We Don’t Always Have To Like Everyone
Sometimes in life there are people that just get under your skin, push your buttons and plain old make you mad. We try our best to avoid these people, and when we can’t we try really hard to keep our cool and diffuse any tension, we avert eye contact, try to ignore their goading and bite our tongue (really hard sometimes) but often it just becomes too much and you want to yell “SHUT UP”. Well, canines are no different. They have personalities that run the gamut from goofy to serious to crabby to shy and everything in between, so suffice it to say there are dogs that know how to push other dogs buttons!
So what do you do when you have a friend that has a dog that just pushes your dog over the edge? I have two clients in just such a situation. When I observe these two puppies (that came from the same breeder, different litters, at the same time) I can see such vast differences in their personality that I am 99% sure most of it is their nature. That is not to say that positive and consistent dog training can’t make them tolerate and even learn better communication, in fact I believe it can, that is where the nurture comes in. I do think however that their interactions will likely always need to be monitored and supervised to avoid the squabbles they seem to regularly and easily get into. One is the antagonizer and the other is the reactor, however once it escalates neither one wants to be the one to back down.
So what kind of dog training would be beneficial for these pups? In my opinion the first thing they need is a great amount of self-control. They need to learn to relax and have more relaxed interactions. I have been instructing both owners to work on calming sits; basically mandatory relaxation and body handling. It helps settle and ground the puppy when they just lose their marbles. The next will be rewarding
self-interruption behaviors as well as calm interaction behaviors. The owners will also have to increase mental and physical stimulation as well! These are high energy dogs with quick triggers, this process will be slow and on-going but they are both super smart and pick things up easily, they’ll get it.
So just remember your wicked good dog doesn’t always have to like every dog and you should be understanding and willing to give him the tools he needs to deal with those pesky antagonizers, as well as help him make a clean get away when it’s needed!