Maggie goes Rebel

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Maggie collageIf you read our Blog, you’ve probably read about our dog Maggie. We adopted Maggie just about a year ago from a rescue that had saved her from breeder farm where Maggie was a breeder mom. She was skinny, malnourished and afraid of her own shadow.

We’ve worked hard over the past year to get her fit and healthy of course, but we’ve also worked at building her self-esteem and helping her get over her many fears. It’s been a long slow process and she’s had good days and bad days, but overall she’s made great progress from the first week when she wouldn’t eat or leave the house she was so afraid of everything.

Because of Maggie’s fears, we tend to be more lenient with her than with Jack. We use positive reinforcement training with both of them, but there are days when Maggie just shuts down and she’s too worried about whatever it is she worries about to focus on her training. She’s had two moods:  obedient to a fault – not willing make a single independent move – totally compliant & trying hard to please – or she was shut down. We’ve learned to keep sessions short and sweet with lots of successes.

Over the last few months we’ve noticed Maggie developing a stubborn streak. Sometimes, she will just refuse to do something that she knows perfectly well such as ‘sit’. And if she doesn’t want to go for a walk with Karen our dog walker, she just sits down wherever she is and will not move. Karen ends up taking Jack alone frequently.

And in the last few weeks, a little rebelliousness is beginning to peek out from under that fearful shield. It happened to me the first time last week. We were out for a quick walk, just the two of us as Jack was running with Steve. I took her across the field from our house because I can let her go off leash over there. It was early morning and it’s a dead end street, so no worries about cars.  Besides, Maggie never strays too far from me and is excellent at ‘touch’ – coming right back to me. That is until this day.

Maggie loving the smell of fresh air.

Maggie loving the smell of freedom.

We turned around and were headed towards home, but instead of following me to the left, Maggie kept going straight – scampering down the road toward the intersection to the cul-de-sac…where there would be traffic.  I called her…no response. I called a little louder thinking she didn’t hear me…she turned her head, looked directly at me with this guilty little look and kept on going! I called a few more times, with the same reaction – a glance towards me with a little guilty smirk on her face, but she kept on moving. Needless to say I took off after her and managed to herd her away from the road (luckily it was 6am in the morning so no cars), but I was quite surprised & shocked by her willingness to disobey. Self-esteem and confidence in abundance!

She did the same thing last night when we took the dogs out – I warned Steve that he ought to put her on the leash as we headed for home, but he hadn’t witnessed this little display the other day, so she took him by surprise when she started sprinting down the street.

She’s turned into a little devil! I’m so pleased that she feels confident enough to go off on her own like that – even when she knows we expect her to come back to us – but at the same time, I can’t have her running off like that.  I think we’re going to have to work on her recall with a little more intensity, and maybe she’ll have to be on-leash more than she likes.

Anyone else who has a fearful dog that’s developed into a little rebel?

Monday Mischief

Maggie seems to be a mischief maker in disguise, so we are joining the Monday Mischief Blog Hop hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, Luna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies

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  1. We have Chessies. They invented the word rebellion.

    Good for Maggie! She is learning to train the trainers…lol.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Monday Mischief–Big LogMy Profile

    • LOL … too smart for their own good right?
      mkob recently posted…Maggie goes RebelMy Profile

  2. Kind of bittersweet, eh? Lovely that she’s developing enough confidence to be rebellious, but worrisome, too.
    Sue at Talking Dogs recently posted…Monday Mischief: Monkey MurderMy Profile

    • Exactly – guess sometimes you take the good with the bad. We’re starting a socialization class this week – I think that will help.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie goes RebelMy Profile

  3. On the positive side I think she is feeling more comfortable which is good but that testing is bad…my sister and I both have done that many times and therefore are on a leash. My nose leads me astray and with my sister, it is just her nature but now being older mom is more lenient and lets her off leash a bit more. Good luck and hope she starts to listen again soon.
    emma recently posted…Intermediate Counter Surfing 201 | GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

    • As they get older, they are less likely to wander…and they are slower and easier to catch.

  4. Yikes! I would be nervous too!

    Sometimes former puppy mill dogs will do things we can’t explain. Sometimes it is their way of expressing independence (a huge step since so many of them don’t confident enough to even think they have a choice) and sometimes it is fear-based.

    I would be freaking out too if I were you. Daisy was a pro at pulling out of her collar in the early days, so I got her a martingale collar and a harness. She wore those her first few years with me because I didn’t trust that she wouldn’t run out of fear. Puppy mills dogs are such flight risks, I think you are wise in keeping Maggie on-leash for now.

    So very sorry! It’s always that two steps forward and one step back thing isn’t it?

