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When my dog DOESN'T react...

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So I took my dog-reactive dog Buddy to the park today. (Buddy's gotten much better, but is bad with dogs charging us, especially on leash. Since he's not 100% reliable, I generally leash him when we see an unknown dog. Which ups his tension, etc.. Vicious cycle.)


I was blessed to meet only dog-savvy dogs today - they all read his body language and responded correctly. What are the odds of that?!


Dog #1: Big fuzzy golden retriever mix. Approached, got in Buddy's face, Buddy snapped a bit. Dog immediately turned around and faced the other way, so Buddy could sniff his butt with no eye contact. Buddy immediately relaxed and became interested in meeting.


Dog #2: Little young boxer girl. Buddy hates boxers. This girl could see the body language, and approached in a very conciliatory posture.


Dog #3: Black mix - flat-coat or BC or...? Named "Grover." Came straight at Buddy, eye-to-eye, but stopped about 2 feet away when he saw Buddy's posture. Stood calmly and with a "cool but interested" posture. Buddy held tension for maybe 10 seconds, then relaxed and went into this "eager to meet" posture. Would have broken into a play date except we saw dog #4 coming down the hill...


Dog #4: Yellow lab pup - maybe 6 - 8 months. Seeing me carefully monitor Buddy with Grover, this owner leashed her pup and put her into a "sit," and gave commands and rewards while we passed. Dog showed almost no interest in charging us or meeting Buddy, despite his (her?) youth. Brava to the owner!


Dog #5: Young black lab. Charged toward us, saw Buddy's posture, and gave us a bit of a room. Did that "curving meet" thing, where he veered away and spiraled in slowly. With that, Buddy was anxious to go meet, but the owner (jogging in the snow!) took off before we could do it.


What a world it would be if every walk would let us meet such savvy dogs and owners! It gave me a happier view of my own dog, too - seeing him respond with interest to strange dogs if they only gave him a few minutes of feeling safe before they got into this personal space.


Now, another 6 - 8 inches by nighttime. I'm tired of winter already.



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Good job Mary and good for you Buddy!

Really, did you ever think you would become so connected to your dog, his body language, every other dog's body language and the behaviours of all other dog owners??! Its incredible how having a dog (esp a reactive one), paying attention to its actions, movements, etc. allows us to become much more in tune with every other living thing around us ... :rolleyes: I certainly could be considered a royal pain in the b*tt by others when I begin a conversation starting, "Is this your first dog? Have you used a crate? It's best to leash your dog several times briefly before you actually leash him to go home..." :D


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What a world it would be if every walk would let us meet such savvy dogs and owners!


One think that I do like about our local dog park is that the majority of dogs and people are relatively savvy. Certainly there are still the odd clueless owners and hopelessly ant-social dogs, but they get frozen out quite fast if they don't learn the norms and customs.


As for boxers, Buddy isn't alone is having issues. When certain intact male boxers enter, I see a lot of people make for the exit. It's partly a breed thing, but also the breed seems to attract owners who think it's cute for their boxer to harass other dogs.


Especially when it's been a struggle getting there, it feels good that you've made headway. Congrats to Buddy and to you for helping him.

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I don't want to start anything. So please don't take this the wrong way, but why are you taking your dog reactive dog to a dog park?


Not a dog park. A big, open park. 592 acres. It's in that rare local town that has no leash laws, so the owners take an opportunity to let their dogs run in the woods. We meet anywhere from zero to maybe twenty other walkers in an hour loop, depending on the time of day and weather. I always leash my dog, as I said, when we're about to meet a canine stranger, and it's never been a problem. Other owners are usually embarrassed if their (out of control) dog mobs my (controlled) dog, and will quickly get their dogs redirected.


Though, come to think of it, I used to go to a local deserted college campus that served as a de facto dog park. I knew all the dogs and owners there, though - so I could assess the situation and avoid contact if needed. (It was a very large place - easy to stay isolated if you wanted.) I actually think that in that particular case, the "dog parkness" of the place helped my dog, because he saw the same "pack" of dogs consistently. If a dog was difficult for Buddy at first, I could work with him on familiarizing him to that dog, until it went well. The college has since been reoccupied, and I do miss letting Buddy visit with his "pack."


Of course, that wasn't really a dog park, which to me sounds like a smallish fenced-in area with a very high doggie density. They keep talking about opening one of those in my town, and I know it won't be an appropriate place for my dog.



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