My dog Ace and I were out for a stroll and we saw a woman approaching with what looked like a red-colored Lab puppy – five months old or so. The pup was already wild and strong, probably 45 pounds. And as we approached them on a narrow sidewalk the woman could not prevent her dog from pulling up to us.
This sort of thing happens to Ace and I all the time. It’s not a big deal. Most of the dogs are friendly, and so is Ace.
So although the woman had been trying to reel her dog in, she ended up saying something like “OK, say hi.” I’m sure she could tell Ace seemed friendly, but of course it’s still best to ask.
So this young pup got on its hind legs and threw itself at my dog’s face with so much energy and excitement. I should’ve done something to intervene, but it was one of those situations where I just tried to keep moving with my dog and get by the woman as quickly as I could.
Anyway, in the two seconds or so that our dogs were touching I saw my dog was very uncomfortable and he had his lips curled and his hackles were up. I used my body to get between the dogs and kind of bumped my dog out of the way and we continued on. Perhaps I should’ve let him tell the puppy off, since no one else was going to.
The reason this situation was significant is because I kept thinking about that puppy and all the behavioral problems he’s likely going to have. If he’s already triggering negative reactions from the mellowest dogs, I can just imagine what happens when he walks by and jumps at even mildly reactive dogs. It causes a chain reaction, I’m sure. The pup does not seem at all aggressive, but he’s obviously very forward and determined. I hope he doesn’t develop some serious barrier frustration and leash aggression. I hope some poor dog like Ace doesn’t get blamed for growling at the puppy and throwing him to the ground – “Do not like!”
We’ve all had those moments where our dogs are totally out of control (at least I have). Maybe that’s all that was happening in this situation. I hope the woman normally uses some sort of training collar instead of the flat, buckle collar I saw. I hope she’s committed to training her dog and getting some help if she needs it. I hope the pup maintains he’s friendliness even when he’s set up to fail.