I figured I could update a bit on how my 9 month old has been doing since he started to pick on other dogs that we came across. I thought that I had things under control, and it led to a costly mistake. It wasn't really serious, but it was a lesson learned on my part. I needed to really up the consequences of his actions and be drastically more cautious than I had thought I was being. If it was just me with my dogs, he was easier to control, but that day he had a few friends charging along with him.
Since that time though, he has definitely improved for the better.
For lack of a better way of putting it, his behind has been put on the cross for signs of aggression toward other dogs. If he goes to snap at a dog who is walking by, I have been making it very clear that behavior is unacceptable and it seems to be helping. He is rewarded for standing or sitting next to me and just watching the dog go past. I have worked on getting his recall better than before, and while he has been coming on hikes with me, he spends the first portion of the hike if we are with a group on leash. Once he has been around a group of dogs for awhile, he ends up ignoring them and I haven't really had any trouble. He comes away when called and if a dog is aggressive toward him, he tends to back off - though in some situations he ends up being a bit standoffish, but it is quick to snap him out of.
Once the dog is past us, it doesn't matter. He has been walking the last few times on the Greenbelt - local paved pathway that follows the river through the city - really well. He ignores dogs that we come across, we can follow near other dogs without him reacting. It has been something that we have been working toward. He will watch them, but otherwise he doesn't tend to react. Tonight he was walking next to a dog he had been rude toward previously without any trouble. He only sniffed her occasionally and otherwise just walked next to her with no trouble. We even had a loose dog come up behind us and he just looked around me at it, but turned and started walking without incident.
I know people will have things to say about what happened and the fact that when I was helping at our local PetExpo, I did bring him with me. He charged at one lab early on, but after that, I had no troubles with him at all. My golden was off leash the whole time (he's 100% safe with everything and well trained) and I found that if I sat on the edge of the ambulance, they just laid down near my feet and relaxed. I also had a lot of Zukes bribes to reward good behavior with.
Best too was last sunday at the black dog walk. I had all three of my dogs with me (I have a system for walking them), and he wasn't reacting to the other dogs really at all. He was watching or he would slip closer to me. But no incidents and even children running around with captain america shields didn't bother any of them. :) I definitely am not going to back down on the rules yet since he's smack in the midst of the brat phase, but I figured that I could share the update and see if others had any suggestions.
Only thing that has me stumped is how to get him to ignore other dogs walking past the kennel at my work. I resorted to borrowing an e-collar one day, then borrowing a bark collar, in addition to the continued work we are doing outside of work. Its harder to reinforce there when I'm not around and if I am, he won't try anything. He does listen when my co-workers say something, but I am hoping to have him just ignore the other patients, no matter what. Its been hit and miss, but he's getting better.
And for fun, here's a few newer pictures of the dweeb. :)
Yes those teenage years are interesting to say the least! Just gotta hang in there for another couple of years then all should be nice and relaxed!!!
I always find dogs that walk together bond together quickly, something about moving forward that relaxes them.
It is what keeps things on the hikes from ending up in fights like you would see at a dog park. The issues come when we are all paused and they start getting antsy or a little too curious about the others. Nothing usually happens, but there can be some grumbles and posturing.
He did really well out today with a new dog in the group who is also not exactly the best at making new friends. He got off the leash earlier than usual since he was behaving. Didn't make me regret it either. We only came across really one person with some dogs who I caught when Doyle was sniffing at her black lab, but when I called he came running over right away. So that was nice. And while he wasn't a fan of the newer dog, Ziggy, he was appropriate when telling him to stay away when he got too close. I called him over again and he just sat at my side (all nice and soaked since it was raining for half our hike today lol).
So its slow progress but it seems to be working okay. He's fairly mellow for a puppy, very calm and observant. He is starting to pay better attention when we're on the leash too. Not perfect but progress is progress!
He seems to be doing better at my work now. I haven't heard him going off as much (but there's a few other dog aggressive dogs around the last few days) and others report he is doing better. Or at least quickly gets quiet when scolded lol.
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