Sky is scared of metallic noises and wheels – especially young boys on those popular little scooters going past her garden and when out on walks. There are several living in their road. Listening for them passing her garden is becoming obsessive. She barks and charges about and gets very upset, and then take it out on the wheels of their wheelie bin! They manage to stop her barking by threatening to spray her with water, but to me that is like putting a sticking plaster on a dirty wound. It still festers underneath, getting worse, unless the cause of the problem is healed. Punishing barking is never a good idea. The dog is, in her mind, protecting herself and the family. Would we punish a child who screamed from the window ‘Help there is a man with a machine gun coming up the path’?
The final straw was when Sky managed to squeeze past them at the front door to chase a passing boy on a scooter. He dropped it and ran, and Sky ran after him. It demonstrates what a good dog she is that when she was told Come Back she did so.
Sky is also very scared of the metal ironing board, a metal ladder and noises associated with small wheels. This all seemed to start a while ago when she had a major hip operation, and I wonder whether the metallic sound of the cages being shut at the vets may have over-sensitised her so she now associates these sounds with a scary time in her life. We will never know.
The important thing is to find a way forward. This will be done by reducing all stress as far as possible along with not feeding her other little obsessive habits, like demanding ball play over and over, biting a table when the draw is opened and ‘catching’ feet. On walks, instead of allowing her to decide what to do when they encounter young children or scooters, they will make the decision for her – and lead her away to where she feels safe.
Then, with that and other groundwork in place, they will begin to desensitise her to metallic sounds and small wheels.