Drake and Jade, my two German Shepherd Dogs, welcomed my daughter’s rescue pup, Ollie, to the family. Ollie is a 10 month old Shetland Sheepdog or “Sheltie”. He is very emotional, noted by his passive, hesitant behavior to move forward. When there is something important to him, however, he becomes pushy and in some situations aggressive.
He is dog social. As you will see in my videos, he enjoys playing with both Drake and Jade. He lacks confidence, however, in the greeting. It took a few hours for him to trust Drake as Drake just sat and stared at him. He trusted Jade more quickly as she was more bouncy and playful.
With familiar people, Ollie is sweet and affectionate. He can growl and snap if unfamiliar people approach him. It is clear he will need slow greetings with unfamiliar people and dogs. When on a leash, Ollie will most often avoid people. If they become too close, however, he may lunge at them to keep them away. Lunging and snapping at strangers to tell them to back off, shows strong social confidence and low sociability. With familiar dogs he approaches with full body wiggles showing he is friendly and wants to avoid any conflict.
With unfamiliar dogs, however, he quickly begins to bark frantically, spin in circles, grabs his leash, while expressing a great deal of loud, rapid and deep sounding vocalization. This behavior is what I would call reactivity as he is not able to control his gross motor skills and is unable to think and respond appropriately. We support him by removing him from this situation so he can feel safe and calm down.
We will work together to help Ollie gain confidence in new settings, with new people and with really social dogs. He will get there with lots of purposeful support and time.