Newbie Here! Help a mama out?
Hello all! I am so grateful to have stumbled across this community!
My husband and I are the new, proud parents of 1-year old, 82 pound Riley. Riley is the perfect dog in SO many ways. He knows many basic obedience commands, is perfect in the house--no chewing or accidents or aggression. He is sweet, smart, goofy, and full of affection. He's my constant companion.
Riley came to us from a complicated situation where he belonged to a man with health issues who passed Riley on to his mother who already had 4 large dogs and a grandson she was raising. We were told by her that Riley is good with people, kids, and other dogs.
But Riley came to us with a bite wound on his neck from a golden retriever at his previous home and randomly charged after a golden doodle near our yard last week.
When we met Riley he was on a leash that was not being held. He ran up to us, barked, and calmed down after his handler shook our hands and began a game of fetch. He displayed no aggression or even real awareness of the other dogs hanging out 50 or so yards away at the public park we are at.
We've had Riley a month and have noticed leash reactivity to other dogs, the charging issue listed above, and also had an issue where while on lead he nipped at a neighbor's pants pocket. Granted the neighbor was over eager to pet Riley and I was very anxious at the moment, but still not appropriate.
We've been doing a ton of reading and think it largely comes down to new territorial instincts for Riley as well as him sensing our anxiety as to how he'll behave in situations with new people or animals. His previous Mom just let him go and we hold him tight on the leash because we just don't trust him--especially since the nipping incident. Nor do we think it's appropriate for an 82 pound animal to run up and bark at strangers like he did to us... we'd like to teach him a better approach.
So, I'm hoping one of you phenomenal, wise people can help a mama out:
Anyone have any idea where this behavior developed and how to best re-condition him?