We have done a lot of training with Bonnie so that she can keep her calm while out on walks as she used to be hyper vigilant, very easily over aroused and she loves to greet people. We have put in a lot of work on loose lead walking, staying calm and not having to stay on high alert outside and now in most situations she can calmly walk past people and keep her focus on me. Obviously she is still not perfect and this is ongoing training but we have encountered so many setbacks from people who just have to get involved in one way or another.

We have had people bark at us, do that tongue click thing to get Bonnie’s attention, calling to get her attention, kids at a age that really should know better and kids too young to know better bum rushing her and parents standing back and not caring to intervene. We have had people literally follow us with their off lead dogs after we have made it clear that we do not want to interact with them or their dogs. We have people who will come right up to greet her and before we have a chance to get away Bonnie is now greeting them in her usual omg new person I must jump up and hug and kiss style – and they reinforce it by petting and loving on her! Of course I don’t have a chance of discouraging her or her even listening to me saying “Off ” once they are reinforcing her and I don’t want to use force to stop her in case she finds it aversive and associates strange people with bad things or even worse thinks that strangers are nicer than her apparently angry and mean mum!

But enough complaining about it this is our action plan going forward! We have got the two items below to help discourage people from getting too involved while out on our training walks (we probably won’t use them for off lead walks up the glen etc because I don’t think much will really stop owners and their off lead dogs unfortunately).

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Love that ear of hers!
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Lead slip and vest in action

We bought the lead slip from Saint Roch. I really loved the selection from this site as it had lots of different phrases to pick from which covers all types of scenarios. They also have a good range of colours to pick from but we choose the bright yellow as that stands out well and people usually associate that with a warning sign anyway and something to take note of. It has a little handle with a popper so that you can attach it to any lead that has a handle or in our case we attached it to one of the multi length attachment loop things on our training lead (review here – we love this lead!).

We bought the vest from Ebay . The vest can be customised with 6 different colours, any colour font, 7 different font types and with any wording that you want on it. It also comes in three sizes. We choose size M, colour yellow with grey writing in font 3.Stadium Font with the text “DO NOT DISTURB”. It’s quite a light material so would be perfect even in warmer weather and the reflective bands on the back, chest and edge of the vest is really appreciated in the darker months. I really like that it has the writing on both sides at the back as well as on the top as it means it can be seen all around and although harnesses will cover the top message the sides can still be read clearly so is still effective.

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Without the harness covering the vest
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Photo taken with flash to show the reflective detailing

We had our first outing just earlier today with her kitted out (when we took the photos above) but we didn’t get a proper chance to test it as it was pretty quiet out. I did get quite a few stares from cars as we were waiting to cross roads etc but to be honest I don’t mind because if it makes even one person stop and think that maybe not all dogs like to be disturbed on walks then that makes it all worthwhile, it’s all baby steps!

We did pass one man who had to walk across our path so I told Bonnie to stop and sit, body blocked just a bit in case she tried to greet him and fed her treats. The man said gooood very softly when she listened to me so I guess he was being supportive of us trying to train but it was a bit random haha I didn’t know what to think. We shall see how our future walks go with it and update later to see if it really helps or not. I have also been considering buying a Julius K9 IDC harness because of the adjustable labels (and because I’m totally obsessed with dog accessories xD). I am also going to be more assertive and let people know in no condition to disturb us and if they do I will simply turn and walk away rather than try to explain myself as that never really works out.

Do you ever get strangers trying to call or distract your dog, or have problems with kids running up without permission? And do you have any strategies on how to deal in those scenarios? I’d love to hear what other people’s experiences are!


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21 thoughts on ““Stay away” Accessories

  1. Re your last paragraph….. yes. All of them. The idiot factor is tough to deal with simply because… well … they are idiots! Children rushing up are decisively blocked and then the adult with them is introduced to the concept of always asking before they approach a dog they do not know. None dog owners are probably worst because they have no concept of a “troubled/insecure” dog and what that means. The off leash “It’s ok he’s friendly” owners I tend to lecture that as friendly as their dog may well be, I do not know that and, having been bitten by a friendly dog, am very cautious. Ray was afraid of other dogs and, for reasons unknown, and he may be aggressive in self defense, or because he would pick upon my concern. It is sad that so many dog owners have no clue about dogs in general however, it really does make you appreciate those owners who have taken the time to try and understand their dog and all the ramifications that go with ownership.

