Gussy is a 7-year old Papillion (not sure if pure). I got him at 4 months from life on a farm, where he had virtually no socialization – was just left to wonder outside with the other dogs. At the time, he was fearful of all people and dogs – including me. He is great with people now – I gave everyone we met a handful of treats to share with him. Most of his reactivity with dogs is on leash – like many others, but also off leash, depending on the situation and dog. If he knows the dog, he if fine. If he doesn’t, he may go after it. He can go to doggy daycare with absolutely no problem though. He also competes in agility and while I keep a close eye on him when other dogs he doesn’t know are near, he is pretty good. On walks however, he barks, howls, and lunges to get to dogs. He knows where the neighbourhood dogs are and begins reacting before I even see them – he can sense that they are outside, before we can see them and starts whining and pulling. The closer we get, the higher he elevates – adds in barking etc. When walking, I always cross the street as soon as I see another dog coming near. That distance is good, but you can still tell he is upset. It really does seem like a fear of unknown dogs. His attitude seems to be – I will eat you before you eat me. For years, I tried bombarding him with treats when another dog was too close, but it never really helped. The past 2 years, I’ve just done my best to avoid other dogs as much as possible while we are walking. The problem with that though is that now my young Cavalier (Kenna) is reacting to his reactions. When she and I walk alone, she is as calm as can be and easily walks by other dogs. When they are together though, she now goes crazy lunging and barking. Hers seems more happy though. Regardless, I really don’t want her taking on his bad habits and I’d really like to reduce Gussy’s (and my) stress.
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