"Miss- understood"

So I am just looking for observations here:

Last weekend we had our annual block party on my block, and Chelsea (11 months) couldn't come, every time we tried to bring her out on the leash she went wild with barking and trembled to go and chase the kids on their bikes and scooters. I worked with her for about ten minutes each time and then took her back in the house to rest. I thought it was a good exercise in her training to be exposed to all of the people and noise, we just stayed right in our yard, a comfortable distance from everyone, a few people came over to see her and she went crazy, rolled over and begged for a tummy rub. All in all, pretty typical OES at 11 months! She didn't worry me, and as I said above I thought it was good for her training becuase I made her 'sit' and be quiet and try to control herself, but just for short amounts of time. She didn't mind going back in the house either, no tearing up the kitchen or barking.

I felt it was a pretty good experience, but my husband and I both observed something, a few of our neighbors were horrified, they asked things like, "will she always act like that?", "are you sure you know what you are doing?" (as if !), "she is a 'monster' isn't she?"------

It's been a while since I've had an OES, and I remember the last time around there were 'nay-sayers', but I remember as many people being delighted with our OES.

What have been your experiences in dealing with general perceptions?

I want to put the neighbors minds at ease- we don't need to foster bad vibes and have a 'situation'. Invariably Chelsea is going to do something to annoy these folks (bark in the yard, get free of the fence and run around before we can get her back- the usual stuff). But so far she has been pretty invisible to most of our neighbors. Once I got past having hurt feelings, I started to wonder about how to change these perceptions people have, we have to live in this neighborhood and I feel it is just a matter of time before Chelsea becomes more controllable (we start obedience on Oct. 1st). But as we all know- the OES never quite 'grows up'. (and quite frankly I like that about them)

I think people expect all dogs to act like Golden Retreivers and when this big strong 'crazy' OES is bounding around, maybe they are scared?

Just looknig for some insight and advice from you pros! Maybe I need to take the neighbors to a class too? :?

All observations appreciated.

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I know how you feel... my parents loved Dancer when she was little, but they don't like her at all now, because she barks when people come to the door (I like that, but their dog never barks at anything, ever), and she jumps up when they visit (I am working on that, and it is getting better, but still) and she does get very excited and bouncy to see people. It bothers me that they dislike my baby girl. But, I know it is part her personality, which I love, and part the fact that she is only 8 months old, still very much a puppy for an oes.
I don't know what to suggest, as I could care less what any of my neighbors think. If you are concerned, then maybe try to socialize her more with them, frequent walks and controlled greetings might help, and obedience training helps with everything. Giving a command that your dog reliably obeys is the best way to positively reinforce your control over the situation, and let your dog know what is expected.

Thanks for the comments- I don't really care whether or not my neighbors 'approve', but I am concerned because I know how these things can get out of hand if someone starts complaining, just want to be preventative.

She's a nut anyway - but we adore her!

Ditto here. I am in a neighborhood too, and I have a lot of the same reactions from people as you are having. Ours also bark when someone comes to the door, which we worked on to inforce it. My husband works nights and I want a more reliable alarm than ADT has been. LOL We get neighbors to say why would you want one big dog much less two. Or, I can't imagine wasting my time on all of that grooming. I have people who we are out at Petsmart and we just walk past them and they jump and move aside like I have a vicious dog coming through. I have always thought mine were fairly well behaved. They do have their moments of over excitedness and all training seems to go out the window, but they are farther and few between. It is more when neighbor kids come over and they want to play chase and scream. They bark, but it isn't a bark that is aggressive. When they get to chase them they will occasionally bump them but that is all. It will get better as she get's older and the training class will help a lot. Try doing more outing's with her, on a regular basis. Try even childrens parks when they are not as busy and try and stay at distance so the parents of young children don't get nervous. We have had that reaction as well. Dog parks are a great way to work on training when there are distractions.
Last of all don't let any negative opinions on Chelsea get you down. We know how special and unique each and every OES is to their person and that includes Chelsea.
And let me know where the class is to send all the neighbors with the toy breeds to. I have quite a few who could benefit from it. LOL
Good luck, Stormi and co.
As long as your dog is not an incessant barker, I can't believe your neighbors really care. I get the comment "who is walking whom?" all the time as I only outweigh my Little Boo by about 20 pounds (and of course in full hair, he looks like he outweighs me.) I just laugh and assume people are talking just for the sake of having something to say.

