I took Buddy on a woods walk today on the new trails near our house (only I’m going in from the other side of the trail system until the Sam Cobb access happens). I’ve never run into anyone on these trails before but they were being well-used today, including Rick out there blazing the trails. Buddy was running further ahead than he usually does and was also staring off at something to our left. After one such run ahead, I was ready to put him on his leash when I saw what he must have been seeing/hearing all along. Two men walking towards us on a perpendicular trail. He didn’t respond to me telling him, “no,” then “Buddy, come!” so I hollered – “he’s a puppy, sorry!” at which point one of the guys bent down and beckoned for Buddy to come to him.
That stopped Buddy in his tracks and retreated back towards me (not all the way because his curiosity was getting the better of him) so I told him to wait and he did. He then got to meet them on his leash. Wiggle squiggly. We’re still working on that. The breeder told me as this breed gets older they will not usually go to a stranger. Part of their guarding characteristics, I suppose. Looks like Buddy is growing up.
After our walk, I stopped at The Thirsty Lab and ordered an iced bulletproof coffee, went outside to get Buddy out of the truck while it was being prepared, spoke with a woman who was there waiting for her husband to return, and she wound up holding Buddy while I went into the store to pick up my coffee (we had already spoken of getting him and her Golden on a play date). I told her this would be a good test because it’s part of the Canine Good Citizen requirements to be able to leave the room without your dog stressing out (and Buddy is known to stress out when I leave him). Never heard him yelp (he usually yells at me when I walk away, we’re working on that). She said he reacted slightly in the beginning, wanting to follow me, but then he was okay. Out of all the Canine Good Citizen requirements, this is the one I thought he might have trouble with, based on what the breeder told me and his reaction when I leave him behind.
So, I’m encouraged about his behavior. Wariness when I haven’t given the okay to meet someone, acceptance/trust when I’ve told him it’s okay.
I just love this dog (and breed).
Image by Michel Stockman from Pixabay (wrong season, didn’t capture a real photo of this encounter)