Dinozzo is, even by Labrador standards, a very laid back puppy but today he acted completely out of character. Now I accept he's still a puppy and his personality is in a state of flux but this was just so unllike him.
We'd been in the park for some time and I'd been talking to a lady with a King Charles. Dinozzo was fine with both the lady and the dog. I took him off to play with his ball and she took her dog off for a walk round the park. All went well until she came back and Dinozzo barked at her - not just a friendly, playful bark but a hackles raised barking.
I put him back on his lead and went to talk to her again. She said initially she didn't think he was looking at her, she though something else had freaked him out - maybe in the trees behind her.
I took him home and returned a couple of hours later so he could get his 'running around' exercise and he seemed fine.
Anyone any ideas?
there are too many unknowns here to adaquately guess what set him off. Do you know what her body language was? was she looking at him? Did she have something in her hands or moving them? Was she walking directly towards him?
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
All she had in her hand ws her dog's lead. She'd turned to see where her dog was and so was looking at him which I suppose he could have interpreted as a challenge, but we'd spent quite some time in her company. She didn't seem unduly upset by it, I apologised and he was fine with her at that point (trying to get the treats out of her pocket - no, he didn't get one.)
The reason I was so concerned is that I was planning to have him assessed for his suitablility as a Therapy dog, but I'll give it a bit longer see how he reacts in future.
how old is he now?
the notice different things at different times
my best therapy dog to date went through a phase of having a MELT down at construction equipment .. if there were people around the equipment his meltdown included them
he outgrew it
build good associations with strangers - my dogs think people are either treat dispensers or to be ignored depending on context
don't overthink this too much
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
He was 9 months old yesterday (2 May) which is the earliest they'll consider assessing them.
He's fine with construction equipment...but birds are a different matter - and I guess it isn't unreasonable to assume it could have been birds - they do sit in trees.
Thanks for helping me out this into perspective.
I wouldn't let one incident make you believe he will not be a good therapy dog. it could have been anything really. Just keep socializing him and introducing new sites/sounds/shapes. Include walkers, crtuches, wheelchairs as well, and depending on where you do therapy, people talking loudly/strangely and walking crooked (small things make a big difference to dogs!).
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Thanks again for taking the time to reply - I'll bear it all in mind. I'll try walking him in town, he isn't allowed in any of the shops but I can take him in the main street.
We are interested in pursuing therapy training for Chester. We have been taking him places since we first got him, to try and expose him to as many new situations as possible. We take long walks along the riverfront in downtown, and have encountered everything from bicycles, skateboards, drunks, other dogs, and even a pirate ship. Nothing has fazed him yet, the clanking of the lines on the sailboats, the gulls and other birds swooping and crying. We have taken him to the Farmer's market, sat outside Whole Foods and ate a snack while people walked by with shopping carts, we take him to pet stores and feed stores, where he can go inside and sniff the shelves. He has been just wonderful, calm, curious but not skiddish, he lays at our feet if we stop to sit, he sits before crossing roads or when we stop to look at scenery.
We met a CGC certifier at the Farmer's Market and her dogs, two yellow labs and a Golden/Lab cross. She took Chester and walked with him and told us he was very advanced for his age and would do well in the classes. We are scheduled to start class next week. Chester will be 5 months old this Friday.
I think taking Dinozzo (love that name!) places and exposing him to different situations will be a tremendous help. Good luck, I hope he makes it!
I was watching an episode of 'The Dog Whisperer' and a dog showed the same behaviour as Dinozzo. Cesar said the 'bark' was an uncertain and afraid bark...it was the exact same pitch and rate of barks as Dinozzo. So he wasn't threatening anyone - he was afraid. I think I'll contact PAT and see what they can suggest to train Dozi to get him to the standards they need - he's so laid back and (like all Labs) adores people...his speciality is people who are scared of dogs. He will sit there and let them pet him without reacting till they are ready. And of course there's the fact that he has helped me get through the chronic depression that has affected me almost all my adult life...not a single antidepressant since he joined the familyl
Another thought: puppies go through a couple of "fear" stages when they may react fearfully to things they have been fine with before. Praise/treats for desired reactions and time will probably take care of it. Agree with Brody: don't overthink it.
Bayou Bay's Jeb's Trouble Too, RN, CGC