Part of why Diana and I blog is to highlight the difficulties I have in interacting with other dogs and humans because of my lack of socialization before she adopted me. If the struggles I have and how I am working on improving help other dogs or their humans, then my incessant barking is doing its job.
I’m learning now to be a better canine citizen, but I may never “get there”. I don’t know how to relax or focus. I don’t know how to interact socially without barking. I prefer to interact with people, especially Diana and I don’t mingle all that well with other dogs at social events and especially not at chance encounters.
I love to go for walks. Love it! I jump and jump and grab my harness and leash and drag them to Diana each night until we hit the pavement. I’m alert, active, happy and so excited to go. Diana would love to walk us about a mile to an elementary school with a big play field. Lots of dogs go there and run up and down the field. I’ve been there twice – when no other dogs have been there. I run full out with my ears back, probably the happiest I’ve ever been. Usually though, we take shorter walks where it is quiet and I am less likely to encounter other dogs.
Diana would also love to take me to a small dog meet up in our city. It is a wonderful twice monthly event where the dogs visit an assisted living/nursing home specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease. There are about half-dozen dogs that go every month to visit, hang out for a couple of hours, score tons of treats, petting and visit with our older friends. It’s a win-win in our community and in their lives.
One of the requirements to attend is to behave while on leash. I can’t go. I bark and show aggression towards other dogs when I’m on the leash. The second you clip off the leash I’m friendly to everyone and everything and very generous with hugs and kisses.
As you know, I’ve worked with Jeff Tinsley, the owner of Sound Animals, here in Seattle. He has helped Diana and Michael learn to handle their anxiety and me in group situations, how to engage me in activities and learning situations to make things easier and generally is an awesome guy. I’ve made great progress - just not enough.
If anyone reading my blog has any advice for us on helping me overcome leash aggression (if possible), I welcome your positive thoughts and ideas.
Today I ask only one thing from everyone. If you are planning on getting a dog or have a dog – do the right thing. Socialize them early, often and well to help them become the best they can be.
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