Who wouldn’t want to appear casual, composed and in control when other dogs pass them on a leisurely walk through a housing estate? The very essence of peaceful serenity and calm is what is needed, right?
None of those words can describe my walks with Tilly as we saunter through our neighbourhood. And it is not for want of trying on my behalf. I may tense up like a coiled spring, but Tilly seems to have got a reputation for being a barker in the area. The growl, the tail wag and the pulling all seem to follow it.
I wanted the neighbourhood to see Tilly as the friendly dog I know and love, so something had to be done. With my partner in crime, we realised that Tilly’s love for food was probably the only thing that could ever vie for her attention against other dogs and win. It could also possibly steady her nerves.
So armed with gloves, bags and treats, we went to one of Tilly’s favourite walks: the local park. Every time her body tensed up and her attention was snatched by a passing dog, we would waft a doggy chocolate in front of her snout and the attention would return to the food.
It produced a calmer and more responsive dog. It also managed to stop Tilly from barking at every dog she met. Instead, she seemed happier herself and didn’t even flinch when a Staffordshire bull terrier sniffed Tilly’s backside to say hello.
Thanks to Me (not me exactly but another dog blogger) who suggested that I try the engage and disengage with Tilly. It definitely seems to be working. Thanks, Me. You can see their suggestion and a youtube clip here: https://evewebster.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/dealing-with-an-anxious-dog/#comments