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    1. Haha you put it so well re the idiot factor!

      I think I need to grow a spine because I am always wary of telling parents that their child may be anything but perfect, I have no problem saying stop or no to children but then when their parent comes to I’ve already buggered off to try to avoid conflict.

      Yea I can see how non dog owners can be the worst but as I grew up afraid of dogs I find it hard to see from the other point of view of always wanting to approach dogs even strange dogs as I was always wary around dogs and gave them space.

      The off lead “friendly” dogs are the worst because more times than enough they aren’t friendly at all they are rude, pushy and don’t listen to calming signals so after Bonnie has tried licking lips, turning her head, walking away, sniffing the ground and the dog still is bugging her she ends up being labelled the nasty one because she finally had to give a back the hell off sign like growling or air snapping. I understand from your side as well that even if I wasn’t out with Bonnie and it was just me, I don’t know that dog is friendly – all I see is a big lab running full pelt towards me and if it were to take a unliking to me then the owner is not really close enough to take control.

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    1. Thank you, we really are trying our best and she has made huge strides since we first got her. She was so nervous and not used to the outside world she would just be on high alert all the time but she is really fantastic in comparison now. It’s just getting her really reliable around people and exciting situations so we can keep up her socialisation and be able to take her more places with us while staying calm and confident. I just don’t understand those people but hopefully if we can make anyone stop and think differently about bothering us then maybe they will apply that to others and give others space unless told otherwise – bit of a pipe dream but hey gotta have ambitions! 😀

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  2. That’s a great jacket for Bonnie and I really hope it slows down those insensitive humans!
    I don’t generally get people trying to stroke Little Monkey, probably because she looks like a street dog! If they did try, she’d just back away. The only time I actively encourage contact is at dog class, because it is a controlled situation and the other owners are sensible. Actually a woman was stroking LM today. which was a bit of a break through. 🙂
    What I actually need is a jacket other Dogs will read! 😀

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    1. I hope so too, we shall see how it pans out! Aw LM is so sweet, if I didn’t know better to not bother others I would come over to try to stroke her 🙂 That is sensible though and it’s great to have a group of people on the same page that you can do those things safely. That’s brilliant that the woman was stroking LM 🙂 Hehe if only such a thing could exist our lives would be made much easier! 😀

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      1. Like most things in life – it’s all about education! I feel so sorry for many dogs simply because their owners are ignorant of their pet’s needs.
        Luckily LM has a heart of gold – I tied her up for a few minutes outside a shop once and when I came out, there was a young child draped all over her – and LM was smiling! 🙂

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  3. I think you already know we have problems with morons bothering our dogs, and of course the damn MDIF idiots with their off lead dogs 😛

    Love the jacket, that’s a lot of clear messages all over it. Let me know if you end up buying a Julius and what you think of it, I’ve been more impressed with Pixie’s than the one we got a few years back for Kasper. I have a Webmaster coming for Pixie on Monday so am hella excited 😀

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    1. It took me longer that I’d like to admit figuring out what MDIF stood for haha they are the bane of my existence!
      Yep hoping that the vest makes it pretty obvious we just want to be left alone please and thank you 🙂
      I’ll keep you updated, I just haven’t decided yet as it might be part of her gotcha day presents 🙂
      Ahhh that’s awesome, I really love the webmaster and I can’t wait to see it on Pixie! I love it as it stays put so well compared to other harnesses I think because of the second belly strap. Are you going to put patches on it as well? I think I’ve seen some people using it as a service dog harness and it looked pretty cool all bling-ed up.

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      1. Hahaha oh I did the same thing when I first read a blog about ‘MDIF idiots’ last year bwahaha, I was like??? I think there’s a few different versions too, but I use MDIF 😛

        I found the Webmaster for £46.99 and usually see it for £55-65 so was like, done! I’m hoping it’ll be just so much more comfortable and durable than her vest (which still isn’t here :/ ) and the emergency handle will be amazingly helpful. Yeah I’ve seen a couple with SD patches on and it looked really good, it’s kinda hard to find long reviews or photos of dogs wearing the Webmaster, most the reviews I could find were just on amazon and only a couple lines long…but hopefully it will be worth the money!! Yeah I plan on putting a few patches on it, excited to design my first SD vest for her ^__^

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  4. The house where Choppy and I lived for most of her life was right across the street from a big park where there were kids constantly. It was inevitable that they would run up to her while we walked. It turned out to be a real blessing, because she grew up thinking it was normal. She’s so chill with little kids, it’s great.

