It’s hard to say when it happened, let alone guess at exactly what happened (well, maybe all the training and canine psychology and treats and practice and dog trials are paying off), and impossible to take a picture of it, but for the last little while Chico has been much more civilized with strange dogs.
It may have been happening for a while, but I noticed it this week,
On Tuesday, I went for a ride with Sally, and we ran into MJ, the aged Labrador Retriever-cross that lives at a nearby horse farm. She and Chico gave each other a sniff, and each went about their own business, even though MJ decided to join up with us and enjoy our ride. Chico was perfectly happy to let her come along. That’s it. No drama.
Later, at the Lyceum, Chico met Tick, who was about the size and shape of a Beagle, but reddish colored like a hound, and they sniffed each other and wagged their tails and got along. That’s it. No drama.*
Then, on Thursday, I took the car for an oil change, and we passed the time by taking a walk around the neighborhood. Chico was off leash, sniffing in yards and staying with me, when the resident dog barked at him for being on her lawn. Chico didn’t rise to the occasion. He didn’t say a word. He didn’t go to investigate. He instantly turned a sharp right, away from the dog and right towards me. That’s it. No drama.
Later in the same walk, there was a medium sized dog chained in a yard. I saw it first and called Chico to me. He saw the other dog, but was willing to walk along right next to me, ignoring the other dog’s posturing and threatening growls. That’s it. No drama.
These are all things that came as happy surprises to me. It’s what we’ve been working towards for so long, and now it seems like it’s happening. None of the other dogs were larger than Chico, a known trigger for unreasonable behavior on his part, so I’m not saying he’s “cured of dog aggression” but my, my, my, things are looking up!
*Though Tick’s person was interesting. His belief is that (I’m paraphrasing here, but this is what I got from his explanation of why Tick doesn’t do any tricks – like sit on request): dog tricks use food to bribe the dog to do stupid things for the pleasure of humans, thus perpetuating the male-dominated, capitalist, paradigm which places humans as superior to other animals. Or something close to that.