Black Lab Daisy, four, and older Jack Russell Betty have a wonderful life. They run beside the family’s horses each day, and accompany them to the stables. They are loved dearly. So long as they are not over-excited, they are polite and sociable.
To start with, sitting peacefully in the sitting room with the lady, gentleman and their teenage daughter I was wondering why I was called out. Then the eighteen-year-old son came home with massive excitement, sat down and roughed the dogs up – stirring Betty in particular into a frenzy. He then departed as quickly as he had come in, leaving Betty to unwind somehow, which she did by taking it out on Daisy.
Just imagine tickling and throwing a young child around until it was hysterical and still not stopping? It would end in tears for sure. It may be done in the name of love, but is it kind? No!
This was something I noticed, but not what I was called for. There are two issues that trouble them. One is quite persistent barking at the window – initated by Jack Russell Betty, through the garden fence at the dog next door and at the front door. Barking causes yet more barking. Stressed dogs bark and barking makes dogs stressed!
The second issue is that they are unable to take Daisy out with them away from home, because she is impossible on lead. They had her from about eighteen months old and she had probably never been on a lead prior to that. She pulls so much it’s painful to hold her. They recently tried a trip to the pub garden where Daisy became stressed at people or dogs coming towards them where they sat. It is no wonder, given the state she must have been in by the time she got there.
Because these dogs have plenty of exercise, this is easier for her people than most as they can take their time, working at it bit by bit. The golden rule of ‘never again does your dog go anywhere on a tight lead’ (I show them how) won’t mean that it’s a trade-off between exercise and walking nicely.
At least twice a day they go though the door to go over to the stables where they keep the horses – and Daisy is away! She leaps into other people’s gardens, scavenges for bread put out for the birds, charges all over the place – ending up at the stables ahead of them. When loose lead walking is established in the garden and out the front, it can slowly be introduced, a few yards at a time, into the journey to the stables!