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The Middle Of No Where-Ville

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  • The Middle Of No Where-Ville

    Hello. I just moved to a very rural town in the midwest for a new job. I am struggling to find any professional pet walking/sitting service willing to come to my house. In the past I have always relied on a local service where I met the owner personally and got to know them. I am finding myself feeling reluctant to use something like Care.com... Anybody use this service and willing to share their experience? Also, I am trying to get creative ...what about calling the local high school and asking for the names of responsible students?? Any other possibly brainstorming ideas welcome!

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Is this for the same girl that just bit a worker that came to the house? I would be very careful in selecting someone to come to your house when you're not there. I'd try to get a handle on the aggression first and get some help from a professional behaviourist. Until you have a good handle on her aggression or fear issues, I would act preventatively and secure her before people come to your door. If you do have someone come to take care of her when you're gone, I would be sure to introduce the person several times while you are there, and be sure to make it a positive experience. I would look for someone experienced with dogs, not just a high school student.

    I'd be taking that incident with the worker pretty seriously though. Don't put your pup in a situation where she's likely to fail-- her life could depend on it if she hurts someone else who isn't so cool about it.
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    Peach, merle Great Dane
    Born July 7 2014
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    • #3
      Originally posted by emeko View Post
      I'd be taking that incident with the worker pretty seriously though. Don't put your pup in a situation where she's likely to fail-- her life could depend on it if she hurts someone else who isn't so cool about it.
      Agreed. Some people and some regions are far less tolerant of biting dogs; another incident could cost your pup. I also agree about the training professional. Depending on where you are in the southwest, you might want to look up pet behaviorist trainers that specialize in developing social skills and manners for nervous dogs. Since most dogs guarding stems from fear or overposession of people and things... its important to train these behaviors out before they cause puppy to act on instinct to disastrous results.

      Many folks like the "protective" feel of a dog that barks or growls at strangers... but these behaviors are widely misinterpreted as "protective of their owner"... when in fact it actually comes from being possessive of the owner; they view their owner, their food, and the home... as THEIR stuff belonging to them. Its an unhealthy state of mind for a dog because its completely backward from what the appropriate responses should be. Owners do belong to the dog, neither does food or the home. Puppy is a guest... its important that puppy knows that they are safe and that owner protects them, NOT the other way around.
      Unless specifically, thoroughly, and properly trained as protection dogs, pets should NEVER be allowed to "guard"; they do it for the wrong reasons and the reasons all lead to bad habits and dangerous situations that owner is legally liable for.

      Pets, like children, should have our protection and care; I would no more toleratre my child answering the door with a pistol in order to keep people away from me than I would put my dog between me and my house guests.

      Okay, enough about my rant...
      To answer your actual question... I would enroll puppy in a behavior conditioning class with a local behaviorist (in rural areas, a lot of them work from home and you can find them online). Also, some ranches have farmhands or ranchhands that are willing to "babysit" dogs on the property and socialize puppy with other animals and dogs.
      Once puppy has seen a behaviorist, been to a couple obedience classes, or spent some time with another animal handler for a bit... you might go to the local community socials spots and look for community boards with posted flyers; every small rural town has one. In the south, its usually a Waffle House or other small establishment where people congregate; they'll have a board for posting job openings, babysitters, lawncare, etc... you can likely find dog walkers there; if not, you can post flyers requesting one.

      Also... you might consider that the move has your puppy on edge as well. A new home can have a jarring effect on a dog's psyche... a totally different climate, region, and environment style will have an even more dramatic effect. Your dog may still be on edge from suddenly having everything she knew about the world turned on its head all of a sudden... that can make a dog nervous, and nervous dogs a quicker to bite, quicker, to bark, etc.
      - Chris
      "Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal"
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