I doubt it is all temperament. It probably is a lot of things coming together. Dad is Mr. Fun where pretty much nothing bad happens and has his own schedule, expectations, and experiences built in. So, when you think of it like that, not so surprising; right?
That's the thing though, bad things did happen with my dad, and he was the one to introduce our pup to dogs in the first place.
When our dog was displaying reactivity for the first few months, my dad brought him to the dog park nearly everyday for weeks to "socialize" him.
Except our dog showed all the signs of "shutting down". When he couldnt move away because other owners wouldnt call their dogs, he would just stand there with his Tail tucked, body hunched and close to my dad, not moving, when he couldn't escape friendly dogs sniffing or wanting to play with him, and those were the "good interactions". Not even getting into the many bad interactions he had with aggressive dogs chasing him where he had to run away. Almost the equivalent of "flooding" basically.
It took weeks before our dog started showing the faintest of interest with the friendly dogs where he would sniff back. By some miracle it developed into him displaying friendly language to the point he would go back to the dogs that stopped chasing him if they were doing it in a playful manner. Now, he sometimes runs up to dogs, seemingly gauding then to chase him, or he just sniffs them constantly. Rudely perhaps, but not aggression.
My point is that my dad gets away with ignoring our dogs body language. I've never forced interactions and move away at the sign of uncomfortability, and in general do a better job at respecting our dogs body language.
And this was also the first 6 months of us having him? So the bond wasn't nearly as strong when this stuff happened since we didn't do as much vigorous play back then due to his young age.
I guess that's the "surprising" part.
I should also note our dog is still reactive with my dad, just noticeably less so. He's reactive in our neighborhood, and outside of it he has been reactive with my dad on leash. It's been a while since he's taken him outside of our neighborhood for a walk and not using the car though.
Ah yeah, I've heard of a similar method and it had a name that escapes me atm. One thing though, from a distance my dog sometimes has a tendency to stare at a dog or person, especially if they are the lone person in a vacant area. So if I were to start moving in the direction of what they're staring at, they would keep moving toward it, keeping up the gaze. If I move away they are still staring, not wanting to move and I have to redirect him somehow.Maybe to bump your training up, try a multi-pronged approach. I'm immensely fond of Kikopup's "Check It Out" game/video. There is also the game by a trainer who's name escapes me atm, who has a game similar to Kikopup's. However, the timing and handler involvement is different. It boils down to making little changes to the environment and rewarding the dog for showing initiative to investigate. You as the handler DO NOT encourage the dog to check the oddity out. You reward them for ALREADY showing their OWN initiative in exploring. For example, I laid the vacuum down on it's side and then "cheated" by placing treats on and around it--removing my presence from the equation as much as possible while still observing. When my girl explored it on her own, she discovered "good things." Small and random as it is, it helps build optimism, independence, and confidence.
I've never actually tested what happens if we just kept going towards the source of his gaze. But since I know he's reactive and his body language is rigid I've never taken it further. The thing is he has the same rigid body language when he sees the kids he likes in the neighborhood and when he sees a stranger. I only find out if its friendly or not if I go close enough and I'll either see a high tail raise or a friendly tail wag.
So according to this method.. should I just follow him when he's like that since he's showing "interest"?
Also, placing the treats near something he's uncomfortable with.. at what point does that cross into "bribery" territory? Seems like the line is a bit blurred.
So, I use my marker word when he looks at a dog or person, and then he looks back at me, and I reward.Which brings me to another point. What is the timing of your cc/dc sessions generally? Are the treats for looking but being calm? Not looking? Looking but then looking at you? Are you focusing in place or moving? Timing can radically change things.
This is the method that I've incorporated as instructed by my trainer.
Only the past month or two I've also been trying to see him make the right choice, looking back at me or elsewhere, ignoring the dog when he sees them, and I reward.
I do a combination of both moving and in place.