OK, everyone, I am so frustrated that I am crying right now, and I could really use some words of wisdom... Sorry, this is really long...
Ranger and I just got back from his walk, and he was mean to another dog. I am just getting so tired and frustrated with it.
Anway, the owner wasn't mad at all, but I just feel so tired of it all. And guilty, and I dont know why... Should I feel bad when my dog was on-leash and under control and her dog wasn't? I warned her not to let her dog approach mine, but I still feel like the jerk here cause my dog was the @ss.
When we adopted him, we specifically were looking for a dog that was dog-friendly, could go to the dog park, the beach, etc., and we were told that he was. He got along great with his "sister" right away and still does. He played with other dogs at the shelter, and we took him to the dog park many times after we got him and he was fine. Then, the "honeymoon period" that you often hear of with shelter dogs was over, and he felt comfortable enough to start showing his true personality. He started a fight with one dog when he was off leash and then it just escalated from there.
I have dealt with leash aggression before, but he has just got me completely confused. To make it worse, Gwen snarls and growls when she plays with him, so sometimes I am not even 100% sure that he isn't actually somewhat trying to play when he sounds like he wants to kill the other dog. He is on a training program where we work with a clicker and treats to position the presence of other dogs as a positive thing for him, so we still take him around other dogs, but he isn't allowed to directly interact with them, and I think that just makes him more likely to growl and fight when he does.
I have read all the books and I know that it isn't reasonable to expect every dog to be dog friendly, and I know that many dogs go through a period around this age when they "mature" and decide that they don't care for every other dog, and he has never actually hurt another dog, but I am just so tired of him being "bad". I know that all the things that I want to do with him and can't are MY problem, not his, and most of the time I can accept that this is just his individual personality and that I have to respect that, but sometimes I am still just so frustrated.
I am tired of always having to be on the lookout for off-leash dogs, tired of always having to always have an explanation about why he can't play, tired of apologizing when he growls at a totally friendly dog, and tired of feeling guilty that he isn't nice. I love him, and maybe I am just blowing this all out of proportion, and I would never give him up, but right now I just feel like I have a rotten dog, and that I am a rotten dog mom cause I can't fix this, and I just want to cry.
(BTW - THIS is why I do not want to bring him to the So. Cal. get together. I don't want to be crying and ready to leave within 5 minutes of our arrival)