You Can't Help Other People
Not really sure where this would go, but it is driving me up the wall so I just need to get it out in a rant, and also wouldn't mind some other ideas, as the ones I have are helping, but then people being frankly morons sets us back again.
My golden was really a fairly easy puppy. His worst issue in the long run was breaking out of the yard (after being shown by my roommates dogs) but that is something well behind. He's my easiest and safest dog to count on. He's not going to hurt anyone, he responds when called, he's very good with other dogs and gets out of the way. My older female tends to ignore people and dogs, her recall is great. They both come back to check on me often and are teaching that to the puppy which is useful and I keep telling him how good he is for coming back.
Enter the issue. He's about 8 months old and has decided he can push around other dogs. He's submissive to all the dogs who live in our house and frequently come by it (even our foster who has been here for 2 weeks can push him around). When it comes to dogs on the outside however, he wants to rush up at them and nip at them. He will hit the end of his leash (regardless of collar that is on) and generally looks really out of control aggressive, which I know he isn't. He's a stupid teenage puppy who has his lower brain kicking in and feels he owns the world.
I don't do dog parks (unless they are empty or we are with dogs I know only). He comes out with me on hikes, just dogs he lives with or people with dogs in the hiking group my roommate is in charge of. He comes with me to work, but he doesn't have contact with patients there and is always on a leash there. The hikes tend to be in off leash areas, and for the majority of the hike, he is off leash. Once we get moving with the group, he is too distracted by what is happening around him, what his best friends are doing, to really care about other dogs. They become dogs that he is out with, and unless we stop and he has the chance to think about it, he generally just leaves them alone.
Of course, strange dogs coming around is another thing.
I do my best to get his attention and call him over if I see people with their dogs coming up ahead. The dogs have the command "Off Road" when we want them to get out of the way of bikers and joggers. I call that out, get my dogs over to me, reward with treats and either hold Doyle's collar or put him on a leash until whatever there is has gone by. It isn't perfect, he ends up leashed for a bit at times, however he is doing much better at listening and coming when called.
What drives me nuts is when I have called him over and am restraining him, but other people don't bother to get control of their dog and then get mad at ME when their dog comes over and Doyle tries to jump and nip at them. I do my best to keep him away and move away in those situations, never saying anything or punishing him, but it really is getting to be annoying.
I leashed him once last sunday when a couple with their young lab were coming near. He was on leash with me WELL before we came on them. My other two dogs were loose, went over for a quick sniff hello and were done with it. The couple said she was submissive but friendly and when she darted to where we were standing and Doyle was trying to drag me closer, they were trying to say to give it a chance. Which quickly turned into them staring in horror at me because Doyle nipped her ear. Only THEN did they call her over and somehow I am the bad guy for having a puppy who is getting pushy out on the trails when I tried to keep him away.
The instant we are past the other dogs, he forgets them and just darts off after my other dogs. He's not really aggressive or that committed to things. He's just a brat.
Today a family with a giant Schnauzer didn't bother to get a hold of him when we got control of our dogs and moved to the side so they could pass us with plenty of space. I had both my shepherds in hand and Doyle managed to grab a chunk of fur before they called their dog fully away. Then when we were just standing near the cars and talking in the parking lot, I called Doyle over to leash him since I saw a man with a dog in his car pull up. The man just let his dog out, who came flying over being a boisterous pit bull thing, and Doyle instantly tried to target the dog. So I'm left with basically holding his front legs off of the ground and pivoting in a circle to keep him from getting engaged with the dog. It takes the guy awhile to get his dog in hand and he basically said that he never worried about that kind of thing because his dog is friendly.
I am so starting to hate that phrase.
I've gotten to telling my dogs to come off road no matter what we come across, outside of just people without bikes that are walking, since my dogs will just walk around them.
This was the end of the hike. We did 9.2 miles yesterday, probably around 6 today with one of the hikers with us (with her sweet little pudgy Westie) throwing sticks left and right toward the end so the dogs just kept running up and down the hills. My dogs are tired, I am tired. When Doyle couldn't see the dog, I was able to just get him to calm down, which lead to him sitting and then laying at my feet, only to have the dog come close again and back to square one. I went to my car after that, but it's just like UGH. I am hoping to get him to where he just ignores those dogs or sees them and comes looking for me rather than engage them. He has one doggie best friend. Doesn't need any others.
I know he is a twerp. I attempt to keep him from being a twerp. But some days, people just make it hard when they don't return the favor.