Today I met up with Lynn and Stacy. They have Ryder and Diva's littermates Luke and Zoey. We went for a walk along the Sturgeon River. It was fabulous. I love hiking. I love the how it works my body and I love how the dogs run free and explore. It makes me happy and relaxed.
This morning while I was getting myself organized. Grabbing leashes and treats, all three dogs were roaming about in the garage. One of the neatest things occurred. Diva and Charlie were dog-speaking the language of play. Diva was so happy. This blows me away that my little socially stunted dog was actively inviting play from a (more or less) unfamiliar dog. I smiled.
I did not smile when Ryder got all fluffed up and tried to boss Charlie. Giving Ryder a sharp command I walked over to him. It was then that I noticed my bossy boy was shaking. Full body quivers. Uncontrolled. Crap. Clearly his issue isn't that he's aggressive or a bully but something else. Now to figure out what and get him sorted out. When we met up with the other dogs (there were four other dogs plus my three) he was fine. He happily greeted them and off we went.
Towards the end of the walk a dog ran out of a yard and began barking at us. Ryder and Diva and Charlie (and some of the others) took off in hot pursuit. I called, used my whistle and Ryder and Diva slowly returned. (They did recall off of a high stress situation.) Even in that situation he didn't try to fight the dog. It was mostly all the dogs running and barking. And the tone of the bark was an "on alert" bark. (I have been reading up and learning.)
When I got home I called the vet. I wanted accurate and correct information on what neutering will and will not accomplish. If the dog is "aggressive" neutering will not help the behavior. If the dog is "dominant" then neutering will help. This has put me in a bit of a quandary. Ryder is not "aggressive" I've researched it and he doesn't fit the mold. I'm not even convinced he's dominant because he's never made any moves to dominate the dogs around him. With Diva he's rough (through the human lens) but he never dominates her or Tessa or Bella. He made no move to try to be the dominant dog on our walk. Ryder is a very soft and sensitive dog. My mom summed it up nicely when she said, "You know those little kids who cry if you even look at them funny. Well, that's Ryder. He's a sensitive little crybaby of a dog."
I wonder if I spend my time introducing him to dogs in one-one controlled situation if this would help. He was doing very well until Kobe tried to eat him. Now not so much. Link? Who knows. Testosterone? Who knows. With this in mind I think I'll give him the summer as a reprieve. I want to work with him and see if it helps. Otherwise it'll be snip time.