    • We say that all the time – one-step forward, two back. Its funny there are so many similarities – I’ve always thought that she’s felt she wasn’t allowed to make her own choices. She’ll go outside and romp around when I go with her – but she would never go on her own, or stay out there on her own until just recently. So I know she’s just starting to ‘feel her oats’ and test the boundaries. It’s bittersweet. I like that she’s gaining confidence…but don’t like bad behaviors. We’re starting a socialization class this week – I’m sure this will help.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie goes RebelMy Profile

      • I can SO relate to pushing and testing boundaries. Daisy did that too. Remember when I said I had to watch who influenced her because she might learn bad behaviors? That’s why. She was starting to see what she could and couldn’t do with her new freedom. It’s like having a toddler who just learned how to walk.
        Wishing you and Maggie well as you make some leaps forward. 🙂

        • Thanks – you are so right. We went for a good walk today – leashed the whole time and she was a little angel 🙂

  5. We had a foster, Sam, who was a big Brittany with lots of little hang-ups, and a big willful streak. I never let him off-leash because of this, but once I dropped the leash and spent 1/2 an hour searching for him in the woods – frantically!
    Coralee and Finn recently posted…Monday Mischief: RebelMy Profile

    • Yikes – I always worry about losing one of them. I rarely let Jack off leash because of his tendency to follow his nose.
      mkob recently posted…Maggie goes RebelMy Profile

  6. Sounds like Maggie is developing some selective deafness…that photo of her sniffing the air should be captions “No, No, I won’t go” 😉
    GizmoGeodog recently posted…Is the Kyjen Gecko Invincible? Review & Giveaway!My Profile

    • LOL – you’re right – that is kind of what she’s saying!
      mkob recently posted…Maggie goes RebelMy Profile

  7. As scary as that is, it’s so good to hear. 🙂 Yay for Maggie!
    Flea recently posted…Funny Bone Monday, 29My Profile

  8. Oh I’m glad you got her back and she didn’t make it to the road. Hopefully the devil will vanish soon.
    joann stancer recently posted…Monday Mischief ~Gman & The TruckMy Profile

  9. She sounds like our Sydney. Sydney won’t sit (or she’ll do a half sit), she won’t come when I call, or she’ll just plain ignore me. I developed a name that let’s her know that I’m serious “Sydney Australia” – when she hears that, she knows that she’s used up her chances and falls in line. But it does crack me up when she doesn’t listen; because she’s such a great dog.
    Kimberly, The Fur Mom recently posted…Raw Dog Food | 5 Myths About Raw Dog Food that I Used to BelieveMy Profile

  10. Good luck with the recall training!

    That is so wonderful how far she has come along since you rescued her. I didn’t know she was a mill dog–so heartbreaking. Glad she has loving home now….
    Champ’s Mom recently posted…Someone did a Little Shopping….My Profile

    • It was pretty disturbing at first how fearful she was of everything. She still has her moments, but you can just tell she loves her new life.
      mkob recently posted…Ingredient Label Tricks – Ingredient SplittingMy Profile

  11. I can see how this would happen with growing confidence. She needs to learn that listening is GOOD and good things come from it 🙂
    Jana Rade recently posted…Adoption Monday: Paris, Labrador Retriever Mix: Deerfield, NHMy Profile

    • Listening is a new thing for her – I don’t think she ever needed to do that before. I think she sat in a crate or a pen most of the time so there was never any interaction or need to listen – just looking at us is a challenge for her. But now that she knows she gets a treat when she does, it’s getting much easier.
      mkob recently posted…Ingredient Label Tricks – Ingredient SplittingMy Profile

  12. It’s so lovely, all the hard work you’ve put into Maggie. It sounds like she’s come a long way. I remember, after training my dogs, there was a short period (ok maybe not so short) of ‘rebelliousness’. I once got that exact look from Charlie, where his recall had been trained, and one day, he went off and gave me a look when I called him, like “I know I should come back now, but you know what, I’m not gonna”. In the end, we ended up re-training his recall, using a whistle (there’s a famous DVD called “Really Reliable Recall” which has helped a lot of people, you can check it out if you want). Good luck Maggie!
    Human Rescues Dog recently posted…Dog Training Schools vs “Unschooling” Your DogsMy Profile

    • I could use that with Maggie and with Jack as neither of them are great on their recall yet. Better, but not where I’d like it. Funny that little look they get…”haha, come and catch me…”
      mkob recently posted…Ingredient Label Tricks – Ingredient SplittingMy Profile

  13. Sounds like she’s come on leaps and bounds – but are you sure there’s not some Mallie in her BOL? As it sounds like the sort of thing I do off-lead hehehe
    Misaki recently posted…Too big to play:-(My Profile

  14. I think its PAWsome. Being a confident dog is good in a way. You just have to be “creative” on your recalls/off-leash. I did the same way n I learned a lesson to be over confident. It takes patience and just have to be firm with Maggie. You might have to set a rule with your dog walker too. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
    SUGAR: Golden Woofs recently posted…Tasty Tuesday: Strawberry Chips w/ Banana DipMy Profile

  15. I am going through a somewhat similar thing with Gretel. When we first adopted her she was too timid to really do anything on her own. Over the past few years he confidence has grown and she has become more outgoing. Lately she has been letting her prey drive run her and she starts shrieking wildly when she sees something of interest and won’t “leave it”. I think we need to work on that one more 🙂
    Jessica recently posted…Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut Kong StuffingMy Profile

  16. It’s a lab thing. Delilah does it and it vexes the heck out of me! I use a 15 foot leash on her and she always has to stay on.
    Jodi recently posted…Penny For Your ThoughtsMy Profile

  17. I like how you’re trying to understand the reasons behind the action, and even look at the positives, such as showing that she’s feeling confident. I’m sure with the recall training you describe, she’ll soon be secure in returning when called dependably.
    Peggy Frezon recently posted…Get Your K9 Kamp Blogger Awards Here!My Profile

    • I hope so…I think she’s just hit her teenage years (even though she’s 9).
      mkob recently posted…Wordless Wednesday 6-25-13My Profile

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