My Dog Is A Reactive Dog #2

My last post was quite long and wordy, so this one will be a bit shorter (maybe!)

As you know, Trevor can be quite reactive around other dogs. I 99.99999% trust him around ALL small dogs now. even ones that run! He doesn’t really interact with them. A standard interaction between Trevor and anything his size or smaller is;

  • Sniff noses
  • Sniff bums
  • Run around on his own
  • Run around with other dog
  • Sniff bums

He doesn’t really instigate play that much at all. So small dogs, sorted. We can deal with those. Small dogs are no problem. For a while, big dogs were a bit scary! They would get a snap on the nose if they got too close. Now, as long as the big dog doesn’t bounce, Trevor will follow the same routine as he does with small dogs. Great! So what do I do about bouncy dogs? Keeping him on lead results in him getting frustrated as he lunges at any big dogs that run past or at him. On Sunday I took him on a walk with my friend Rachel and her dog Jake. Jake also came from Friends of the Dogs, Wales at Cardiff Dogs Home at the same time as Trevor did, they attended their Bronze training with Cardiff Canine Citizens together and always HATED each other. They had to sit on opposite sides of the room and even then if they made eye contact they would bark at each other and snap and lunge and all those bad things. Myself and Rachel had an ongoing joke that we had never been closer than 10 feet apart because of our dogs and always held our conversations in a shouty, long distance kind of way.

I took the bus down to Dinas Powys and met Jake, Rachel and her daughter Ciara. I was feeling confident because of Trevors recent good record with dogs, and when they saw each other Jake immediately barked at Trevor, who surprisingly just ignored him. We didn’t stop for long, not wanting to give them chance to eat each other, and we just took them off at a quick pace towards the fields/forests that awaited us! They walked side by side quite well and were very well behaved which was amazing considering Jake’s recently been housebound because of a bout of Kennel Cough. Problem number one happened when I let Trevor off his lead. He bumbled off across the field to do his thing and we let Jake off too. Jake barrelled towards Trevor who immediately reverted to his reactive ways and they had a little scuffle. No problem, leads back on, calm dogs down, try again. The next time they ignored each other and were actually running side by side and being quite relaxed around each other. I think what happened was Trevor told Jake off for being too bouncy and it got out of hand.

The REALLY interesting interactions happened later. We would have about 45 minutes of playing/running before one of them got too boisterous and they had a little fight (no real contact, it appeared to be mostly noise) and here comes the shocker… we were able to call them off each other VERBALLY! I would yell at Trevor who would run to me, I’d make him sit, calm him down, give him some treats and send him on his way, by which point both of their energy levels had dropped and they were fine again. Two very reactive dogs, with a history of disliking each other, running off lead together like best friends!

In this video Rachel is trying to wash some poo off Jake. The two dogs went out of sight and we found them in a field, Trevor eating poo and Jake rolling in poo! I am not sure which is worse…

Supposedly since then, Jake has been a million times better with other dogs too and he has improved tenfold since our walk on Sunday, no longer leaping on other dogs or getting too boisterous. I really think that sometimes, there are things you can’t teach your dog and they have to learn it from other dogs. I don’t know how Trevor has learnt off Jake yet as he didn’t have a walk yesterday (he only has little legs and was still tired from the 26 mile mammoth weekend of walks!) We will find out on Wednesday evening when the South Wales Dog Walking Club go to Penarth barrage for our weekly walk.

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