Need to get a grip but nothing seems to help.(9 Posts)
I have constant anxiety about waking my dog to the extent that I really don't enjoy it and I feel bad that my dog is missing out. My dog has been attacked fairly badly 3 times and I now find walking him very nerve wracking.
I do still walk him and he goes off lead pretty much everyday but I find myself scanning and assessing for other dogs / their size / their behaviour all the time to the extent that I physically breathe a sign of relief every time a walk comes to an end. My dog is coping far better than me - he did become quite anxious around other dogs for a time ( not reactive, but obviously nervous if a dog approached) , but has come on so much he is now much more sociable and regularly plays with other dogs although is probably still wary of much bigger dogs.
The problem is I just can't relax if I see unknown larger dogs and tend to alter our route and am constantly assessing situations. I also tend to walk in the same place every day as I know a lot of the dogs and know which ones to avoid. But we have so many lovely places locally that I don't go to because I am too scared of coming across unknown dogs who may attack.
I feel guilty that my dog gets walked in the same location every day ( albeit it's 100 acres or so and we take different routes). I am trying to walk with friends and their dogs where possible but I only really have one friend with a dog who doesn't use a dog walker and don't want her to feel like I am stalking her.
Just wondering if anyone else has felt similar / has any advice ?
Sorry obviously should say walking not waking in first para.
Invest in a walkers stick! Deterrent and weapon if necessary!!
I only really have one friend with a dog who doesn't use a dog walker and don't want her to feel like I am stalking her.
Explain the issue to her then, she'll probably be glad if walking with her helps your dog.
I'm so sorry to hear this. It must be very nerve wracking, completely understand.
I think it's really good that you and your dog are out walking. The more positive experiences you and the dog have the better.
Obviously you don't want your fear to affect the dog, but there is nothing wrong with trying to stick to areas where you will get to know regulars to start with. Keep your dog close to you, hopefully if you call him back before he meets a dog you don't know then you can try and manage any introductions. Some people will be rubbish and even if your dog is on a lead might not get their dog under control. One of my dogs hates other dogs in her face, I can't tell you the number of times I've had her on a lead while someone shouts at me that their dog "is fine"! Yeah, thanks.
Would it be possible for you to find a really good trainer locally? Maybe a recommended one? I ask because I think what you need is to get confidence back, and this is the sort of thing they can help you with as much as the dog. I have a great gun dog school near me and although I don't shoot, they have been fabulous for me and my dogs from a training perspective.
I wish you luck. So sad for this to happen to you. Dogs are amazing though, try not to think of it too much in a human way, the dog won't be as sentimental about this stuff as we are.
I think dogs are quite happy (possibly happiest?) when walked in very familiar surroundings.
Thanks all for the replies. It is definitely a case of me needing to regain my confidence. My legs physically go to jelly if I see a very large dog approaching. I did a year of training with ddog so know a good trainer who I can get back in touch with.
Thanks again for the support. Just to be told it's ok to walk in the same place regularly makes me feel better.
I know exactly how you feel baby, I've been there with DDog1 (rescue who was severely fear aggressive with other dogs) and much more recently with DWhippet1 (who is reactive after a few altercations with other dogs, the most recent of which resulted in him having major surgery with a very long recovery period). Feeling that you need to be constantly vigilant and have plans for escape should another dog appear really does take a lot of the fun out of walking
Definitely don't worry about walking in the same place. It might look the same every day to you but there will have been people, dogs, wildlife and all sorts in between walks leaving interesting smells to investigate. If you want to make the walks even more interesting you could try chucking some treats into long grass/undergrowth/rough terrain for him to sniff out.
For a bit of respite for you it's really worth looking to see if there are any secure fields for hire that you could take him to. When you're feeling really anxious about doing walks it's so nice to be able to just go somewhere you know is secure so you can have some nice, relaxed walking with your dog. I've done it since DWhippet1's surgery and it really has helped boost my confidence a lot. This website has a database of secure fields all over the UK.
Thanks* Cornflake* . Funnily enough I did a shorter offlead section of walking today mainly because ddog was scavenging poo almost constantly in between chasing his ball ! But instead I threw a load of treats around and got him to use his nose. I'm sure you are right about dogs not minding the same location but occasionally when I pluck up the courage to walk somewhere else I can see the excitement pouring off him, poor thing.
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