The chance dog to dog encounter was simply at the wrong time and in the wrong place.
This has set off a chain reaction leading to Paz now barking at other dogs she sees and her anxious owner’s walks ruined.
A single dog to dog encounter can be the start of something big.
I have always thought how happy the dog looks and how nice the man is with her.
Too often I’m tempted to stop and tell people what I think about their forcing their spaniels that would rather potter and sniff, to run beside bikes. Or to tell the owners of a poor dog trying to scarpe off his Halti on the path about Perfect Fit harnesses. Or to show someone jerking the lead how easy it is to get a dog to walk on a loose leash.
I have also wanted to stop this gentleman to say how I enjoy seeing him walking his lovely dog around my village.
Paz and her gentleman wander. She’s allowed to sniff. She wears a comfortable harness. I have seen them at all different times of day and evening. I thought that the man must spend all his time walking her. The fact is, he works shifts and still manages to walk her three times a day.
The young man found Paz in a bin six years ago. She was about one day old.
He hand-reared her. He has done miracles with her, somehow avoiding the pitfalls of hand-reared puppies that haven’t had the interaction with mother or siblings.
A couple of years ago they came over here from Italy. Paz adapted well to the change. She really has had no problems until something that was triggered a couple of weeks ago.
In a narrow alleyway, two small dogs suddenly came out of a gate and Paz pounced on them, seemingly aggressively.
This is a classic example of ‘trigger stacking‘ where a sequence of events builds up stress in the dog. Stress ‘loads the gun’. One occurrence too many can then be the final straw.
These two dogs were the final straw for Paz.
She will undoubtedly have been less relaxed than usual. Her gentleman was away for a while which will have been unusual. He had arranged for another person to walk her which hadn’t happened before.
The previous day these same two little dogs had barked at Paz but she hadn’t taken any notice.
This day, however, as they came out of the gate Paz lunged at them. No doubt the inexperienced dog walker will have reacted in a harsh way, something the young man would never have done. Maybe it was his human reaction that triggered the final bullet, so to speak.
A single unfortunate dog to dog encounter in the wrong place at the wrong time that’s caused fallout.
Now Paz is alert and ready to bark at other dogs she meets.
The poor man is very unhappy. For Paz’ sake he is now avoiding dogs wherever possible. I feel sad for him.
His own tension will certainly be transferring to Paz and making things worse. They must be very close.
We have a couple of Boxers near to my house that are left in the garden. When someone walks past they get so angry they then start fighting one another. Many local dogs have been ‘contaminated’ by them, now being wary of dogs they pass. Paz, however, would walk past and ignore them but not any longer.
Paz no longer feels safe.
From this single badly-timed dog to dog encounter her life has changed.
Fortunately it’s not gone on for long enough to become ingrained. Instead of simply avoiding all dogs now, the man will be watching and reading her. He will give her the space she needs, but only if she needs it. Seeing other dogs at a comfortable distance he will pair with food – she will do anything for food!
He will be happy and upbeat when they see a dog approaching and hopefully this little nightmare will soon end. Paz will be back to her old self.
The person walking her at the time of her dog to dog encounter very likely reacted in a way that scared her more than the encounter itself. Paz’ gentleman needs to keep reassuring her that he will keep her safe – just as he always has done.
If it turns out to be not that simple to reverse the situation, I will go out with them and we can work on it in more depth.
From being found in a bin, hand-reared and walking happily around other dogs for six years, one unfortunate dog to dog encounter can’t be allowed to cast this shadow on their lives.