Pixie did the best she’s done on a walk so far, which is funny because it started badly and it was a busy one!
We were out 20 minutes in the end (longest by far) as we were constantly having to dodge people, dogs, cats etc – all of which terrify her. Everytime I saw something I would say ‘this way!’ or, if the trigger was moving away, I’d let her watch.
She’s responding to that cue really well, and seems to appreciate praise on walks now 🙂 Still won’t take treats, but praise works and she’s offering eye contact so much!
To start with she wasn’t wanting to come out the door at all, even though she’s been doing really well at this. In the end I picked her up, she was trembling a lot but settled on a bench.
I put her down and we went off exploring, with her choosing the route and how close she went to me.
As she was sniffing about on the grass I noticed an older man across the road walking a black and tan JRT, taking an interest in Pixie. I guessed it was because they were the same colour / a similar size. I made sure the ‘keep your distance’ sleeve was very obvious, and gently began moving Pixie along.
I saw the man was crossing directly into us, so I gave Pixie a ‘this way!’ and we headed behind some houses to a car park. A fab route as it leads to a dead end where nobody would go, but there’s a handy exit onto the pavement too 😉
The man actually began following us up to the car park, and by now I was annoyed as I’d made it as obvious as possible not to approach us, and I DID NOT want Pixie getting scared or approached by a dog.
I called to him “Can you stop please, because she’s extremely fearful”, and the old man kept coming with a determined look on his face.
He shouted to me “Is she a puppy?” and by now Pixie was trembling because there was a man AND a dog (both big fears for her), and I was very pissed off and scared of managing it on my own.
I said again “Stop please, she is a rescue dog and very fearful!” He replied with “I think she looks like Basil here, doesn’t she?”
Thankfully we were near the exit onto the pavement by now so I scowled at him, continued with my praise to Pixie, and walked off.
I told my partner this, and he was very annoyed too. I told my parents and they laughed and both said “awww bless” because he ‘just wanted to talk dogs’.
I was really pissed off at this, and tried to calmly but firmly explain…
It does not matter if that man was lonely and wanted a chat, or if he’s a dog lover and enjoyed seeing a dog with similar colourings. What mattered is that I asked him to stop, and he didn’t.
What matters is that my girl is extremely fearful, and we have put almost a weeks’ effort into helping her gain confidence, and although she’s doing great, walks are still where she is most scared.
What matters is if that man and dog had reached us, and trapped Pixie, Pixie could have been forced to react. If she had bitten the dog or the man, it would have been counted as her fault, and she could even have been PTS for it.
We have two sleeves on our lead stating she is in training and to keep away. We have a bright yellow lead on the way that has the word ‘NERVOUS’ printed on it eight times, AND I called out to the man to ask us leave him alone.
That should have been enough.
And on top of that, I find it really hard to stand up to people. I have psychosis, and my struggles include paranoia, panic disorder, and a butt load of anxiety. I actually spoke to this guy, I tried my hardest to protect Pixie…and my efforts were ignored.
My parents were of the thinking that ‘he was just being friendly’…and I’m sorry but that’s not good enough. That’s not fair, and it’s not right.
It’s exactly the same as when people let their dogs charge up to a fearful dog, and shout “oh it’s okay, s/he’s friendly!” – that’s not the point. The point is my dog is SCARED, and I have asked you to keep yourself or your dog away.
My dog has a right to an enjoyable walk, and we even purposefully went out of our way to avoid him so he wouldn’t have to.
In my opinion that’s not funny or cute…it’s rude and dangerous.