When I first brought Stanley home he barked at everyone in the neighborhood...human or dog. His barking was so bad that I dreaded running into anyone on our walks. In fact, I would walk him at odd hours just to avoid running into my neighbors. I had to do this because whenever we saw someone Stanley would bark, bark, and bark some more. Of course, if I picked him up he would stop. (Hmmm, now that I think about it, did he do that on purpose?)
Anyway, Stanley has turned a corner! He now socializes with other dogs and people in my neighborhood. Woo Hoo. No longer are we outcasts! Some still say, "oh, here comes Stanley...(smirking)" (lol) but for the most part everyone looks forward to seeing my little doggie. It feels so good!
One evening while walking him I came across 5 dogs and their masters just standing in the road talking. It looked like a block party. As Stanley and I approached the crowd I was cringing because I anticipated that at any minute he was going to bellow out a string of barks and tell everyone there what he thought. Ha. (Anyone ever have a pet or family member or friend like that?....LOL) However, much to my surprise, Stanley stepped into the middle of the party and let the other dogs sniff him. The other dogs were large....really large compared to him and they sniffed away...they wouldn't stop sniffing! I thought to myself, "Come on, dogs! Stop it!!" Still, much to my continued surprise, Stanley stood there and just took it. Of course all of the owners just showered Stanley with compliments and he was the center of attention. Finally, I had had enough of the "dog" behavior and after hearing Stanley whimpering because a h-u-g-e greyhound was barking aggressively towards him while the full-grown Labrador towered over him sniffing, I picked Stanley up and held him close. So, after that night, Stanley has socialized with others in the neighborhood. He still whimpers when big dogs approach him and he gets close to me. I watch him closely and rescue him if the dog sniffs too long (honestly, how many sniffs does it take?!).
Interestingly though Stanley has started something that just makes me laugh out loud. In my neighborhood the dogs fall into 3 categories: (1) prima-donna/barkers/sniffers, (2) easy-going/laid-back/friendly, and (3) "I don't socialize with anyone" dogs. (We have no experience with this 3rd category because we never see them outside...they are indoor dogs...literally.) Stanley likes Category 2, but he puts up with Category 1. He doesn't let Category 1 dogs know how they irritate him to their face (ha), but when Category 1 goes inside....look out. lol. Stanley will find Category 1's yard and either do little potty or big potty! Yep, my little doggie gets even in his own way.