On Saturday Judy O and Lori were introducing dogs. I hung around to watch. Sunshine was already out in a yard with them so they went off to see which dog would be a good match for her. For the most part we don’t bring dogs together for safety reasons. Not all dogs are friendly with other dogs and it’s a challenge to keep track of who is and who isn’t. So we keep them at a safe distance. But the experienced walkers do introductions for several reasons. We do initial dog tests just to help determine if a dog could possibly be adopted into a home with an existing dog. Or we might want a shy dog to earn some confidence through interacting with other dogs. Sometimes we are working with a dog to help her get over her reactivity to other dogs.
Duncan was one of the first dogs that came out to meet Sunshine. Duncan is a 12 year old boy that spent is life as a breeder. He and Sunshine did not get off to a good start so Lori and Judy O moved on to some other matches.
Nash worked out a little better. He’s a favorite at Homeward Bound mostly due to his cuteness and winning personality.
Nash and Sunshine seemed to be getting along so Judy O and Lori dropped the leashes they use during the initial phase of the introduction. After a few minutes they took the leashes off since there weren’t any squabbles between the two. Between Nash and Sunshine, I mean. Not between Lori and Judy O. Sunshine didn’t play but they did interact a little now and then. Both seemed more interested in the humans present.
It seems that Nash has never learned the ever popular “Sit!” command. Or he was just being stubborn. We worked on it with him but I have to admit that Lori got him to sit twice as many times as I did.
One of the things we humans have to do is stifle the urge to resolve every instance of canine conflict ourselves. It’s much, much better if dogs learn proper behavior from other dogs. The challenge is that most dogs have not been properly socialized so they never sufficiently learned dog etiquette. Or they might be a bit rusty about where the small fork goes.
Now this is a definite no-no … even for our friend Duncan (see above). Our first inclination is to rush in and pull the offending dog off the other one. The best result, however, is for the humpee to tell the humper that this is not okay. Which is what Sunshine did seconds after this shot was taken. The challenge for humans is that it sometimes sounds ugly when this happens. Dogs typically don’t want to harm other dogs but on occasion some knuckleheads need a stronger response to get the message. And Nash accepted his rebuke and stayed off Sunshine the rest of their time outside. Unless he snuck one in when I wasn’t looking.