Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Yellow dog.

It has been a fairly uneventful winter for us, hence a lack of posts. Since the weather has improved, it seems our usually quiet walk, has become popular. We mostly trot over the fields without having to socialise too much. We have seen the odd friendly native. The neighbours dogs are all familiar and deemed to be acceptable. There are a couple of black Labradors who always evoke a strong reaction. Muffin is not breedist. Some Black labradors , elicit a very excited response. She can spot friend or enemy from a good distance away. When it comes to Black Labradors, I can only tell which is which by looking at the human on the other end of the lead. Apart from these few dogs to whom she has reacted strongly , she has been doing very well at passing by with aloof disinterest then coming with a hopeful happy face to see if her efforts are treat worthy.

Sadly our safe but chilly winter bubble has now popped. The dogs are out in increasing numbers and many of them are off lead. Muffin now stays on her lead due to both her habit of going deaf when in pursuit of small furry creatures and also an occasional urge to go out of her way to shout at another dog. She has a long lead so some exploring is possible but she doesn't come off at all.

For a couple of weeks, we have had at least one off lead dog per walk, bounce over, bounce in her face and ignore their owners attempts to call them back. I normally have a dirty look of the human if Muffin has reacted. I have been surprisingly tolerant as am surely due some bad canine etiquette karma for my initial ignorance in terms of the world of terrier. My learning curve has been more of a roller coaster but we are still hanging in there. The encounters are remarkably similar, if the owner is close enough. 'it's okay, he is friendly'

'she isn't'
'Oh well he will soon move'
'yes but we are working on reactivity as strange dogs make her stressed'

Having recently taken up sewing for a hobby, I decided to use some natty yellow polka dot material to make a little vest

Somewhat optimistically, I hoped the meaning of Yellow on a dog is universally understood. I carefully embroidered the words for those who may be new to the concept and just to highlight the point further, I added a rocket ship. The main problem became apparent quickly. Dogs can't read and the owners are usually so far away that they probably can't even see Muffin, let alone her vest. Straight after being accosted while wearing her vest, she decided to take a dip in a ditch which she had resisted going in for most of the year.  A cynical human would suspect an attempt to sabotage the vest.                                                                    
We gave it another go today. Not a success! I am thinking that since it has now been ripped off by an off lead marauder, maybe we can fashion it into a ribbon for her lead.                                                        
Credit where it is due though, this morning she was surrounded by lurchers and stayed calm, she did not react while her vest was ripped off this evening (probably secretly delighted) Yesterday she walked calmly passed three dogs straight after being set on by another off lead dog.  She has come a long way.  Sometimes Yellow has the unhappy reputation of being  the colour representing cowardice but  I could not be prouder of my brave little dog .

My next move may well be a big yellow vest for me stating 'WE NEED SPACE'