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I was so proud of him Saturday morning, I just have to brag a little bit.

Ever since he was bombarded by the crazy Setter two doors down from us, he's been very wary of other dogs. Wants nothing to do with them. He's not quite as bad with small dogs as he is with big ones, but he's still very fearful. I've sort of gone to square one and have been trying to build his confidence with other dogs from a safe distance.

Well, when mom and I took him out for his walk Saturday morning, we rounded a corner and ran right smack into a guy walking the cutest little 14 week old GSD puppy I've ever seen. (Picture Lisa's Diesel as a pup and you'll get the idea.) Riley freaked out a little bit and was content to stay the length of his leash away from this exuberant little fluff-ball... until he saw me petting the pup and making a fuss over him. At that point, he decided that he wanted to investigate.
He actually stood there, nose-to-nose with this little guy, and was letting the pup give him kisses! He was stiff and a little uncomfortable, but he didn't shy away. We were careful to end it on a good note, right before the pup started to get a little too excited for Riley's liking, and of course he got treats and lots of praise.
I was just so proud of him. As unplanned and unexpected as it was, I think it might have been a good step for him.
 

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Way to go Riley!!!! Hopefully with good experiences like that Riley will get over his fear of big dogs.
 

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I'm hoping! If we can avoid the neighborhood dogs who are out of control and keep building on good experiences like this one, he might just decide that other dogs aren't all that bad.
 

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That sounds like such a great icebreaker! Little by little I'll bet Riley will be fine with other dogs.

Even though he had a bad experience, it's a good thing it's not an internal anxiety he was born with (like my Gunner).
 

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That sounds like such a great icebreaker! Little by little I'll bet Riley will be fine with other dogs.

Even though he had a bad experience, it's a good thing it's not an internal anxiety he was born with (like my Gunner).
Yeah, luckily I don't think it's that serious. He was fine around other dogs (a little aloof, if anything) until that one incident. Granted, this boy has the memory of an elephant and isn't likely to forget it anytime soon, but I think we can overcome it if we can keep giving him good experiences like this one.
Avoiding the neighborhood crazies in the meantime is the challenge!
 

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Good one Riley - sounds like because it was totally unexpected neither of you had chance to get worried about it - hope his improvement continues.
 

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Good one Riley - sounds like because it was totally unexpected neither of you had chance to get worried about it - hope his improvement continues.
I think that had a lot to do with it. I didn't even have time to think 'Oh boy, Riley's gonna be afraid.' Then when he saw me petting the pup, I think he figured that it must be okay.

That's one thing I need to pay attention to. I need to pay attention to how I react when we encounter another dog. Knowing Riley, if I'm worried about him being afraid, even for a second or two, he's picking up on it and it's probably making him nervous.
 
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