I do have a funny similar story. I took Henry to doggy day care one morning and there was a man in the office talking to the owner of the day care. Henry in his usual exuberance ran up to him and tried to jump up on the man (with me pulling him off and making him sit.) I thought the man looked a bit nervous so I assumed he was a delivery person, clearly not a dog owner. When I picked him up at the end of the day I heard the full story: the man was applying for a job! Henry is now their interview dog. Anyone who applies gets taken into the office and they bring Henry in. If the prospective employee is scared of or intimidated by Henry (who hasn't a mean bone in his body, and only wants to say hello, i.e., he is not growling or acting aggressive, just his usual rambunctious self), then they dismiss the applicant with a polite "no thanks." If the applicant responds to Henry positively with smiles and doesn't care that he jumps up, they continue the interview.

Note to all of you trying to teach your OES not to jump: DO NOT take him to a doggy day care where they think it is cute that he is as tall as the tallest of them when he jumps--its impossible to train him not to jump on strangers when he gets do it with them all day. I am the only person Henry does NOT jump on. LOL :lol:
Hey thanks for the nice replies everyone-

I just like coming to this site becuase I feel like you all understand me a little better than the rest of the world, as I've said in other posts, having an OES is a defining characterisitic of my exsistence. AND BELIEVE ME- I am not looking for converts- I would NEVER recommend anyone get an OES, to the casual dog owner: "this is NOT YOUR BREED". (Remember in 'Turner & Hooch' when Tom Hanks says 'This is not your room'?) But I figure all of you guys are safe- you've already taken the plunge.

Anyway - thanks for the 'sharing'- the good news is that our one next-door neighbor who greeted Chelsea with much trepidation in the begining, now hangs over the fence (he's over six feet, so when he bends at the waist he's in our yard) LOVES her, he gets kisses and hugs over the fence and he is actually cool enough to use our commands to try and get her to stop jumping. Every cloud has it's silver lining!

Anyway- thanks for the support fellow sheepie- sters!


P.S. I think obedience will make a big difference, but she will still be misunderstood. :wink:
I've had the same issues and I've felt like a bad mommy when Lola starts acting up. A lot of it is fear and their size. But one thing I always remind people is that she IS a puppy! I think people see a full size dog and expect it to be calm and friendly. But Lola is just going on 7 mos and still full of energy. I've been worried too about my neighbors cause Lola just barks for attention when they are out, but they know that and luckily the shephard mix a few doors down barks more than Lola. :) I think if they see you making the effort they'll appreciate it and eventually Chelsea should calm down...maybe in another year? :lol:

Don't worry, Lola scared the gas meter lady the other day (not in an agressive way, just her lovely big self)

I was never afraid of dogs. But I've noticed in the last few years I've gotten very cautious with dogs I don't know. There are always hundreds of "biting dog" stories floating around and I think people are reacting to those stories. Mellow dogs like Goldens (cute, but not on my top ten list) are very popular and yes, I think people expect all dogs to behave like that. And people aren't threatened by small dogs. But when they see a big, exuberant dog like a Sheepie and they aren't familiar with the breed, they might get a little scared. I would never mind a Sheepie jumping on me--I would welcome it! But not most people. Look upon this as a chance to do positive public relations for our fluffy friends. I always say "the more education, the better." Not just for dogs, but for people, too. Sheepies aren't a hugely popular breed (thank goodness) so most people don't know much about them.
Oh dear! Where to begin. I can relate to almost every story told. When I take Albert to Petsmart or just out in general, so many people will not let their children pet him, they just kind of walk away. He does get rowdy sometimes, but he is a big clown. One time that really got me upset was during his first obedience class. He was acting pretty rowdy and aggressive towards the other dogs. I heard one of the women that was standing outside the area watching say "That is an Old English Sheepdog, they always act like that." That really upset me. But I got over it and realized some people just don't have the heart for an OES. I am taking Albert to "Doggie Day" tomorrow, it is an event to raise money for the local animal shelter, and everyone brings their dog. It's really fun, I am just hoping that Albert is a good boy and that I won't have to take him home early, because of someone being frightened. I guess I'll see tomorrow.
We've lived in our current neighborhood for just about four years now. We've had Ben with us the entire time - we got him about 9 months before moving to Texas. Big Ben's reputation on the block was of a big, mean brut. I'm not saying we've never seen a bit of aggression out of him - he's been known to be rough when my hubby & kids are wrestling. But never, ever has he ever been aggressive to or even in front of a neighbor. He's actually a very sweet dog. Any burglar would just have to rub him for a minute and that's all the convincing Ben would need to let him in. He is big, but there are bigger dogs around. He's a smaller sheepie at 65 lbs. but does look bigger with more hair. The worst he does is herd the kids' friends but being they are only 7 & 9 year olds we hold onto Ben until the kids go off and play. After 4 years most of the kids aren't even bothered by the herding anymore. They just kind of sigh and rub Ben for a minute and then go on playing. It's kind of the toll to play in our house! :oops:

