15 May Reactivity Revisited
It’s 10:30 at night and the dogs need to go out again. Since I still don’t have a yard (more on that one day!) it’s time for a late walk. Our local park usually has a small gathering of dogs at this time of night. Tonight, everyone is hanging out with their dog and I want to be one of them instead of the antisocial girl that I usually appear to be as I keep Tys out of his zone of reacitivity with a new group of dogs. From a distance I can see all the dogs and I know Tyson has met all of them before and if we can just get past initial greetings he should be alright with them, so I go for it. Individually a few of them approach us. I do my best to reward Tyson any nice greetings or bum sniffing and then we get closer to the group. This yellow old lab named Hope approaches us and Tyson growls. He’s gotta be resource guarding his treats because he’s met her before and she’s very non-threatening. I couldn’t help but get frustrated at this point. It’s embarrassing to have a dog who exhibits this type of behaviour. At this point I dropped the leash and walked away. I didn’t want him to be rewarded by hanging out with me while he was exhibiting bad behaviour. I was busy feeling sorry for myself with my ‘difficult’ dog when suddenly a young boxer came tearing into the park right at us. Tyson noticed him way before me, turned and came to me to get rewarded. So what does all this mean? Training is working with the dogs that fit his reactive profile — he is controlling his impulses to aggress. But, I am failing at changing his mind that the presence of dogs is a good thing because he is worried that someone will get his treats. Eileen (supervisor of IADL) confirmed that when Tys was at daycare he did quite well with meeting new dogs SO this behaviour has a lot to do with me. I’ve been meaning to buy Jean Donaldson’s book MINE. I’m going to order it now. I hope she covers resource guarding of owner and treats.