Small Step For Me . . .
HUGE step for Jack Jack! I hope this brag isn’t premature, but Jack Jack has had an excellent week, in terms of other dog encounters. Jack Jack is a sensitive kind of guy. So sensitive that the idea of coming face to face with another dog scares the dickens out of him. Normally he gets very reactive – barking (sounds almost like a shriek), lunging and hackles raised to the sky. We’ve been working diligently on this for months, with little apparent progress. We’ve taken to walking along the fence outside of the dog park, to avoid these stressful (for both of us) encounters.
Tonight after supper I took Grace and Jack Jack for a walk. I don’t know why, but I decided to walk through the dog part, with the dogs off leash. The few people (maybe a dozen) with dogs that were there were clustered on the other side of the park. Immediately Grace and Jack Jack took off running towards the group of people and dogs, so I called Jack Jack back. He turned on a dime and came towards me (MEGA praise!). We walked about halfway through the park, past a big stand of trees, so he couldn’t see the gathering. Once we got past the trees, I noticed that a dog was closer to us (had crossed roughly half the distance) and Jack Jack saw the dog once I did. He peeled away at top speed.
This was the moment of truth. I called him. He stopped and looked over his shoulder at me. I could literally see the wheels turning in his head, weighing his options. I called again, in a happy voice, and he turned and came to me. He didn’t bark, jump or react to the other dog at all, even though he got within about five to six feet of it. WOW! WOW! WOW! This is huge for him!
Earlier this week I was walking Jack Jack (left Grace at home) and we went around one of the outdoor ice rinks. I didn’t see the lady walking her two small white dogs until we were almost face to face with them (well, about five or six feet apart). I started talking to Jack Jack to keep his attention, and he walked with me past that lady with her dogs without acting out at all. I was thrilled with that! It’s a big step forward for my little dude.
I sure hope this is the beginning of an upward trend. He’s such a sweet dog, and I think he’d be more fun to walk without the reactions and freaking out.