Face the is­sue

Macclesfield Express - - DOGFATHER -

IT’S very com­mon for own­ers to avoid sit­u­a­tions their dogs dis­like.

Most own­ers with ner­vous or bois­ter­ous dogs will choose a walk where they won’t meet any other dogs. Some own­ers avoid traf­fic, cy­clists or run­ners.

This might avoid an in­ci­dent, but it won’t solve the prob­lem.

My lit­tle res­cue dog El­lie was ter­ri­fied of horses and cat­tle, so I made a point of in­tro­duc­ing her in con­trolled cir­cum­stances where I could guar­an­tee a good ex­pe­ri­ence (usu­ally with a fence be­tween her and the cat­tle).

Once she ad­justed I walked her in open fields on the lead where I knew we would see horses and cows. Lit­tle by lit­tle she be­came de­sen­si­tised and now gives them no at­ten­tion.

The key el­e­ment in this process is you. Fuss­ing and pet­ting a stressed dog will just ex­ac­er­bate the sit­u­a­tion. You must re­main calm and as­sertive un­til your dog draws from your con­fi­dence.

Ag­gres­sion to other dogs is the num­ber one rea­son peo­ple call me out and avoid­ance is def­i­nitely no an­swer. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that ag­gres­sion to other dogs is of­ten trig­gered by the han­dler.

The mo­ment you be­come anx­ious your dog will know and re­act to the neg­a­tive pic­ture you have in your head.

It is vi­tal to have your dog walk­ing be­side you on a loose lead, not pulling in front. You will need calm, bal­anced dogs to help you with this re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion process.

You can’t do it in the park where any­thing could hap­pen. Your dog must re­main safe.

Help is at hand: visit my web­site, www.vicbar­low. com or text 07590 560012 to join one of my classes.

●● Vic Bar­low train­ing

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