This is the “chicken lady” aka Vanessa. She has pouches full of chicken meat and we know it!
When she says “sit” and immediately our bums hit the ground! We await anxiously for those pieces of chicken that she throws on the ground I do my “please” Even a wave! Then it’s George’s turn – He seriously looks like a meerkat!Vanessa worked on George’s recall – and he was impressively good. But Mummy assured her, he’s not!!!
Sure enough he did run away and did his usual “distant look and run.” Vanessa then understood what Mummy meant. So he’s back on long lead training – which we know it’s a bore for him.
Vanessa also worked on our leaving each other alone when one is being given attention or treats. So when I had a treat, George had to wait. And when it was George’s turn, I had to stay in my place.May’s comment: I really wonder if the day will come when we can all go for a walk without worrying if George is going to do a runner – again. At the moment it is stressful walking with him. If he’s kept on the lead, he gets so frustrated he pulls and he barks. It makes walking with just Darcy alone like a breeze.
But the reason I had consulted with Vanessa who is a dog behaviourist is my curiosity about Darcy’s barking when she’s playing with George or other dogs. I thought maybe it’s because Darcy’s frustrated that the others don’t run fast enough for her. I would always say she’s very boisterous, urging others to play.
Instead I was told that “high levels of vocalisation during play indicates that the dog has a tendency towards feeling nervous and insecure.”
But when barking is followed by pleasant outcomes – the anxiety is replaced with confidence and self-reward. As she continues to bark, it gives me less control. And the barking trains them to become very quickly aroused during other situations, e.g. interacting with other dogs.
Play is also a behaviour that is very closely related to fighting, so one can become the other in the blink of an eye.
Increased vocalisation also indicates increased levels of frustration, which can also lead to aggression – either from the frustrated dog, as he is not getting what he wants, or from the targeted dog, that needs to escalate his behaviour to make the frustrated dog back away.
That’s what I am fearful of. If one day she barked at the wrong dog – she would find herself in deep trouble. I have seen that whenever any of those big dogs that she barked at came towards her, she would run and squeal with such fright. She’s actually afraid of them and the barking is her being vocally defensive.
So there are really days when I wonder if going for walks with the two of them will ever be stress free. Will Georgie get recall 100% or 90%? I worry that even if he knows how to come back, he is so small that he can easily get lost and I can’t see him. He was a stray and maybe four months isn’t long enough for him to forget his previous way of life – that his world has no boundaries.
Will Darcy learn to not bark when playing? I know she will but it means I can’t really take them both out at the same time for awhile as they each have to re-learn or unlearn their individual issues.
I always feel like I am disturbing the peaceful state of the parks when I am shouting after George all the time.