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Old 02-24-2013, 12:16 PM
Zhucca's Avatar
Zhucca Zhucca is offline
Lab Love
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 1,177
Default Dog reactivity

Hopefully I'll be able to explain what exactly the issue is. His behavior is highly variable some days.

When Duke was younger he was a typical lab puppy. He wanted to play with every dog he saw and wasn't really polite about it. He was hyper active and rambunctious. He grew up in a dog daycare (14wks - 17mos). He's very much used to other dogs, he's met TONS of other dogs, especially as a puppy. When I got him when he was 7 months old, he got a lot more exercise. He started to play less and less with other dogs, mostly preferring his friends. I assume it came with maturity and that the novelty of daycare wore off. So when I quit working at the daycare, he spends his days with his BFF Boomer, and my friend Dean. I take him to the dog park pretty much every day after work with Boom, and he's becoming... ornery.

He doesn't often approach the other dogs, and when other dogs approach him he'll either ignore them, or go stiff. If he does freeze, he has his head down low, and 7 times out of 10 he'll raise his hackles slightly; his tail is never raised an high, but just hangs. Sometimes this reaction is warranted, when other dogs body slam into him. Most of the time it won't escalate past him going stiff (even if I don't like that very much) So I just watch closely, most dogs get the hint and leave him be. Sometimes, however, he'll pull his commisures forward and will growl if the dog hasn't left in a "timely" manner in his mind. I will intervene then and call him to me, but he will sometimes snap at other dogs when they follow him. He's never made contact, and doesn't escalate past that. I think it's an overreaction and I really don't like DR. I feel like we're traveling on a downward slope here and I wonder what the solution is to this. At home he's fine with other dogs. He still largely prefers to be left alone to snooze, but he doesn't display the same behaviors. He's a normal, but rather indifferent.

Do I stop going to dog parks? Our dog parks aren't the same as some of the ones in the US - they're quite large areas and not just a fenced in acre or so. It's not often he's bombarded by other dogs, we come across others intermittently. How do I start to train him out of the DR? It would be really hard to stop going still it's such just offleash exercise for both of the dogs. On leash he's fine. I don't let him meet dogs on leash, but when we pass others he's never shown any leash reactivity.

Anyways, any advice chazzers could offer would be great. I'd almost prefer him to be rambunctious and over-friendly again than deal with DR. I'm sure this stems from some sort of insecurity. Thanks in advance!

Duke - 3yr old Labrador Retriever
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