I have (possibly) had a break through moment, but dear friends I would very much value your thoughts, opinions and two cents on this matter.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about BDs fear aggression. Following on from his attack he has been doing ok with dogs, although he did go for Mity the other day. They are both fine. BD was muzzled and Mity just squeezed past to him too closely trying to get around my mother and me. It was a bit of a hectic night and I should have found a way to not have them both in my house, but I had no option.
Anyway. Bd has taken to barking at most dogs we see when we walk past them. Turns out it is only with me that he does this. Apparently when he is with my ex he can now walk past all sorts of dogs on the other side of the road, but with me he does this excited bark/jump/yelp thing and almost tries to run at the dog but not in a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ manner more a ‘look, look, dog’ excited way. I know that I need to work on this, a large (potentially muzzled) dog barking at your dog does not a happy owner make (he has officially ruined any chances I may have had with the fit young vet, by barking like a loon at the vets JRT which resulted in a very disapproving glare from said vet to me the crazy lady who can’t control her dog!)
But I am not asking for your opinions on that (although any advice you have would be appreciated) No today I want to discuss my obsession with battling through BDs fear to one day see him play with other dogs. Every since I have known BD I have wanted to see him relax around other dogs. I want him to not be scared. I want a confident happy boy. I have once or twice seen him play with dogs. Watching him run around with them was amazing, and the big smile on his face when he was warn out and exhausted was just amazing. But (and here it comes)…
Is this need to see him relax in BDs best interest or just an obsession I have. Is this about BD or me?
When I go out walking with BD he doesn’t care if we meet another dog or not. So long as he has his tennis ball and we are together then he is happy. On the odd occasion we come across another dog (ignoring the lead bouncing for now) we take steps to avoid the interaction; I detour of the path or change direction, we usually pass the other dog without incident and carry on our way. I have learnt how to manage the situation and so has BD. When we are walking in a wood, or somewhere else where BD can be off lead once the other dog is a safe distance away and not likely to run back to try and say hi to BD I will re-remove his muzzle, congratulate him and we carry on.
So long as I have remembered his tennis ball BD is beyond happy. He doesn’t seem to worry that there is no one else around and as we walk out in the country as much as able, there aren’t really any dogs for him to play with anyway. He gets on fine with Mity, and so there is no longer the problem of having the two of them together. On walks they ignore each other and (until the attack) they ignored each other in the house as well. Yes, there were occasions when BD would be slightly concerned to hear Mity ‘talking’ to me and if ever Mity wanted to do crazy dog I would hang on to BD so that he wouldn’t chase Mity as on the occasion I wasn’t fast enough they would both just kinda panic and freeze. Mity would look at BD as if to say “why are you chasing me” and BD would look at him as if to say “why were you running and why have we stopped?”.
If BD is contented, and Mity is happy. Why do I want to push it further?
Am I right to encourage BD to relax around other dogs, regardless of his nerves? Or do I accept him for who he is and let this go?
P.S It’s this post Pamela that you inspired!