Making friends can be hard sometimes — 33 Comments

  1. My Jimmy is quite on-leash reactive as well. From what I’ve read, leash reactivity comes from two things. One, your dog can feel you tense up through the leash, so they figure if you are tense, they had better be tense, and it escalates from there. Two, they are trapped and they know it. With the leash on, they aren’t as free to move as they would like, so the best defense is an offense. Jimmy reacts poorly most of the time on leash so I avoid on-leash greetings whenever possible. And he has spent his whole life socializing! Some dogs are just turkeys!
    Taryn recently posted…WOW! Won-thousand! on Wilson’s Wordy Wednesday!My Profile

    • That all makes sense. Torrey does sit good, but she will lunge and bark if I give her half a chance. I don’t think I’m tense, but maybe I am.

  2. I haven’t read the comments above, so I apologize if someone else already said this. One of the reasons Torrey is better OFF leash than on (Dakota is the same), is if a dog is on leash and comes into contact with an OFF leash dog, the dog who is ON leash is at a disadvantage. The off leash dog has full control and the ON leash dog isn’t free to “act” It is a subordinate position to be ON leash when another dog is OFF leash and the on leash dog feels threatened. When they are both off leash it is equal turf.
    Caren Gittleman recently posted…Puppy Adopted From Michigan Humane Society Credited With Saving His Family’s Life:Thankful ThursdayMy Profile

  3. Hey Torrey your old pals back in West Mountain are waiting to have a romp and play date with you. They need a bath but they do get a spit spray bath twice a week and groomed. Even the cats got groomed yesterday. Hugs

  4. That is so great that Torrey made a new friend and had so much fun! It is good that she is fine in most situations, and that you can let her off leash for some fun. I love the photos. Our golden Sheba can look SO mean sometimes when she’s playing with the puppy, but she’s not at all.

  5. Glad that Torrey got to make a friend. It seems alot of dogs are better off lead than on, maybe off lead they have space to back off if they feel cornered, whereas on lead they don’t have that freedom. Either way, it’s good that she got to have a good romp:-)
    Misaki recently posted…FoggyMy Profile

  6. That is just SO great to see Torrey playing like that!!! So glad she made a new friend!
    I am not sure if my situation with Mika could possibly be the same as Torrey, but I will give you the short version just in case it may help.
    When Mika first started being snarly to other dogs, she was always on the leash. And I noticed at the offleash dog park, she was just fine with the other dogs.
    What I started to realize is she was feeding off of my energy while on the leash. Because I knew she was reactive, the second we would see another dog coming, I got tense, knowing how she was going to act.And I would tighten her leash without even really realizing it. Once I realized that and started working on how I acted with leash in hand, mixed with some other threshold techniques, I really started to notice a difference.
    Hope that helped a bit?
    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Thoughtless Thursday- St.Pats style!My Profile

  7. A few people have already talked about leash reactivity – the description “barrier frustration” really made it clear to me. They can’t get to the thing and it freaks them out. Leo is a redirected biter, too. He sees a bicycle go by, then turns and bites the closest thing. It’s almost comical. He’ll be walking perfectly normally beside Mia, see a bike, and immediately start chewing on her head. She tolerates it extremely well. It’s much less amusing when he redirects by biting our legs.
    Kari recently posted…WOOF! Management Is the Secret to SuccessMy Profile

  8. Way to go Torrey!! So many dogs are reactive on leash. I really feel like they feel they are trapped and cannot get away. But what do I know?

    Love that she made a friend and that the playing tired her out.
    Jodi recently posted…I Jinxed My DogMy Profile

  9. I also wish I knew the secret to the difference between reactive on-leash / okay off-leash. I know the theories behind why, but it doesn’t really help with getting her to be better. And now I’m worried that since we don’t go to the off-leash park anymore (because I don’t trust people!) that she’ll lose her being “okay off-leash” ways. But then… she’s almost never off-leash anymore, so maybe it doesn’t matter if she loses them. Anyway – looks like they had fun. That last pic is funny.
    Jackie Bouchard recently posted…#WOOF: Frustrations and Successes with My Reactive DogMy Profile

  10. It looks like she had a lot of fun with her new friend! It’s not uncommon at all for dogs to be better off leash than on – the leash really restricts movement and disrupts proper social behaviors. Leash reactivity is also usually a result of “barrier frustration” where the dog wants to get to (or away from) the other dog and can’t so they react. I find that never allowing leash reactive dogs to physically greet another dog on leash EVER can be very helpful. Then they don’t worry that they will be pressured to interact. But it sounds like you guys are on the right track! Torrey is beautiful, by the way :)
    Gabi recently posted…WOOF! Keeping History From Repeating ItselfMy Profile

  11. Looks like fun!
    I agree – dog greetings go better off-leash. The humans can’t meddle and the dogs are left to communicate naturally. Dogs on leash may feel they don’t have enough personal space or a way to get out of a sticky situation, so they feel cornered. Or maybe their is uncomfortable tension on the leash that causes them to react or redirect to the other dog.
    I think there are lots of possible factors, each depending on the dog, the owner, and the environment.
    But if I see an off-leash dog heading over and I can’t prevent an interaction, I will drop our leashes and let the dogs interact naturally. Even if it’s just briefly and pick up the leashes again and continue walking away. I find things go better this way. (I also don’t often permit on-leash greetings with other on-leash dogs.)
    Jen K recently posted…“My dog doesn’t like to go on walks.”My Profile

  12. We are so glad Torrey made a new friend! It looks like they had a great time together too, which is SO important. Oz is the same way…if he is off leash meeting a new dog, he is just fine. However, put that leash on him and he gets a bit reactive upon approach. I wish there was a way, like you said, to transfer that off leash feeling to being on leash. If you figure it out, let me know. :-)
    Gina and Oz
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…Marching Out the Limericks: ReillyMy Profile

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