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Oh the barking. Wheaton loves to hear himself bark. Sometimes for no reason but just to BE heard. Seems a legit reason given his background…and I give him a bark or two. After that I call it “unnecessary ruff-ness” and it’s time to stop.

When we are out on a walk and he sees another dog he goes ballistic. Excited but I’m not sure if it’s a good excited. If he cannot be controlled with the leash, I come down to him. When I do this he comes to me and stands up with his front paws on my leg and he quiets and focuses on being with me. Therefore I take his excitement to be linked to anxiety. I comfort him and he calms down.

Wheaton doesn’t like praise in the form of physical affection. Correction….Wheaton doesn’t UNDERSTAND praise in the form of physical affection. Now Daisy, on the other paw, gets it! I can scoop her up in a hug, kiss her face, rub her tummy, tousle her fur, all in a job-well-done kinda way. If I reach down to do that to Wheaton, he cowers as he still has fear of that touch coming at him. This is why I comfort him when he comes to me in the above barking scenario…..

I’m no “dog psychologist” but if a scared, fearful, touch-phobic dog turns into you for physical affection – you damn well give it to them.  

So, this process of; crouching down to his level, acknowledging the barking, confirming that one or two barks is warranted but after that it’s unnecessary, and then him coming to me and turning into me for comfort – if that brings peace and quiet…then that’s what we will do.

Sometimes a boy just needs a hug from his momma.