I'm not a math whiz, but let me tell you what I mean by 1 + 1 > 2. I've been working with Tango on his loose leash walking and dog-greeting skills at Baker Park in Frederick over the summer. He's made great strides and I was eager to show off our work to my husband.
A few weekends ago, we took Nemo and Tango to Baker Park and I was quite ready to show off Tango's new skills to my husband.
As soon as we got out of the car, I noticed a difference in Tango. He wasn't his usual laid-back self. He was "on his toes," glancing here and there, not paying me one bit of attention.
We saw our first dog and Tango began to pull ahead. Odd, I thought. What's going on? As we approached the dog, Nemo's tail is wagging furiously and Tango begins wuffing. Not a real bark, but nothing I was used to when he and I alone walked the park, either.
After spending the morning at the park with no measurable improvement in Tango's greeting behavior, it finally dawned on me what was different: We had Nemo with us!
Tango and I had done all our work in the park alone, by ourselves, with no other dogs. So the key to this equation was the presence of Nemo. .
Tango, by himself, is quite appropriate. Nemo, by himself, is also appropriate. However, Tango + Nemo together did not equal appropriate! The mere presence of another dog caused Tango's behavior to regress backwards.
A word to the wise: If you have more than one dog, work on getting one dog's behavior perfected before you add another dog into the mix. If Tango's behavior hadn't been really really good when he was by himself, his behavior would have been considerably worse when we added Nemo to the walk. When you add that second dog into the mix, be prepared for the other dog's behavior to regress a bit.
We'll get Tango's behavior to improve when he's with Nemo, it will just take a little more practice. And that means more time spent with the dogs at the park. Not a bad deal, after all!