Ray and puppy!

Ray is generally very good at meeting other dogs now. It does not seem that long ago when he was lunging and barking at anything that moved. He was occasionally tolerant of a dog that was very calm, but even that could not be relied upon.

After almost 3 years of working with him; picking the trainers’ brains at OMHS, and completion of a Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) program, we now have “Mr. Social” Ray! Of course we have not forgotten the aggressive, anti-social Ray, and those memories often “come to the surface” in certain situations.

Not too long ago we were out on a typical walk which we knew was likely to include “Say hello Ray!” (to one or two other dogs). He would duly “check out” the other dogs and then turn and look for his treat. At one point in the walk, we were being approached by a very small bundle of white canine curls on four legs. The puppy of course had no fear but, to me, it was a David and Goliath situation! Would Ray see anything more than a toy? It would certainly squeak if he grabbed it and shook it!

Cool nerves had to prevail, but then we watched in amazement as the puppy stood on its back legs to touch Ray’s nose. Ray lowered his head and the puppy started to grab him (across his nose) with its front paws. The two seemed to be quite at ease with each other. The puppy was just being affectionately silly and playful, and Ray seemed to be adopting the roll of “big brother”!

I was in awe as I watched him put up with the antics of that little puppy. There were no controlling actions on his part. He made no noise whatsoever. He just seemed to be very accommodating, and perhaps rather curious about the “little guy”! It was so nice to see both dogs, regardless of their size difference, enjoy each others’ company!

(You’re a very special “boy” Ray!)

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35 thoughts on “Ray and puppy!

  1. Two year old Tink doesn’t seem to want to fight – at least not yet, anyway 🙂 But he’s taking a while warming up to dogs, oddly. He seems to adore the attentions of *all* people, but barks his little head off at most dogs unless I have enough warning to anticipate his behavior, pick him up and hold my hand over his muzzle. THEN he gets rewarded for “quiet dog.” But I usually have to remove him from the situation to get him off high alert.

    Judging from his behavior when anyone passes *his* front door on their way up the central building stairs, I believe it is guarding behavior (my neighbors have commented that all is quiet when I’m away without him). We’re making progress on a warning bark (or several), then “Thank you — come here, quiet dog” — treat.

    He no longer barks at dogs behind fences if we are across the street, or dogs inside the houses we pass on our walks. But he goes nuts when dogs pass in front of his porch – on the sidewalk. That’s tougher to train — it seems likely that he has connected their walking on with his barking.

    Since he is tiny (10.5 lbs), I am more afraid of what the other dogs are likely to do in response to his barking than any harm he could do them — plus I want him to be welcome anywhere I take him. Maybe after three years? Good work with Ray.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Madelyn: The barking at dogs passing by is a tricky one because the passing dog simply reinforces the habit! i.e. Tink barks to make the other dog go away, and the dog walks on by. Tink does not realize that the other dog was on its walk and was just continuing. From Tink’s perspective, his barking worked!
      We had to get help with that one for Ray. A trainer watched him as another dog approached and quickly came up with a solution. We must treat Ray as soon as he sees another dog, but before he tenses up to bark (otherwise we would be reinforcing the bark!). The “window of opportunity” was very small in Ray’s case, but the trainer identified it easily for us. She observed that as soon as Ray saw another dog, he would turn his head very slightly towards us. That was the moment we wanted! She suggested that his slight head turn was simply to look at us for direction and, in the event of none, he was going to take care of the situation! With that knowledge, he quickly learned that dogs mean treats and all was well!

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    • Absolutely no plans in that direction! It is so easy to “humanize” him and think how much he would like another dog as a friend but, as trainers have consistently told us, he is very happy being totally spoiled and not having to share affections. He is naturally a very independent creature and does not “need” a friend as such. We also contemplated getting him a very self assured dog as a companion in the hope that his (Ray’s) separation anxiety could be resolved more easily however, professional opinions were against it. Their view was that while Ray may gain confidence from a more secure dog, there is a much greater chance that it would go “the other way”. The secure dog would wonder what Ray was going crazy about and eventually join him. We do not want two dogs with serious separation anxiety. The golden rule becomes “Never trust your human instincts. Always get professional opinions!”

      Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s so great to hear that Ray is becoming more and more socialized. It really is amazing how a creature so large and another so small still know they are the same, can relate one another, and that the smaller of the two is so trusting and fearless. I’ve seen this between Kali and Smokey. It’s a little different because they live together but none the less quite adorable when Smokey puts his two front paws on Kali’s snout to get her attention or just to give a few kisses. I’m glad for Ray and for you to have had this recent experience. If only us humans could be as adaptable as our furever friends!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Michael. As you and I both know, and as I have commented in numerous contexts, we really can learn so much from these “guys”. They may be pretty basic in their thinking, but they make a bit of a mockery of our superior (?) intellect!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I know exactly how you feel. When I first got Chance, my uncle insisted I get him together with his 2 Chihuahuas and Boston Terrier to run around at his agility course…I was all nerves, (these dogs are half the size of Chance’s stuffed animals, after all), but all went well and the tiniest dog actually let Chance know that he was on THEIR territory, yapping when Chance got too rowdy. It was pretty amusing to say the least. It’s always a prideful moment when your dog is socializing well, especially when you’re worried about how things will go.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I can understand you being lost in the moment.. But this is one of those moments to be treasured forever.. Even though I would have loved a capture of the playing dogs, I’m satisfied with the vivid descriptions and your preserving of the moment with words.. 😀

    It is a pleasure to see young ones playing grown up to tiny toddlers.. That is what I got reminded of Ray.. Friendly pats to you big boy.. 😀 You are becoming awesome than what you are.. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It’s lovely to see this kind of thing isn’t it. These days Maggie is tolerant on a 50/50 basis, as she can’t cope with fast or sudden movements, but let her make the first move on her own terms, and she’s usually OK. Saying that, Tuppy is always charging up at her, and she doesn’t mind that at all!

    Liked by 2 people

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