I don’t often post about dogs, or our dog specifically, but I thought I’d make an exception.
A few years ago we adopted our dog from the SSPCA in Glasgow. She is an anti-social dog. As a rescue dog we aren’t too sure what happened in her past, but we know that she is not good with other dogs, or any animal really that’s smaller than her….which is most animals. People, children, horses, grand, everything else, nope.
Because of this, we walk her at times when we will encounter the least dog traffic. Obviously this isn’t always possible, but we have developed skills and methods of dealing with the situation should it arise. Step One is avoidance, one of us is always on the look out for dogs and if we see one we head off in a different direction. Step two, if step one is not possible or fails, then it is to restrain her. She lies down, usually rolls onto her back, and we keep her like that until the other dog is passed. This is not through violence, or harsh force, maybe occasionally a bit of a wrestle if she is getting out of hand.
Yes, we have tried muzzles, halti, chain collars, short leads etc. but now she walks even better without all of that, just a normal leather collar and extendable lead. We know our dog and know how to control her. We’ve had paid dog trainers and lots of time to get it under control.
I’m sue some my criticise our methods, but they work For Us. Standard methods are all well and good, but some dogs just need their own personal style of handling.
A couple of days ago, we were walking on our usual field (it helps her if she has a regular route) and we heard a barking kerfuffle across the other side. We knew there had been a golden lab with it’s owner there a few minutes ago, but deterred by the barking we switched directions and headed for the tree line.
A few minutes later, we looked up and either a very large, chunky doberman or a Doberman crossed with a Rottweiler was hurtling towards us, teeth beared, barking, snarling the whole shebang.
Quickly, Lord Geekus manoeuvred Phoebe behind him and shouted at the dog, a big booming, low No. The dog, startled did a quick u-turn and headed back across the field, only to forget a moment later and boomerang back to us. Phoebe was restrained but honestly more startled than anything. I took a turn of stepping in front and shouting No. By this point a group of “young men” had come into view, with two similar looking dogs on leads. In a moment of confusion I wondered where the owners of this out of control dog was, until it started running back to them.
I shouted across the field (they were only a few hundred foot away) and they laughed and continued walking, with the dog running laps around them and nipping at their other dogs.
We finished up our walk quite quickly, and on the way back to the car, another dog owner approached us. They had been warned when coming onto the field about the dog and it’s owners, which had just attacked another dog.
This left me very, very angry. Apart from a cut on his hand from grabbing the thin nylon lead, we were all intact. But it is not the point.
I love this phrase, so I’m going to use it here, How Dare They?!
First of all, I don’t believe that any dog is born aggressive. I believe it is the owners/people who it encounters which make it that way, regardless of the breed. So this episode was all the owners fault.
If you have an aggressive dog, it it your utmost responsibility to ensure the safety of other dogs you may come into contact with.
Honestly, when we first got phoebe we did have a couple of run ins, thankfully nothing to serious. That told us that we needed to up our training game. One google search will provide you with names, contact numbers and references for dog trainers in your area. A trip to the shop or another online search will show you the kinds of “equipment” available for managing your dog. There are forums, websites, groups all dealing with similar issues.
The help is there, you have to take it. It does take time, patience and perseverance. But seeing the difference in your dog after this is the most rewarding experience! Seeing Phoebe dart about happily on her extended lead, sniffing bushes, investigating trees and puddles, quite content because she knows we are in charge, is amazing.
Those thugs who found it hilarious that their dog was causing harm and distress should be fines and given a community service sentence. If I see them again I know I’ll be calling the police immediately.
If you aren’t up for the challenge of a difficult dog, find someone who is. It is the best for everyone, including the dog.