15 Sep On The Ball
I’m a ball specialist. For real. With Tyson or Riley as my sidekick I can tell you which dog has balls, which dog has balls that have started to descend and which dog had balls recently removed. For the benefit of the dogs I walk, and their success, I’m 100% committed to the identification of testicles. When I embarked on this dog walking, dog training, dog ownership path many moons ago, I would have never thought how a couple of balls would have such an impact on my job. But this conundrum of neutered vs un-neutered has really been an eye-opening experience. Both Tyson (my own dog) and Riley, a dog I walk, are extremely uncomfortable in the presence of unfixed males. There are a few other dogs I know in my neighbourhood that have similar issues. It’s interesting that most owners won’t pick up on it either. They can’t figure out why their dog aggresses at certain puppies/dogs. They have not yet recognized the pattern.
If your dog is aggressing at puppies or unfixed males here are some things you can do.
1. Put your dog on a gentle leader/ haltie
2. With really good treats, try introducing him to other dogs at a distance. We don’t want the unfixed male coming and jumping on your dog so ask the owner to put his leash back on and then you can safely walk them by each other. Before your dog has a chance to react, click and treat. You are telling your dog two things: Good dog for tolerating this guy and the presence of an unfixed male is not so bad because you get yummy food rewards.
3. Continue to do this until you can move closer together.
4. Are they fine together? Is your dog ignoring the other dog? In Tyson’s case once we are past the greeting stage he is usually fine. Unless the puppy comes charging at him or tries to jump on him. Tyson always wears his leash so I can pick it up in an instant. I always keep him far away from the puppy. I don’t expect him to be best friends but he is not allowed to run over to him. If/when we pass the puppy again, I call Tyson to me, pick up his leash and reward. My goal of the training is that when Tyson sees an unfixed mail he will immediately come to me to get a treat.
5. Be prepared for challenges. It’s your job to always make your dog feel safe and comfortable. If the puppy is coming over ‘to say hi’ I quickly move into body blocking mode. My goal is to keep the puppy behind me, while I keep my dog in front of me until I we can make an escape. You can also drop a treat to distract the puppy while you quickly walk away with your dog.
This is a hard one but if you keep practicing you will definitely see results. Of course a dog that is reactive can never be fully trusted. I understand that whenever I take Tyson or Riley out, I will always have to be on the ball.