It took Ray about 2 years to accept the fact that people were not threatening. In fact he seemed to accept the idea that people were actually friendly, and were often very drawn to him.
It took him about another year to progress from accepting human attention, to actually inviting it. Of course treats were heavily involved to start with, and are still close at hand if needed, but it is fascinating to watch him now when we take him downtown.
Ray’s attention to other people (especially females***) has been very noticeable. When we are in close proximity to others, we only have to watch his nose to see that he is checking out another shopping bag, or purse, or a pocket. He generally does not touch the other person although his nose often gets very close, and this has been the pattern for quite sometime now. Things changed yesterday!
We were downtown and everywhere was a little busier than usual (for a Tuesday afternoon). We were not watching anything in particular, but just working our way around other shoppers, when a woman came towards us and moved over to our left (where Ray was) and proceeded passed us.
I always tend to watch Ray when somebody passes really close, just in case a sudden thoughtless move on their part startled Ray. He is extremely good in these general conditions, but clearly likes to know what is going on!
As the lady passed, I saw him raise his nose and turn his head in her direction. This was not unusual. What was unusual however, was the fact that he then turned to follow her and pushed his nose into her jacket pocket! She obviously stopped and looked down to see what was happening, and clearly loved what she saw! She had treats in her pocket and so gave him one which made his whole exercise worthwhile!
“What did I do now? That lady liked me and gave me a treat!”
As we went our separate ways, Carol remembered that we had met that lady before, and Ray had met her dog! Did he remember her scent? Perhaps he picked up her dog’s scent? Perhaps it was just a very enticing scent of treats?
Now he knows that the direct approach works, we can look forward to future walks with considerable interest!
*** From the very beginning, and while Ray was wary of almost everybody, a woman/girl had a far greater chance of getting an acceptable reaction from him than a male. We assumed this was the result of the heavy female influence at the Humane Society, and/or perhaps he had a bad experience with a male in his earlier life.