Anyway, I am not exaggerating, but just this summer we have heard the same comments from numerous friends and neighbors, "you know, Ben really is a good dog." He's getting older and he's getting calmer - that is part of it. But if you give him a chance he's pretty darn okay. And who can resist that nose??

Guess what it boils down to is that people are always going to shy away from the person who looks different or the dog of a different breed on the block. We've all seen the movies or had the experience of knowing a person everyone thought was crazy but once they got acquainted found out what they had been missing in a friend. Our Ben might not compare in other people's minds with their labs or other furballs but they don't know how lucky we've been to have Ben in our lives.

On that note, I was out of town on business last night. My hubby informed me Ben slept all night on my side of the bed and I might be hunting for a resting place tonight...... 8O Okay, so I love him more when he finds his own bed?! LOL
Speaking of which.... Dancer and Sky got to meet our new neighbors today...
I spent some time talking to them while I had Sky out with me, and Sky actually barked, once. It's the first time she's ever barked at anyone or anything, other than puppy yips while playing with Dancer. She quieted immediately and just continued doing her thing though. Then I brought Dancer out... aargh! She barked like mad, I would tell her no, be quiet, and then a command like sit and then good girl. After a few minutes she would stop barking for, oh 2 or 3 seconds. LOL I praised her, and tried to end it on a good note and took her inside. I explained to my neighbors that she is just very protective of us, and that she WILL eventually not bark when she sees them, it will just take her a little time. I apologized, and they seemed nice about it, but I still felt bad. :oops:
LOL!!yeaH i can relate,but not w/ mickey.my 1st collie was a spaz!!he barked all the time,he went nuts w/ ppl on bikes,and ppl had negative comments about him.However when he grew up at about 2yrs old,those same ppl were so impressed on how he had changed and grew into one hell of a dog.Rockey(was his name)would sit and stay for as long as you told him too,he wouldnt move an inch.id walk him off leash down by our lakes and hed stay right on my left side,we come to a stop sign hed sit and wait for me to take my 1st step,he was AWESOME!so those same ppl who are negative now will be amazed on how much your OES will grow up.i live in a neighborhood also,and i could careless what others say.altho mickey isnt a big barker and is pretty much an angel,my collie jagger is a barker and most love him anyways.i say keep your chin up and keep up the good work w/ your baby OES!!
Hi Stacey,

I don't remember where I read it, but I think I have read somewhere that if you can get your dog in a down position that it is harder on them to bark. I don't know if that is true or not. We have taught both of ours "no speak" and a hand signal to go with it. It works most of the time, unless the dogs behind us start throwing themselves at the fence and barking and growling. Then there isn't much of anything I can say they bark like crazy and run back inside. Then once inside they will try to get the last word in, like they are now safe behind Mom's legs, so now they can back talk the other dogs. LOL
I am up late tonight because Miss Marie is talking and going from her birthing box to her litter box. I would take the excessive talking as a sign of beginning labor, but she has been a little chatter box ever since she got pregnant. She has all kinds of meow's to describe how she is feeling to us. LOL Anyway, I have all the supplies that I need sitting out by the birthing box, just in cast queenie needs any help. The babies are squirming around all over the place. It is neat to just rest my hand on her belly and have limbs popping up everywhere. She got her milk, or the colostrum in yesterday, so I think it shouldn't be long, but being her first litter I just don't know. I guess I shall go since I am tired and rambling on. :oops: Stormi and co.
I'm so excited for you Stormi! I can't wait to see the kittens! I think she will have four, and will go into labor tomorrow night, and will begin having them after midnight so they will be born on the 13th.
Just a guess.... :wink:
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