Just look at this dog! Isn’t she wonderful?
Billie is a four-year-old Aylestone Bulldog and they have had her for six weeks. Previous to this she had been used as a breeding bitch and ended up in a shelter, so she probably didn’t have a very good life.
She certainly has a good life now.
Scared – attack may be the best form of defense
She is sweet-natured dog, maybe a little worried. She is a dream at home, but out on walks she is reactive to other dogs – obviously scared.
She has injuries on her legs which look very much like she’s been attacked or bullied by other dogs in her past life, so it’s no wonder she’s wary. Dogs that are scared, trapped on lead in particular, are very likely to take the approach that attack is the best form of defence.
In Billie’s case she will certainly also be picking up on the anxiety of her lady owner. Their previous rescue dog had escaped out the front and went for another dog, injuring it badly, and the poor lady witnessed this. Understandably, she’s not relaxed with Billie around other dogs and this message is sure to be passing down the lead. She is almost expecting him to attack or be attacked.
The walking equipment they use could be better. If more robust, it would help them to feel more confident. It would also help Billie to feel more comfortable.
Fallout from dreadful advice
With their previous dog they called out a member of the BarkBusters franchise and I don’t mind mentioning them by name because Billie’s humans have been taught by them.
BarkBuster’s system is one of terrorising a ‘disobedient’ dog. They advocate things like throwing chains on the floor in front of the already scared and reactive dog (something Billie’s people don’t do). The use ‘correction’ or spraying the dog with water when it’s not ‘behaving’. It’s not far short of asking the owners to attack their own dog.
This has made the situation far worse. If a dog is afraid, no amount of bullying will cure the fear. If it seems to work, then it is because the dog is terrorised and has shut down.
How can people be asked to do this to the dog they love? Owners can be so desperate for help that they put their trust in so-called ‘professionals’, but the bottom line is that there is no such thing as a quick fix. Someone said ‘quick fixes usually become unstuck’.
At present when poor Billie reacts to another dog. She will be feeling the tension of her nervous owner down the lead while she’s ‘corrected’. This will be uncomfortable on her neck, she will be told NO and may be sprayed with water. No wonder she is increasingly believing that other dogs mean trouble – because they do!
Attack them and they may go away.
With positive, reward-based and understanding methods they can turn things around for their beautiful dog.