I never realised how it easy it was to produce real fear in dogs until Daisy got run over by a child on a scooter the other day. OK, so it’s not a car, but the child was going very fast down a hill, and hit Daisy head on. She was really worried for the rest of the walk back to the car, her tail was down and she pulled a lot. She has had things happen in the past, like being attacked by dogs, and she has bounced back no problem. But not this time.
It is like Daisy has got it in to her head that everything that moves or makes a noise is a dangerous threat. She is generally a vocal dog, she she communicates her distress by barking and lunging. She has been so distressed that she won’t take food from me, which is very unlike her. Cars, people, bikes, leaves, shadows – she is scared of them all.
My first thought was to change the way she feels about these perceived threats by using food to counter condition. But as she is too distressed for this. So I am waiting for her to calm down before I even open the door. Once she is relatively calm, I open the door and keep opening and closing until she stops barking and settles. As soon as she is outside, all her alert systems are so high, I struggle to get her focus.
In theory, I know what to do, but in practice, it is so much harder. I live on a busy road with lots of children and people about. Even having the window open is too much for Daisy. I want to help her, but I feel I am a bit out of my depth. And all this because of one moment. It may just be a scooter but it has damaged her psychologically. How long it will take for Daisy to be back to her playful, fun loving self, I just don’t know.