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I was so tempted to name this thread "Dear Diary," cause I feel like that's kind of what I'm doing. You guys understand the whole dog-raising process though so I thought I'd share how my past week has been with Tucker.

Earlier this week I'd say we had our biggest display of improvement. I took Tucker for his evening bathroom walk around the two blocks of my subdivision-type apartment complex. We ran into EVERYTHING. Dogs on leashes, dogs off leashes, people coming out of their houses right when we walk by, people sitting on the sidewalk, people smoking, people yelling, and even someone who walked around the corner and surprised me. Tucker didn't bark once! I was so proud of him and almost didn't believe it was my dog. I knew he hadn't been 100% cured, but it gave me so much hope that he'll eventually be able to be like that 100% of the time.

Then there was today. The fact that Tucker woke me up to go outside at 5:20 a.m. told me that today was going to be an off day for him. He was insanely energetic this morning (not sure how considering we hiked all day yesterday...) so I took him to a dog park. Long story short this woman rudely told me to get my dog away from her (at a dog park...and she had a just as hyper yet quiet GSD larger than Tucker...) so we left and went to the other dog park that we usually go to.
We ended up meeting another Mal mix and her owner was incredibly nice and complimented Tucker's playful bark. However about half an hour in Tucker started snapping at dogs coming near "his" tennis ball, so we left. He usually doesn't snap like that and even lets other dogs take balls from his mouth. I've been noticing it's when he's tired. Is that a thing? Do dogs get grouchy?
Then I took him back home and noticed that the neighbor's dogs were playing in the backyard and he ran and ran and ran with them until he noticed one of our neighbors that we hadn't met yet. Well, Tucker goes to introduce himself in typical, loud Tucker fashion. I apologized like always but this guy said he was a military dog handler, so he was plenty used to Mals. I love when people are understanding of the different types of barks and, even if they are wary of my dog, aren't rude about it.

So yeah, just had to share because I was incredibly proud yet today I'm incredibly frustrated. I feel like he has a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde complex.
 

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I think dogs get tired of other dogs just like we humans get tired of other humans in our space. Kuma is the same way. Yesterday at the dog park we met a spongy black lab mix about a year old and she had Kuma running and zooming and nearly slamming into my legs several times. But Kuma was getting getting irritated and although he loves the chase game he started to nip at the lab mix so we decided to head home before Kuma loses his cool.
I
That is what I believe. They can be just like us at times. We get tired of people we hang out with and go home weather we are tired of grouchy. Same for dogs ithink. k
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From what I can tell, dogs definitely do get grumpy, especially if they're overtired. Maybe the big hiking excursion threw him off a bit, and so he got tired a lot easier, hence the grumpiness.

Sounds like you're having a great time with him, though, which is the important part!
 

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Thanks for answering guys. I was worried because I couldn't really find a behavior to correct since he doesn't do it all the time. I've read so many different books and one included a quote that I love: "The only thing that two dog trainers can agree on is that the third one is wrong." I never know if Tucker's doing something that I should be correcting or if he's just speaking his language. He never goes after dogs, just nips then retreats when he wants to be left alone with his toy. He also only does this when he's laying down with the toy, but then will get up and want to play tug with the other dogs.

Today was another great day. I finally found a place to park that's not too far away from the park but so that we can go on a walk and get relaxed before we enter the dog park. MAJOR difference on the first day. Tucker was still a little excited but he wasn't barking before we went in. There was only a 7 month old puppy when we first got there. At first Tucker was being a grouch but then (I'm not really sure what happened) he was playing wonderfully with the puppy and wasn't being possessive of anything. It was amazing. However then he started lazily barking at cars when they'd pull up to the park's parking lot. He's never done that before, and he was just laying in the shade of the gazebo letting out half-effort barks. Not sure what that was about.

Now that I'm officially back into school mode I've started working on a routine schedule with him. Our schedules were everywhere the first few weeks of being back in college town, but I think we're settled now. We just started this yesterday and it's already improving his temperament. He's much less reactive to things and less scared of new experiences (putting his toys in a laundry basket for him to get them out of). He's still jumpy of sudden noises and barks a little at new experiences, but he doesn't completely refuse to try new things anymore.

I feel like I've started with a level 7 dog instead of starting at level 1 for my first dog. He can learn any trick I try to teach him and even excels at tennis ball search and rescue, but socializing him has been hard since day 1. I keep watching the videos on the socializing thread every morning though so I hope we'll have some more progress soon. :D
 
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