Friday, April 16, 2010


Very strange indeed!

Eclipse, that is.

You may remember a post I did back in January of last year of Eclipse's quirks. He was a mere 13 weeks old at that time and I'm happy to report that Eclipse is just as quirky as always!

It's hard to say what he likes more, stuffies or nylabones. He's often seen carrying around or snuggling with a stuffie like your typical Golden. His favorite position to play with toys? On his back :-D He's a cutie, that's for sure. There are a ton more quirks about Eclipse that we could talk about, like his inability to contain his wiggles and keep his feet to himself when he just gets So Happy! But that's not what this post is about.
I was reading a blog yesterday, Eve a puppy-in-training who is going in-for-training at GDB soon, and they mentioned that their leader thinks that some things are just part of a dog's persona, such as in this case, barking at the door. (Kira!)

In Eclipse's case, it's being reactive to other dogs. I was hoping to get him into Rally-O and agility and to get him his CGC and possibly into a reading program for kids, but with his reactiveness, I don't know if we'll be able to do any of those things. Honestly, I've yet to be able to pinpoint what exactly it is that sets him off. He's not aggressive, but he is defensive. Some dogs he completely ignores, even if they're standing at the fence barking their fool heads off. Others don't even have to bark and he's having a tissy fit. I think I'll have to get Alex to record us walking by various dogs, and more specifically, record the other dogs before and as we're walking by before I'll be able to see it. Although I do have a feeling that he only reacts to dogs that are overly alert/looking dominant.

We may still be able to do events and get him his CGC since he doesn't react as bad to dogs that aren't behind fences, in fact he's got picture perfect pacification signals, but I don't know if I want to push him. I know that Cesar Milan would say he's instable, but I'm not willing to "break" Eclipse's spirit to make him "stable" and I still think he'd be reactive to other dogs, he has been since day one.

He was doing really well when I was able to redirect him to some extent with very rich food, but with his sensitive stomach (and horrible gas and diarrhea from treats) that's no longer an option. He's not motivated by kibble at all, despite the fact that he loves his kibble now, and he's not motivated enough by toys to pay them any mind when we're outside. I'm happy he's more tolerant of his Gentle Leader now, because if he weren't in it walks would be unbearably stressful and the poor guy would never get out.

Any ideas? I'll try and get some videos of soon but I think it's a defense mechanism. If he sees a dog that's dominant he hackles, holds his tail very high, stands on his toes, growls, barks and tries to lunge. It seems to me like it's a "I'm bigger than I look and I mean business, don't mess with me" but only in response to dominant dogs. Does that make any sense? If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! I love operant conditioning, but it's difficult when there's nothing positive I can give him when he does what I would like him to do.

I have a strange strange dog on my hands, well, three actually! What can I say, I like the "special" dogs! *wink*

Ally, Eclipse, Teddy & Kira


  1. Are you sure Ellie and Eclipse aren't kindred spirits? Sounds EXACTLY like my Ells. I don't really like that she does it, but I have noticed the more freedom I give her to express herself, but better she tends to do.

  2. Lisa, I'm pretty sure they are kindred spirits! Your Ellie stories remind me so much of Eclipse it's kind of scary... now if they were the same breed and age I'd think they were long-lost littermates! ;-)

  3. Aww, he is so cute!
    I love how every dog is so different!

    Toby's Raiser