Monday, June 8, 2015

Please Pardon Me While I Start The Day With A Rant

Yesterday I took the pups out for their usual evening stroll around the neighborhood.  When we were coming to this one house I saw the owner pull into the driveway and actually hesitated, trying to decide if I wanted to continue past or wait until they went into the house.  You see, these people have a dog and they tend to let her out without a leash.   We've met this dog a couple of times before, not by my choice but because she came running up their driveway and she's been 'ok'. But Doobie has terrible body language - always so stiff - and I've been watchful. 

When I saw the back of the car pop open, she had a look that just zeroed in on Doobie, then jumped out and was coming towards us like she was stalking while the owner was still in her car.  I started going more into the road and then she ARRRGH!  Charged at him and basically bowled him over.  Thank goodness she stopped at that.  She even looked like "Oh Crap! What did I do?"  As I picked Doobie up and headed for home, I heard her owner say that I shouldn't have been pulling the dogs away.   Excuse me?  
Normally, I have dropped the leashes when she comes up.  But she had THAT look in her eyes as soon as she saw him.  So I thought, "Uh-oh, we'll go into the road."  I wasn't "tugging" or pulling them, I just started going that way.   If anyone else had seen that dogs look and the way she came towards us... they may have been yanking and screaming.   It was scary! And they probably would have called Animal Control.  It's a disaster waiting to happen.  And when it does, it will be the owners fault for not taking the right precautions and the dog is the one who will suffer for it.

After I took the dogs home and made sure that Doobie was truly alright, physically,  I drove back over to her house to talk to her about the incident.  I'm amazed at how well I kept my composure. 

The owner knows that her dog reacts to dogs that are on leash being lead away and yet, she still takes these chances.  But what really struck me was when she said that this wouldn't have happened if she had the shock collar on her.  Who knows if that's true.   I have a feeling the shock collar may have been the WHY her dog reacts to dogs being lead away and WHY it happened.  It's very possible that when they were training with the shock collar, she may have been shocked at the exact time that a dog was being lead away.  Or every time a dog was being lead away.  

Picture this.  You are with your dog.  There's a dog near you and the owner starts to lead that dog away.  Your dog turns and maybe starts to follow and ZAP!  you shock it because that was unwanted behavior.  Makes sense in your mind, doesn't it?  

Now picture it from your dogs perspective.  She sees a dog being lead away, perhaps turned to watch or possible follow it and ZAP!  She can then associate the shock with the dog being lead away.  Therefore, to her, dogs being lead away equals pain.  She now has to stop those dogs on leash before she gets zapped.

Think about it.

I offered to work with the owner to see if we can't lessen this dogs reactions using positive methods and I think she's going to take me up on it.   Is there a guarantee that her dog would never react that way again?  No.  But it's worth a try.