Well, it's been a while since I last posted (a year, maybe?) and my husky Koru is a bit over a year and a half old now, intact, and doing for the most part, very well. His separation anxiety has been curbed with the help of the Thundershirt (that product is a miracle worker!) and he has learned to greet people politely, and can relax more in large groups of people at social gatherings. And clicker training has made him into a confident, smart, boy.
There remains one issue, though, and it is one that perplexes me. So, we spent about 6 months in Moncton, New Brunswick last year, and it was awesome for us. There were three fully fenced off-leash parks nearby that I took him to regularly, and I don't recall a single unfriendly encounter with another dog in the entirety spent in that province. That includes on walks when greeting other dogs on leash (I ask to let Koru meet every dog we pass). And, last month we went for a weekend trip to Moncton for a large event, and Koru met at least 20 dogs over that time, and again... not a single aggressive encounter.
Now, snap back to our current province and city, Halifax, Nova Scotia. We've been living here for about a year, and Koru has made very few friends. I'd say about 80% of dogs we encounter on walks will growl slightly (then owner will pull them back, usually) which then leads to them jumping and barking at him. Koru has NEVER growled first, NEVER barked, and NEVER growled back except during the maybe three times the other dog has "danced" with him (all when the other dog obviously had intense aggression issues, usually was off leash, and even when their owner pulled them away they continued snarling)
Nearly every time a dog has started growling at Koru, the owner blames me for having not neutered him. The reason I have decided to keep him intact is that it DOESN'T make things difficult. A simple "leave it" pulls him away from spots he approaches to mark. And he is VERY well behaved, energy-wise, for a husky. We've received multitudes of compliments in that regard, especially when we tell people he is un-fixed. Never barks, and the only thing he pulls for is to see other dogs on leash (he ignores those in yards that we pass on the way) and even this is getting better.
The major issue in my current city, I believe, is the lack of dedicated dog parks. All of the "parks" are unfenced, and are basically fetch fields and walking trails that you can bring your perfect pooch on off-lead. There is no place other than backyards to bring a dog to truly socialize (play, wrestle, and run) with other dogs. This is where I lay my blame. If Koru gets along PERFECTLY in a town where most dogs regularly play in dog parks, even after not visiting that town a year, then I cannot understand how he is the problem.
Maybe this is more of a rant... but if anyone has a similar experience, please share! I just don't know what to do any more except have him neutered, but I don't want to do that, especially if it turns out that isn't the cause. I'm tired of being blamed for other people's unsocialized dogs. I wish our city had a dog park, but it seems to be low on the priority list... Has anyone here had to petition for a dog park to be built? If so, what are some tips? I am getting desperate. A pup Koru's age needs to have friendly encounters, and although he has a few pals he regularly plays in backyards with, that certainly doesn't feel like enough.