I always say I won’t adopt a dog that I can’t handle. I have to be able to lift her into, and out of, the car by myself. I have to be strong enough that she won’t pull me down the street, when instinct takes over, all her training goes up in smoke as she goes haring after a cat or squirrel. This is one reason why Mr Spaghetti Legs is smaller than Little Monkey.
However, LM is still giving me a hard time!
The other day I’d walked my dogs most of the way round the block. I’d intended to go a little farther to the park, but the wind was cold and old SL was hobbling, so we kept it short.
I was waiting to cross the road when a car pulled up on the opposite side, and the guy asked for directions to a street nearby. I crossed over and started discussing with him where the road was. It’s a bit of a rabbit warren around our neighbourhood so we were having quite a chat, me with me head in the passenger side window, my dogs waiting patiently at the side.
Next thing LM bounds forwards, barking, and pulls me right off my feet. Fortunately it was a grass verge, but still! There I am, stretched out full length, and scrabbling to my feet, trying to reel her in at the same time, when she lunges forwards and pulls me over again!
I finally get her close enough and shove her into a down.
What caused all this? A neighbour had come round the corner with his small little floor mop dog, and LM freaked out! I mean really? *Still, after all these years? (I’ve had her over eight years.)
Freak over, she’s fine again. And get this, my neighbour is apologising to me! Of course, I apologised back profusely, but people are beginning to realise poor old LM is just anxious and overreacts. Once stopped and given time she’s fine again.
But the end result of all this is that she has wrenched my right wrist quite badly, and also my arm and shoulder. I can feel it all seizing up as I type this!
Next dog I get will have to be a Teacup Yorkie!!
*post script: Why does LM react this way? Before I adopted her, she was unsocialised for the first 18 months of her life. She missed out on all the important things a dog needs to learn, to be sociable and get along with other dogs; such as meeting lots of different dogs (and people) and exploring many different environments. A more balanced, confident dog may have coped with this lack of socislisation in its early life, but LM is an anxious dog, way down the pecking order of the pack, at the Omega end. She will never completely overcome her early upbringing, though we have made huge improvements.
What would LM have done if she had escaped the lead? She’d have run towards the little dog barking, stopped a few metres away, turned and trotted back to me. I think you’ll all agree this is not normal behaviour!
Why does LM freak out? She goes into instant terror when she sees another dog suddenly appear, from round the corner etc. She takes much longer than the average dog to understand that the new dog is not a threat. (Lack of puppy socialisation.)
That being said, she is superb at reading dog energies, and half the problem is that most of the dogs we encounter are not balanced. Their owners think their dogs are fine, but what I see, and what LM certainly sees, is a dog out in front of its owner, pulling on the lead, in the position of pack leader; a dog with high energy, or anxious energy; a dog all over the place and not listening to its owner. The calm, confident dogs we meet on our walks are very few and far between. Mr Spaghetti Legs is one, but of course, Little Monkey is not!