- 4 years ago
- Wedding: May 2013
Skip down to the next bold section if you don’t want to read the background information!
So FI and I recently (a few months ago) adopted a sweet, playful boxer-pitt-lab mix. He was found as a stray, and when we got him was housebroken (unclear whether this was accomplished in foster home or previously). So far it is going well, but I have never owned a dog, so I hope we are doing everything right!
His foster mom taught him “sit” and he lived with 3 other dogs without problems. He gets along with other dogs VERY well… he is quite submissive, it seems, but also playful and gentle. He has played with a puppy and let her “pin” him for fun. He seems to adjust how rough he plays for the dog he is with, for the most part. He is about 1.5 yrs old.
He is great with people, even kids, though he is still learning not to lunge or jump PLAYFULLY (he has never been aggressive in this way). When we got him, he liked to play bite at our arms, but we have trained that out of him at home. He still tends to try it with new people until he is corrected, out of excitement.
He rarely barks, and if he does it is usually when he is playing with other dogs and they start barking at something. Sometimes he will bark if he hears a new sound and doesn’t know where it is coming from.
He doesn’t get on the furniture, if he gets something in his mouth and is told to drop it, he listens. He lets us take toys, sticks, treats, etc. from his mouth. He sits until we place his food down and lets us pet him while he eats.
He has learned “lay down”, “stay”, “shake”, and “show me your tummy” (to get rubs). He is very treat motivated.
He has improved drastically on the leash, but still pulls sometimes when we pass people, lawnmowers, or other animals. Occasionally he will try to dart after a squirrel or a cat. He used to do this thing where he would lay down in the middle of the sidewalk when another dog approached. At first I thought he was being submissive, but then it seemed perhaps it was his way of getting me to stay there so he could meet the new dog, instead of leading him away. He is great at meeting dogs off a leash, but we have yet to teach him to have manners and not lunge (again, with playful, excited intent, not aggression) toward new people and dogs.
So far, my strategy is to stop and make him sit while the dog passes. Or, to keep walking (depending on how he is acting). If people approach, I try to make sure they do not pet him unless he obeys a sit command.
It REALLY annoys me when someone greets me, I make it clear I do not want to stop and let them meet my dog, and they come up and stop me anyway. My dog is very large (65 lbs) and it is difficult to manage him when they quickly come up while we are walking or stop suddenly and try to pet him. He gets WAY too excited to listen to me. I suppose I should keep treats with me for these situations… but we go for 4-5 walks a day since our yard is not fenced in yet, and he doesn’t need that many treats!
The only thing that worries me, is that he has growled at three people since we got him. All occasions, on a leash, on a walk. All occasions, he growled at “elderly” people. BUT he has met/passed many elderly people and does NOT always growl at old people!
1) Elderly man crossing the street with a cane, not even that close to us. Dog looked up and growled. I wondered if he had been hit with a cane before.
2) Older woman (50’s?) gardening by the edge of the road. Dog growled as we passsed immediately by her.
3) Older lady (60’s +) taking out her trash as we passed by her gate. She was behind the gate looking over, the dog pulled toward her first (he usually does when he sees people he wants to meet), she said hello, then the dog growled as we passed, still pulling toward her. We were ambused by a kid on a scooter a block later, and the dog was great with her. I even convinced the kid to not touch him unless he sat for her.
How should I react when this happens? Right now, i just tell him to “come on” and keep walking. If he is pulling, i correct him. I don’t know if he is scared, trying to be aggressive, or just surprised by a person suddenly in such close proximity. His body language does not seem to change.