Foster Dog Zeke, One Week 

Zeke watching for daddy out the window

Zeke had been with us for a week last Friday. We decided to take him on a walk with our other dogs on the Hike and Bike Trail. Things started off well. He sat obediently at my feet on the floor of the car for the drive there. He waited patiently for me to attach his leash before getting out of the car. He pulled a little as we started our walk but nothing too bad, he was just excited. 

Then the “fun” started. As an approaching bicyclist passed us, Zeke lunged, barking fiercely and snarling. Luckily I have had another bicycle reactive dog so I intercepted him before harm was done. As we walked on I discovered that Zeke also had this same reaction to joggers as well as other oncoming walkers. We started getting dirty looks from others out enjoying the trail. Each time he reacted inappropriately I corrected him. Then I would call to the offended party “new foster dog” which seemed to appease them. I Increased the level of my corrections as needed. Finally I resorted to making Zeke sit each time someone went by. I never before encountered a dog that snarled and growled from a firmly held sit. 

Finally, after a time, his reactions lessened. I praised the daylights out of him for the briefest calmness. The calmness lasted for longer. By the time we were heading back to the car he was containing his response and I was praising like crazy. 

I imagine next time, Zeke will snarl and lunge at others on the trail again. But I also expect that he will improve more and more quickly. Zeke will eventually be a well behaved dog. That is what he wants to be, he just needs someone to show him how.