Last Wednesday Layla and I went to a CGC class. It was mostly good. Layla did most things alright. She totally failed though when the instructor approached to pet. She lunged forward. I was so embarrassed. I then thought about it. When Layla is around strangers and she is off leash she is fine. If people want to pet her she is totally cool and all four feet stay on the ground. If people don't want to pet her she leaves them alone. When she is on leash for a walk I don't let people pet her and I step in front of Layla if people don't understand "No". After thinking about it, I figured out she needed lots of practice meeting people on a leash. Here is where the faith in humanity comes in. I went around town asking total strangers to pet my dogs. I so far have asked around thirty people in two days. The results are:
- No lunges
- Two skittish reactions. One was a drunk guy running up to her and another guys..not sure, maybe it was the bike.
- 2 polite declines
- Around 28 people petted Layla. Around 14 of them I made their day.
- Around a third of them said they owned dogs and all of them said they also had to either work through this problem or they just left it at dogs are dogs
- After around 10 people petting her Layla seemed more annoyed about not walking than happy for the attention. :-D
I was totally expecting a massive number of people declining after I explained to them that I was working on Layla lunging. No one seemed to care! Only one person asked if they were going to get bit.
Another thought. Maybe Layla lunged because there were 15 excited dogs around her in a confined space that wound her up. I don't know how to work on that other than forcing her to sit when dogs approach her. I did that with one encounter and she did mostly good other than breaking her sit to go to a stand.
good for you on working through the problem and trying to identify the cause.
Harvey is on leash 99% of the time (due to his ED). He loves to be petted, but i always tell people to let him come to them, particularly if they are young kids. Sometimes, i think the sudden movement of a hand coming towards them can freak a dog, that was the case with our previous dog (but she was a rescue that had been abused).
I personally don't agree with forcing a dog to sit when other dogs around her are standing in an informal setting where one might approach her. It puts the dog at a disadvantage. (the exception to this would be if you were training to follow directions with distraction in a formal setting)
an example: I watched a guy at the vet one day imposing his will on his recently adopted, very soft, rescue herding mix dog by forcing her to lie down while he was standing in the middle of the waiting room near the desk with other dogs approaching her (all on leash). Rather than allow his dog to interact with the other dogs OR removing her from the situation - he forced her over and over to lie down. She was clearly uncomfortable being physically lower than the rest of the dogs surrounding her - but he did not pick up on it - all he cared about was the fact that his dog kept breaking the down and standing up. He got quite agitated with her. She looked like she was about to pass out by the time they finally left.
Not saying that you would be so insensitive - but it's important to consider the dog and it's environment when we ask them to do things.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
Yeah, I don't really care if Layla sits or stands when people great her. I figured for the test I was going to try to make it simple for her (and me) by encouraging her to be still (as in sit) when people approach and pet her. Layla isn't a dog that cares about rank all that much. With people she wants attention. With dogs she wants to run around with them. She matches the energy of the other dog for the most part. If the dog that is approaching is calm she is generally pretty calm. I can cross paths with people walking dogs with calm dogs. I can even cross paths with agitated dogs. What Layla has issues with is staying put around an agitated dog. When out and about this isn't a problem because why in the world would I want to be around an agitated dog? I leave and the problem is solved. For this test I think she needs to be solid even around agitated dogs.
I like to think that I consider the dog and it's environment. Layla's issues are excitement I think in certain scenarios. I think she is a pretty confident dog. If she was skittish or aggressive then my time working with her would be on working on those issues first.