Mozart, on the left, and Milly are two adorable long-haired miniature daschunds. Mozart at nine months old is little more than a puppy, but already he is taking on the world – barking at people and sounds, and sometimes, it seems, at just nothing at all. Milly who is sixteen months old now was quiet and calm until they got Mozart. Now he is leading her astray!
Both dogs, led by Mozart, go ballistic before walks, barking and jumping all over the place, and once out of the door Mozart in particular is straining ahead on his lead. Barking starts before they leave the house and continues all down the road. Tiny Mozart even took on an off-lead Staffordshire Bull Terrier and bit it! Fortunately the Staffie was good-natured.
The people like to take the dogs with them to work at their shops, where they are put on the counter, safe from human feet and from running out of the door. Milly loves the attention and fuss she attracts, but it’s a different matter for Mozart. He is in a very vulnerable position for a dog that is more nervous. People, children in particular, can spook him. They come up to him and put their hands out over him to touch him. Usually he is already barking as they come into the shop. He will also bark at people and dogs going past the window.
Mozart needs everything done to reduce his stress levels. I fear that by whilst he is being subjected to unwanted attention and the stress of being in the shop, this won’t happen. Accompanying them to work to be placed on the counter is probably much more stressful than being left at home, even if the day is long. The dogs do have one another. Understandably the owners are not happy about leaving their dogs alone for hours and nor would I be. They are going to consider various different options for them.
Meanwhile both dogs will be learning that walks don’t happen until they are calm and quiet, and that if they bark once outside the door they will come straight back in again. There is no hope of calm happy walks if there is bedlam before they even step out! The owners realise that this will need a lot of patience and there will be little in the way of ‘proper’ walks for a while which is OK – the dogs only have little legs! Loose lead garden work with calm dogs is the way to start, with lots of ‘ins and outs’ through the front door. If they can find a happy alternative to taking the dogs to work, then they should make very good progress.
Little Mozart should then start to calm down, and little Milly can go back to being her laid-back old self.