Can You Tell Which Dog Is Reactive?

Shelby, upper left; Zekie, upper right; Baxter, lower left; Cassius, lower right.

Can you tell which of the four dogs above is leash reactive?

Leash reactivity, at least in the case of my dog, causes him to lunge, growl, and bark excessively at other dogs, people, or fast moving objects like cars, bicycles, or motorcycles. He is fine walking with any of our dogs. He is fine if people or dogs come in our house or gated dog yard to visit, be they known or unknown to us.

And this prompts my apology to the person we encountered at the intersection up the hill near the fire station of our township. I was walking four of our dogs this morning and a car approached the intersection where I was getting ready to cross the street. I waved the car on. The driver of the car waved me on, and kept waving, insistent that I should go ahead. This left me with no choice but to proceed. Very thoughtful, right? Indeed it was. The only problem was, this left me trying to walk with two calm dogs, one dog that was barking, lunging, and jumping at the car in an attempt to reach it and no doubt scratch it’s paint job, plus one dog who was barking because the reactive dog was going into freak out mode. So, I apologize to the kind driver, if the expression on my face was not warm and appreciative. I had my hands full and was doing my best. Oh, I was also carrying two bags of poop on my way to the nearby dumpster at the time.

The reactive dog has shown improvement. It is just slow and ongoing. I have learned that if I go into the grass about four feet off the road, cars can pass without incident. Usually. This sometimes puts me in people’s front yards. I hope they don’t mind. It requires keeping a vigilant eye out for approaching vehicles in front of and behind us. I need to have ample time to get the required distance off the road, and must remain calm while doing so as not to insight a reaction

This is the kind of dog that is not for the first time dog owner, the physically weak, or the faint of heart. This is a labor of love. Ironically, if I kept the dog at home all the time, he would be friendly 100% of the time. Even with visitors. But, I want more for him, so we walk and try different training techniques. A work in progress.

By the way, the leash reactive dog is Zekie in the upper right hand corner.