Thursday, October 1, 2009

On dogs meeting each other

I am leaning toward keeping Roxy, but in the mean time, thought I would jot down a few thoughts on dogs meeting each other. Keep in mind that I am no dog expert, and I could be wrong - I welcome rational, polite comments.
Roxy is generally playful, and plays rough, according to the doggy daycare folks. But she usually gets along great with dogs of her size or bigger; they keep her away from small dogs as she has a tendency to chase them.
The last few days she has not been at day care everyday, because I am trying to reduce her time there (gets too expensive; see my previous blog post.) I did leave her at another daycare for a couple hours on Tuesday. My being sick means I don't run with her either - just long (30-45 minute) walks. The cold weather also means there are fewer dogs around the nearby lakes, and I don't let her off-leash because if she runs off (as she has done earlier), it's too cold and I am too sick to chase her around.
So today, on an afternoon walk, there were a few other dogs. The first was a German Shepherd, also on a leash (in the on-leash section). Roxy was excited to meet another dog, but the German Shepherd remained calm. Both dogs sniffed each other, and moved on.
The second "meeting" was in the off-leash lake, with a pair of black, furry, big dogs (not sure which breed). They were off-leash; Roxy was on-leash. Roxy tried to play with them, as they were chasing a ball thrown by their owner. One dog reacted badly - growling and baring his teeth. Removed Roxy from the scene, and walked on.
Circling the lake in opposite directions, we ran into the black dogs again. Knowing the earlier meeting, I kept Roxy on-leash, though I was tempted to let her off earlier (this was a section of the lake with good fencing.) Unfortunately, too close - Roxy again tried to approach one of the dogs, maybe the same dog. Same reaction. Roxy starts growling as well.
Second owner says: "Why do let him go at him if you know that's going to happen?" Slight back-and-forth, as I defend Roxy, but she isn't helping my case by trying to free herself of her new "easy walk harness", jumping and rolling on the ground.

Here's my take. In an off-leash park, dogs will approach each other. In an ideal world, each dog will be polite and walk quietly. But this is the real world, and Roxy's still a puppy (just over a year old). So she tries to play with every other dog, and doesn't always approach other dogs calmly; that is something I have to teach her.
If the other dog is mature, or well-socialized, the reaction is positive; as in the German Shepherd's case. If not - the black dog's reaction is what we get. So here's what I say: If your dog reacts badly to other dogs approaching him or her, then maybe your dog should not be off-leash, especially in an off-leash park.
Of course, one could say I should not take her to the off-leash park either; but at the least, I keep her on leash. And now on, I will keep her far away from unknown dogs, even if she fights me trying to get closer.

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