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6,658 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This morning we had a run-in with a new dog in the neighborhood. It was my fault, luckily nothing happened but two surprised owners. The dogs romped for a bit, then we continued on our respective walks.

On our way home, however, Snowball (on leash) and I ran into a second dog (a Basset hound) on the relatively narrow trail leading from the field to the street where we live. Knowing that Snowball is always the worst when meeting the first dog of an outing, I decided to try walking past them to see whether Snowball would react. I guess I was feeling lucky. He got within 10 feet of the other dog, who was also on leash, and no sign of ANY reaction at all, other than he was pulling slightly on the leash to go meet the Basset hound. No growl, no barking, no super intense fixation... He responded to his name and we kept on walking home.

I really feel like there is something in his behaviour before/after meeting that first dog that I can take advantage of to work on Snowball's reactivity, but I am not sure exactly what, or how, or whether it would be possible. (It is improving anyway, but wouldn't it be better if it could improve faster? :))

1,625 Posts
Agree with you..
To me, nothing better than me the owner learning via observation from our dog's behaviour.
That is almost like a "pass/fail" tests for the time training put into our dogs.
Throght that observations... I also find that the dog learn also from how we owners react to the situation.

Love taking Roman on walks & hikes....
And that's part of the reasons why.

Add: Roman has gotten to the point of reading both dog's and human behaviour...
Then making that judgement to either approach or not.

First incident....
Neighbourhood walk and see a protective owner walking a small dog...
Roman read the situation... then breeze past without any interest nor attention paid to dog & owner both.
Just Coolly wizz past, no sniff nothing.

Second incident...
At the park... trail free roaming... encountered a mother w. 2 small children...
He waited for us to catch up not approaching the strangers...
I pipped Roman is friendly... lil girl 3 yes I think.. really wanted to pet Roman.
Mom took lil girls hands in hers and approached Roman (looking at me and mom)... I say good boy!
He then went forward to smell her hands, let both mom & girl pet him, gave a lick to lil girl, sniff the lil boy and then wizz past to catch up with dd.

Amazing what the dog can read from situations...
And as owners... those are moments we are proud of your dog's judgement.

543 Posts
What happened in the first incident? I think the fact that it ended on a positive note accounted for why Snowball did so well the second time. That is SUPER important IMO. Often people think avoiding the situation is the answer, but it's only part of it. I mean, a dog can't be allowed to practice reactivity, it's a self reinforcing behavior, but since Snowball warms up after an intial meeting I think you have a great opportunity there.
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