The last few weeks have been difficult as Abby has decided that she will only be nice to dogs she currently knows or to unneutered males. This is making walks more like traversing enemy territory. One must scout what is coming around the bend and try to get Abby’s attention focussed on something or someone else until the dog moves on.
She is really good at hiding her intentions. Other owners will say, “But she is wagging her tail.” I have to tell them that it is not wagging but a tail held tight with excitement that is moving back and forth as she tries to hold in the tension. The problem with her attitude is that she gets so excited that she will turn and bite anything. That anything is usually me, my jeans, and my coat. I have holes in my pants and coat and a nice scar on my leg.
Abby’s behaviour has made walks more tense. When a new dog comes along, I try to stay relaxed and make sure that the dog does not come too close. I also try to walk with dogs (and owners) that she has had a problem with. This usually works as they are now considered a bit of a pack so she accepts them without issue.
She is always on a leash now as I cannot trust her. The last time I let her off, she went after a lovely, old Labrador who was just hanging out as all the owners chatted. Everything was quiet and then Abby just looked up, saw this dog (even though we had been standing there for about 10 minutes) and just ran at it and tried to bite it. Thank goodness it was wearing a wool sweater to protect it. There was no damage done but I could no longer trust her.
Now, the biggest worry is about off-leash dogs. Dogs will run up and their owners shout, “Don’t worry. He (She) is friendly.” That leaves me shouting, “But my dog is not.” People with large dogs just say that is okay. They don’t realize that I am hanging on to what I can only describe as a tasmanian devil with larger teeth.
Ann agreed to babysit Abby for me for a couple of days. Before I was to go away, Ann and I met for the regular weekend walk. Unfortunately, Abby saw a dog that just set her off. She turned into a screaming, whirling dervish. Ann was stunned at the level of aggression that was displayed. I knew she was thinking, “Uh, I have to watch that crazy dog?” (I ended up not going away so she did not have worry after all.)
This behaviour is challenging. Abby was socialized and loved to play at the park with all dogs. I am starting to retrain her from the beginning to get her to relearn proper etiquette and that I am the boss (wish me luck with that one). I am also considering a muzzle.
Wish me luck!
Abby and her bestie Bridget: