Monday, March 5, 2012

Owning a Reactive Dog

So after a few tears last night and thinking of how all of this must be perceived by other people with even-tempered dogs, I thought I might share a few quotes with you about what the experience is like.  Understand this is not so much wallowing as it is commiserating with those with reactive dogs and trying to somewhat educate those without as to what it is like being me, with THREE (count them, three) reactive dogs.

 I am out here for you. You don't know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU. It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about, ok? -Jerry Maguire

I take my dog out in the "real world" with a bunch of other unreliable dogs and people who think they know how to interact with dogs.  Despite my best planning about which way to face my car, when to open the door, when to let my dog see you, how close to get, and what method of behavior modification I choose, I won't win some (30%) of the battles I enter.  Then the uninitiated judge how I must have abused my dog/not socialized my dog/not trained my dog.  It is a "pride-swallowing siege"....for certain.


Andy Dufresne: You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? 
Red: No. 
Andy Dufresne: They say it has no memory. That's where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory. 

Having had three reactive dogs (Winnie would bite another dog, Doppler doesn't like small dogs, and unneutered male dogs, Sagan generally leash reactive), I wish I was not developing a pattern with dogs.  I was very conscious with Sagan to not predetermine anything with him, yet he still ended up with the problem.  Does make one there a way to find a place with no memory with my next dog?


Wake up
Well it's nice to meet you
Do you have a name?
'Cause I would like to teach you, baby
If it's unfamiliar
When the sharks are swimming
We will watch them kill ya, baby
Yeah, you
I'm a little shocked
'Cause I can see the future
Lookin' through your eyes
Don't you fall asleep
Don't you fall
It's only gonna take a little time


A conversation with Sagan....LOL.  Sometimes I wonder if he thinks this is what I do with sharks kill him.  I feel like I plead with him to trust me.


"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

— Niccolo Machiavelli
The Prince (1532)

Where I feel like I'm at. I don't know that I have the leadership skills to affect the kind of change I'm looking for. Wish me luck!


If you have a reactive dog, hopefully this resonates with you.  If you don't, hopefully this helps you understand some of the stresses those of with reactive dogs go through.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! I completely understand! My dog is reactive with unknown dogs, especially if she's on a leash. When I first adopted her, she would bark, lunge & freak out at other dogs on walks. We've made quite a bit of progress, but she's still reactive. She'll hang out with my friend's dogs, but not unknown dogs. The leash is a HUGE factor for her. Rescue Remedy is a staple in our house. It takes a lot to hold my tongue when strangers try to tell me what I'm doing wrong or how to "fix" her. One lady actually told me I need to kick her in the side like Cesar Millan does on his show. Um, how about I kick you instead? They don't know her story and need to mind their own business.

    I missed the Santa photos at the lesser known location (re: less chance of meeting other dogs) this year, so was toying with the idea of going to PetSmart. Decided it's not worth the stress on Suki.

    She can be difficult sometimes, but she's also the sweetest and most loving dog to me & other people. She's happy & well-loved, and that's what matters.