Little Monkey is an anxious dog. She was unsocialised as a puppy, so is not good at meeting new dogs unexpectedly, or in confined spaces. She is fine if there is plenty of space, such as a field, which allows her time to study the new dog from a distance, and to keep away from it if she wishes.
However, when we are walking along roads, where she is necessarily on the lead, her escape route is limited. On most walks, if I see another dog coming towards us, I will cross the road to give us at least that space. This is tricky in itself, as Mr Spaghetti Legs is so slow; we need a large gap in traffic to cross safely. Yesterday, a couple of people were approaching, with their little dog running around all over the place, off-lead (by a busy road!) and I only just made it across the road before they came too close for the Idiot’s comfort.
Yet, a little further on, we had just rounded a corner, when I noticed the Idiot looking backwards. She had heard something coming from behind us. When I turned around, I saw a homeless man and his dog coming our way. They were walking rapidly on the other side of the road. The dog was a large Mop, with a dark grey shaggy coat, and in good health. It was a little in front of the man, and off-lead, but walking right by the kerb side and “in the zone”; looking neither to left or right; just trotting at a comfy pace and very happy to be going somewhere with his owner.
I had instantly gone up onto the grass verge, and got Little Monkey to sit down, but it was totally unnecessary. She was completely relaxed. I was amazed!!
Then I realised that she was reading the body language and energy of the street dog, and it was calm and confident.
I had thought that Little Monkey’s lack of socialisation meant that she would be anxious of all dogs, but found out yesterday, that it is only other anxious, or high energy, or over-friendly, or unbalanced dogs that freak her out.
This was a wonderful moment. To realise that the poor Monkey is not as bad as I have always thought. Merely that most of the dogs we meet are also crazy!