I have been reading For The Love Of A Dog by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D; I highly recommend that all dog lovers read it. The book is about understanding fear and anger issues with your dog and how we can help them overcome their problems.
My Bud acted out being a bully to young, old, unbalanced dogs by taking the offensive. Anyonebwho knows Bud can see what a gentle sentive dog he is. Bud's puppy problem started after Jetta's leaving us.
My good girl Jetta died last May. After reading this book I now understand that Bud sensed my heart mourned for her. It makes total sense to me that Bud reads my heart and now feels that he is the top dog in my heart. Dogs sense more than we think.
I am happy to report that now Bud wants to play with others dogs, puppies, old dogs, un-balanced dogs. We are still working on it because sometimes he slips back into old insecure behaviors that manifest in aggressive posturing. As a result, Bud is going to be attending bootcamp soon with a fabulous dog trainer, Ericka Dugan of Elite K9 Solutions (www.elitek9solutions.com). She is phenomenal!
Another thing I have learned is that my tension on the leash played a role in Bud's behavior and anxieties. Bud's dog stress is rooted in his job of taking care of me. My demeanor had to change from fear to love for the other dog and *my* job is to make Bud feel safe. Now I say, "what a good dog" when he meets other dogs.
Bud doesn't get to play off leash. I am in charge on the beach and I keep him busy when we are not walking. Bud dig holes in the sand when he is not swimming. Sometimes I let him carry a ball in his mouth. I don't work him much each day. Pooooor working Bud- his work mostly consists of sitting by the pool at Cal Poly and visiting my AA friends at meetings (but only when I give him the release command for his break!)
Bud and I are a dedicated pack of two.