Gatsby, when scared or just too warm, has taken to hiding under the bed
And yet, it’s still more dignified than this:
I’m happy to say the photo at the top, of her under the bed, is a result of being too warm, not of being scared. We’ve been dealing with Gatsby’s socialization with other dogs, specifically that she freaks out, barks, and lunges when she passes dogs on the street. While it’s limited to that—she’s fine with dogs in houses and in parks and off-leash in yards—she’s really uncomfortable on the street.
This afternoon we had a nice breakthrough, courtesy of our friends Jen and Eric and their two Australian shepherds Indigo and Azure. They volunteered to bring their dogs over and have us meet them outside, and after a very brief barking fit, Gatsby calmed down around them. Now, we understand that Gatsby will probably never be the kind of dog that sprints up to other dogs, sniffs, gets into play stance, etc., but with Indigo and Azure as role models, she quickly learned how to be calm around other strange dogs.
We—Jen, Eric, their baby, and our three dogs—walked around the neighborhood, down Mass Ave. to Shepard St. and on to Radcliffe Quad and back, and we came across a total of four dogs. The first one, a small gray guy, started barking at us right away, and Gatsby initially barked back. But in a lesson for all owners, the man walking this dog wasn’t the owner and agreed to stick around for a few minutes while the dogs got used to each other. That’s the key after all: to show dogs that barking doesn’t result in the other dog going away.
Later, walking down Mass Ave., a woman came by with a black labradoodle, and the interaction was completely uneventful! It was the first time ever that Gatsby met a strange dog on our busy local street and simply sniffed and said hi.
Then on Radcliffe Quad, there were two pugs, and the result was the same. They all sauntered over to each other, sniffed, lingered for a minute, and then parted.
So all-in-all, thanks to Jen and Eric! And Azure and Indigo! You helped us and The Gats so much today.