The spaniel got into an altercation just now over in the field with a dog that he has previously been ok with. He started it (over a fucking tennis ball) and the big, soft, black lab finished it. The spaniel has a puncture wound behind his main pad on his front right foot. It has stopped bleeding, and I've washed it out, applied antibacterial ointment and bandaged it. He is limping in quite a pronounced way. This comes just a month after he badly cut his front left pad. In fact, he's still limping a bit on that side, so maybe he'll be a bit more evened out. I am very upset, demoralised, fucked off, miserable and a million other things right now, but do you think he needs to see a vet? Or is it one of those things that just needs to heal? Please don't anyone flame me, I don't think I could take it.
So sorry this has happened. Just to endorse previous posters, one of our reactive greyhounds wears a muzzle on walks (and also because he's a gannet!) - he's absolutely fine with it, can eat, drink, pant, etc. It does send a message to other dog walkers too, which can be handy.
YY to hiring/borrowing a field/enclosed space for safe offlead play. We use one of these regularly for our four greyhounds and it's actually used a lot by non pointy dogs - for instance there's a husky with no recall who uses it, and several dogs in training. It's great to have a safe open space where you can practice recall for instance without unwanted distractions. Check with your local sighthound rescue - they will know the best local spots. If you know anyone with horses, indoor schools are fabulous or securely fenced menages outdoors.
Twice a week I drive him off to the middle of nowhere so he can walk off lead and at weekends he goes to my DP's work because it's locked up, we have the keys and no-one else is there then...it's not huge but it's big enough for fetch and some training.
We have a small set of agility equipment in the garden, I got it from Zooplus. Just got the jump and tunnel up at the moment, but there's also poles and a circular jump. It was about £65/70 and is better quality than I imagined for the price (compared to 'real' agility equipment iyswim?).
At our agility club there is a reactive on lead collie. She has other issues too and was a rescue dog with an experienced and fab owner.
When it's her turn, both groups stop completely, allow her to practise, then she goes outside with her.
To me, it looks like the dog is clearly over threshold (tons of dogs, noise, small arena - it's hard for a well socialised dog to concentrate tbh), but then she does the circuits and the enjoyment and joy she clear gets from doing it make me see that it's clearly a balance the owner is willing to try to negotiate.
MY eldest spaniel loves agilty, we've just started, but it's great fun
My dh's mood was directly related to the vet bill ours landed us with yesterday as well. Wouldn't mind, but I used my blooming Christmas money to pay for it this time anyway.
Had another thought - can you get to any beaches Snakey? We are totally landlocked here, takes hours to get to any coastline, but I used to find beaches were the best for my boy as you can see people coming a mile off. When we lived in Lancs we used to head over to Blackpool a couple of times a week and give him a really good run from the South Shore carpark, as the sea is so far out there's loads of room and you can easily avoid other dogs. We also used to go on holiday out of season once or twice a year to a place where we practically had the beach to ourselves and he'd spend 10 days or so having lots of freedom then.
My lad didn't get anywhere near as much off-lead exercise as another dog of his type would have, but he was safe, healthy, really well cared for and knew how much he was loved. The alternative was pts, which we came close to early on (he was both dog and people fear aggressive and huge) but just couldn't go through with. I used to fret that it wasn't enough at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight I can now see that it was right for him, putting him in situations that were over-threshold just caused him distress, he was never going to be able to cope with it, so we gave him the best life we could within the parameters he could handle - and he was happy. He was far happier with a good solid half an hours frisbee or ball chase in the garden with the dogs and people he loved, than he would have been with a walk in a park full of people and dogs that he was terrified of.
If I could have had a house in the country with lots of well fenced land for him to wander, that would have been perfect and I often dreamed about it (and tried to win the lottery) but we had to do what we could with the resources we had available to us at the time.