This post is part of a WOOF Support bloghop!
Here’s a little more of my story from my owners point of view, http://thedailybutters.com/?p=530
What is it like to walk in my paws? These days it’s pretty darn easy, 99.9% of the time. Ok well actually for me it’s always been easy, but the folks on the other end of the leash they would like to say I have not always been so good at it. So we have come to some agreements. First, we have agreed if I sit quietly and politely while looking at her when she asks me to, I will get lots of wonderful tasty treats, so long as I ignore the dogs I wish to demand take their business elsewhere. The .1% of the time this falls apart is when a loose uninvited dog comes rushing up into my face, my face, uh hello, I am Butters, you may NOT rush up into my face uninvited, I will smash you. I have learned to temper my impulses and try my best to hold it together, but sometimes, well sometimes I really need to let those dogs know they have come barking up the wrong tree.
You see, my particular type of *reactivity* they tell me it’s called, is not the fearful anxiety based issue that many dogs face, I became this way because I do not like to share. What’s mine is mine, and I grew tired of having other dogs jumping all over me and my Lady leash handler, holder of the tasty goods, when we went out for walks. For a very long time I suggested politely that these dogs leave me and my stuff alone, but being a Golden Retriever everyone just assumed I wanted to meet them, their dog, their cousins, their cousins dogs. And while I am all packaged up like a fluffy I want to meet you, your dog, all your cousins and your cousins dogs, golden retriever the fact is I don’t. You are fine, just leave the dogs who might want to eat my goodies out of this, I don’t want to know them. So having failed to politely suggest to all of these dogs to leave us alone, I found roaring in their faces made their owners promptly whisk them away. I have a big roar, it works rather well at getting other dogs to get away from my stuff.
The leash lady and I have also agreed that since I already have my canine friends and family that I can trust won’t steal my goodies to socialize with, I really don’t need to spend a lot of time getting to know other dogs. I’ve learned to leave it up to the leash lady to inform folks to keep their dogs out of my face and if I wait patiently while she does so I get even more tasty treats! Have I mentioned I like tasty treats? And man I tell you, she is VERY good at dishing those suckers out in a timely manner that makes it very worth my while to watch her closely!
I’m not gonna lie, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine rainbows. I had so much to learn, it’s not easy to concentrate on the leash Lady when another dog is shouting in my ear. It was not easy for her to change my mind about assuming all dogs anywhere at anytime needed to be warned with a roar that I am not to be mucked with. We spent many months and to this day continue to learn and practice fun things like sit stays, walking politely on a loose leash (man she walks slow, so this is not always easy to do), laying down and staying, walking by things and not looking at them, all these things she insist I know, which I am happy to oblige because she is very generous and fun to learn things from.
And since food and resources are so very important to me, I had to learn how to control myself around the tasty things I adore so much. Here is a little more about that: http://thedailybutters.com/resource-guarder-resource-sharer/
I’m also not going to lie and say I am perfect. I still sometimes forget and let a few roars fly. I still have my limits and if a dog is pushy and all up in my business, I do have something to say about it. But I quickly regain my composure and am able to let it go and move on. I am a much happier dog now that my leash lady has learned how to relax and not be so worried about what might go wrong, and instead just tells me what I should focus on in exchange for happy smiles and tasty goodies. I am happier now that I understand more of the things she is telling me and she is happier now that I do more of these things instead of roaring. So to all my reactive friends out there, keep working hard, it can get better!
Thank you for joining Butters, this is a Bloghop for WOOF SUPORT GROUP