I've been such a fool(5 Posts)
Went for the first muzzled walk today, got home, called a behaviourist (recommended by my dog walker, apbc reg so I presume decent..) and did a Google.
How on earth did I not realise how bad things were?
I feel so guilty. And stupid.
She's really high up on the aggression ladder.
The high tail, upright ears and forward stance I thought was her trying to be friendly and confident on sighting a dog turn out to be a sign of high arousal/impending attack.
The little freezes I never paid any attention to are a warning to back off.
I thought her lip curls and growls, occasional air snaps were harmless requests to calm down and get space, especicially given that she generally got on just fine, even played with, dogs she had just growled at a lot of the time.
I thought nothing of the head turns I often saw dogs meeting her exhibiting, until I read they are a calming signal, done to diffuse tension when a dog feels the other one is being threatening.
I thought her little habit of running towards me on sighting a dog then towards dog, back to me, to dog was just herding behaviour (collie)
Ditto for the sheepdog crouch she would do sometimes before getting up and going over to greet them.
I thought the fact she would ultimately go and greet them (herself, no force) meant she wasn't scared of them because if she was she just wouldn't approach, right?
I feel so stupid.
I had to inform her dog walker/boarder that she had started nipping (the reason behind the muzzle) and she is now being re assessed soon as she was supposed to be going on holiday with them soon.
This cannot happen if they see any aggressive behaviour from her.
The thing that upsets me most I think, is they never mentioned any concerning behaviour from her, in fact, I have many photos of her looking so happy sitting with other dogs, walking with other dogs, eating food near other dogs, which makes me think her aggression and unease must somehow be down to me as it only seems to surface when I am around.
There's no real point to my post I suppose, I just feel really sad.
Guilty I never recognised the signs, concerned it only appears to be when I am around and worried she will never recover.
To think me and my DH were even thinking of getting a second dog soon, we are on a waiting list for next year.
I'm sorry to hear this, but now that you are aware (and I didn't know all of these either), you'll be better at reading your dog's body language... each positive interaction builds their confidence and reduce the anxiety.
Just keep a close eye and step in/remove dog if they are looking stressed. And by remove I mean in positive way, calling excitedly, treats close to hand, praise and rewards, lots of happy voice chatting etc. Baby steps, and better to be aware than ignorant and forcing them into these situations/ignoring it until the stress levels increase.
SnappymcSnappy you are a star and a brilliant owner
Look at your educated and considered post!
You are now recognising all those very very subtle signals that most owners ignore or do not even notice.
I promise you with your level of observation and help from a behaviourist your dog is going to have a much happier stress free life and the knock on will be an easier more enjoyable dog ownership for you.
Don't right off having another dog - put some time into the one you have and see how things go.
I am sorry that you feel sad but this is one of the most positive posts I have seen on the dog house. You are seeing the issue in an intelligent way and are working to improve it
Good luck and enjoy the journey it will be worth it
Absolutely what Vallahal said.
Please don't feel stupid. Owning a dog is a learning curve and you've made sure you've educated yourself and are dealing with the situation in a positive way.
How many dog owners would miss those signs and not know of them, an awful lot I imagine.
I hope you manage to sort out her issues. Wish you lots of luck.
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