Hello! Welcome to the 5th edition of Phoebes story.
This time I want to talk about listening to your dogs needs.
Phoebes Story: Part Five
Car rides became her main joy in life. Walks were stressful. Investigating the garden was disturbed by other dogs. She has never been able to play with toys, no matter how hard we’ve tried, so a nice drive with her head out of the window became her thing.
These drives sometimes took us down to the beach, over to wind farms, forgotten forest trails. If it was quiet with no body out, we started going on short walks with her. My health was at it’s worst during this point, so it wasn’t often, but a start.
These short walks were lovely, especially on the beach. On the beach you can see for miles, which makes dog spotting very easy. There is space to avoid others, and accessible exits back to the car.
We had been given an extendable lead that Lord Geekus’ family had no need for, so we started testing it out.
Seeing her run along the beach with him made me so happy! She looked so content.
We moved over to Ireland shortly after this, and our confidence was growing steadily.
We weren’t doing ‘regular’ dog walks, but she was getting out and having adventures of her own.
We had a few close calls.
She got out one day and ran over to our neighbours garden were they had two working dogs in kennels. She stood outside their kennel as they barked and barked at her. Thankfully, no damage done there.
But then, one day she did get a small dog.
This broke my heart.
We had been standing, chatting in a court yard of a friend. A gated area between the house, garages, and kennels. He advised his dogs were well secured and it was perfectly safe to let Phoebe stretch her legs. We were there for a while, nattering away, keeping an eye on her, when next second we saw a white flash and a scream.
His parents have a small, old, Maltese, called Heidi. Heidi had been in the house, when someone had obviously opened the door to check on us, then not shut it properly…and Heidi had come out.
Phoebe attacked. Heidi was okay, she needed a couple of stitches and was a bit shaken, but okay.
We however, were mortified and back to being fearful of taking her out.
It was one of those situations. You are assured security, so take the chance, and when the security isn’t quite as safe as thought, what could we do?
Obviously offering to pay vets bills is a start. He understood and saw his own fault in what had happened, but we clearly still had a lot of work to do.
As my health was starting to improve, we tried to take more regular walks. Picking the right time for the walk was crucial. We found a lake, only 5 minutes drive from our house, which didn’t have many visitors. The lake side was marshy, overgrown and swarming with mozzies. Perfect. For the most part we were able to take 20 minute walks, letting Phoebe run into the lake to chase swans, who were always too smart for our dog who can’t swim.
Occasionally there would be other dog walkers. We just had to be vigilant. I became a very good spotter. Being aware of where the dogs were before Phoebe, gave us an advantage, we could navigate and manoeuvre her to avoid them.
Of course, this wasn’t fool proof. Sometimes, we’d just have to stop, get her to lie down, and wait for them to pass. Sometimes they were really unhelpful, letting their off the lead dog come too close despite my shouting. But, no more encounters.
This became a habit. She was walking better, listening to us, recalling (from the end of the extended lead) and even pulling a lot less on a short lead.
Some days it was annoying to turn up and find other dog walkers merrily sauntering along with their excitable pooches. Some of these days we would wait, on others we would find somewhere else or come back later.
Phoebe couldn’t be walked at all when we tried the regular morning and evening walk around the area. That’s great if you can, but this prescribed method was so destructive for us all.
Realising that if we timed it right, picked obscure locations, and stayed alert, we could go for walks was an incredible change for us all.
And this was just the beginning!
Find out what Phoebe gets up to now, next time on Phoebes story
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