Friday, July 28, 2006

Ga-ga for Other Dogs

For a good dog, Pappy does drive me crazy with one thing. It could be that he is young, it could be that he's a terrier, it could be that I am too nervous, but Pappy has a lunatic drive to engage every dog that he sees on a walk. From fifty feet the ears go up and he starts pulling towards the dog. At twenty feet I can no longer get his attention. At five feet, if he gets a chance to sniff with a calm dog, all is well. Otherwise, he's jumping, he's lunging, and-- no longer content to whine in frustration -- he's recently taken to barking and growling at strange dogs. I see so many dogs who can pass calmly, and I want me some of that.

He's good with other dogs at the off-leash dog park, so he's pretty well-socialized. The difference on-leash is that he's being restrained, and I am probably stressing him out. There are some interesting articles on about desensitizing dogs to other dogs, but I am still trying to do too many things at the same time. This morning Pappy had some success at staying calm while Taz, a sweet-but-barky mini schnauzer, passed by. But then Taz's owner stopped to chat and eventually the whole thing disintegrated into the typical conflagaration.

But it is always important to remember, as weird as your dog gets things could be so much worse.

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