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    1. Aw that’s brilliant that Choppy have that experience and is so good around kids 🙂 I hope if/when we get a pup we can have such positive interactions with kids. Bonnie is great with calm kids and adores them and seems to know to be more gentle but if kids run and scream or swing toys/sticks about as kids are prone to do she gets a bit freaked and wants to hide the little critter.

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  5. Love the vest but love the message and your devotion to Bonnie more.

    It was really nice reading about other owners that have challenges with their dogs. Our dog Moe will become dog aggressive sometimes. I usually avoid walking when I think other dogs will be around.When we go on walks, I spend my time scanning the area for any approaching dog so that I can beat a hasty retreat.

    Your approach is far better. I know isolating Moe is just making things worse. I hope the vest educates everyone you met that strange dogs should not be approached by humans or dogs without consent from the owner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words. We all have our own challenges with our dogs and it’s great to share with other owners so we know we are not alone in our issues. Bonnie I think is a bit similar to your Moe. She used to be great with other dogs and still is with certain dogs but after a few bad incidents now she can get quite annoyed with dogs that she thinks are being rude, pushy or too in her face. This can make her on edge with other dogs as she sometimes expects the worst. Other times she is great and walks past with no issues. For a while I let it get me down and stopped going on any exciting walks as I worried about having a bad experience but I realised like you that it wasn’t going to help the problem so I just said to hell with it and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my walks lol

      Over time she has got better though. I try to make sure I always praise and treat her for going past dogs even if she isn’t on her best behaviour as she learns that I always support her and never punish her even if she didn’t behave so then there is positive emotions and associations around other dogs rather than her worrying about my negative reaction as well as worrying about the dog. It also helped to keep some distance away from dogs to begin with just to show that it’s safe and not to worry about that dog nearby. Another big turning point for us was making sure in general that I was not forcing her to do anything she wasn’t sure of, so if she stopped walking in a certain direction and was reluctant to continue forward I would respect that and just choose a different way so that she learns to trust me and that I’ll keep her safe.

      Sorry for the ramble as it’s unsolicited advice so I do apolgise but just wanted to share what has helped with us in case you or others find it useful.

      I hope so too, if it even impacts a few people they may educate or share with others so it’s all worthwhile. Thanks again for commenting 🙂

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      1. Laura, thanks for sharing you’re experience. I think you have handled your situation admirably. It gives me hope that if I take things slow I may be able to conquer my fear of walking with Moe. I have to be honest. I stopped walking him in public after an incident when he pulled me off of my feet, lunging towards a dog that was over twenty feet away. The other dog was barking and lunging towards Moe. The owner just stood there but luckily he was able to hold onto his dog. I managed to hang onto Moe even though I was laying on the ground. If finally managed to regain my feet and get Moe walking in the opposite direction. I shudder to think what would have happened if Moe had gotten way from me. I also shake my head in disbelief that the other person did nothing to try and deescalate the situation.

        I am hoping I will be able to let that all go and try and get confident enough to take Moe on another walk.

        Cindy

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      2. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner but I understand how after that experience you had it can be unnerving and cause us to lose confidence. I’m so glad your situation didn’t turn out worse than it was. I hope that you can take it slow and gain confidence together again with Moe. These two videos might help you practice some techniques to help you on walks and even if you just practice these in your house and garden to begin with would be great practice for when you feel comfortable enough again for walks. They are by reputable trainers too that won’t advise harmful methods. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWU7wl_wp2A https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Eb3-0CSoU Since Moe is quite strong it may be worthwhile to buy a head halter/ front clipping harness to prevent the full force of pulling and there are even leashes that you can buy that clips around your waist so would probably help as it’s a lower centre of gravity so you might not be pulled off your feet and there’s no chance of the leash being pulled from your hand, or maybe even use once of those shock absorbing leashes/attachment to help absorb the impact. Wishing you and Moe all the best 🙂

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      3. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I will definitely check out the videos.

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  6. What an awesome vest! I wish more people would do what you do. A lot of people are just unaware of animal behavior and I think it’s great you took matters into your own hands and have the vest. I think its a great thing to have to keep the stress away (aka people 😉 )

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