Boxers Ollie and Tess are real characters. Their dobs of black on white give them a comical expression, Ollie in particular. Brother and sister, they were rescued together a couple of years ago. Tess is a much calmer character, more confident, while Ollie is more reactive, more attention seeking and inclined to bark and jump up.
Their owners are keen walkers who would love to enjoy walking with their dogs, but they are becoming increasingly unhappy about Ollie’s behaviour on walks. Where Tess is friendly towards dogs and people, Ollie is very defensive. He will bark, lunge, and if he can get to another dog he will jump on it and make a lot of threatening noise. He’s not yet actually done any damage. He also has a habit, when another dog is nearby, of lying down and refusing to budge until the dog is nearly on top of him – and then he will lunge. He is a heavy dog. A Gentle Leader head collar is used, but that does not give the control and Ollie’s face just isn’t really the right shape for it.
So, once again, it’s a question of a dog being uncomfortable, stressed, defensive and scared around other dogs. Like with most of the other dogs I go to, the owners have done what most people traditionally think is the right thing to do. It’s what some of the TV programmes say. To hold on tightly and to keep going. To correct with the lead. If this hasn’t worked for a couple of years, if things are actually getting worse, then something different needs to be done. There is a quote I read somewhere, ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten’.
A dog that is hyped up from the start of the walk, who is uncomfortable due to tight lead on a collar or head collar and whose owner is tense, isn’t going to be in any right state of mind to encounter another dog. So, what would a wise and kind leader do in the circumstances?
If you live within my area, would you like me to help you too?