I feel like I am stuck in a pattern - I'm stuck at home in ANOTHER blizzard, so I'm updating Chumlee's thread. Hopefully the blizzard pattern is nearing the end for this winter, anyway...
Yesterday, in advance of the impending snow storm, I took Chumlee for an extra long walk, knowing that we probably wouldn't be going out today in the middle of it.
As I've mentioned, Chumlee is dog-reactive so I have to be very selective about the places where we exercise. One of our favorite places belongs to a friend. It is a large (5+ acres) fenced area with woods and fields which he uses to train his beagles for rabbit hunting. I always text him and get a response before we go and it is posted as private property so I feel ok with letting Chumlee off leash.
Chum was so excited and energetic. He ran and played and had an amazing time. We played a few games of 'hide and seek' where I hide and Chum finds me. It definitely keeps him on his toes when I "disappear"
Near the end of our walk, Chum raced up ahead out of my sight. As I came within sight of him, I froze. Chum was standing face to face with an enormous Malamute!
I thought I was going to faint with fear, waiting for them to begin fighting. I felt sick to my stomach but mentally I began to gear myself for breaking up a fight. I've watched so many videos and read so many articles about this to try and prepare myself just in case.
Instead, of fighting, they did lots of butt-sniffing and greeting!! I stayed back and watched their body language. Both dogs looked surprisingly relaxed. The other dog's owner appeared and I shouted to her to leave the dogs alone - don't approach. She complied and we each continued our walk in opposite directions. Chumlee and the other dog (almost) played together for a couple of minutes, then each of them turned away to follow us!
I have no idea if the Malamute was male or female - it had so much hair! But from the size of it, I'd guess it was male. I was so thrilled that my dog-reactive Chumlee didn't try to fight! He acted like a regular, ordinary Golden!!
For those of you with "ordinary", non-reactive dogs, this probably sounds dumb, but it was such a huge relief to see Chum behave nicely with another animal. The rescue group that I adopted him from had warned me repeatedly that I would always have to be on guard and I have taken their words to heart.
I have seen Chumlee play respectfully with a small female beagle who wandered into our yard one day, but I wasn't sure if it was just a fluke or not.
The behaviorist we visited a couple of years ago said that Chumlee's re-activeness was most likely anxiety-related rather than true aggression.
I called my friend when I got home and it turns out his wife had given her friend permission to use the area recently but the person was supposed to call first - she didn't. Anyways, we are the only 2 people they have given permission to use the property and I think we have it straightened out now so it won't happen again.
I wouldn't have wished for the encounter with another dog to occur, but now it gives me a little sense of relief that I don't have to be QUITE as paranoid as I have been. I will continue to be watchful, though.