I reached for the door handle and froze; hearing the shrieking tires of a car that could not stop in time. Then came the all too familiar thud and crashing sound of two vehicles that have collided. Shivers ran down my spine and I took a big breath. It wasn't me, I'd missed the crash by only moments; but the remnants of my previous crashes are still with me. After being involved in 4 rear end crashes; 3 within a few years of each other, I'm shaken.
I continued into the gym; where I'd been headed when I heard the first sound of the crash. I realized that I had a bit of adrenaline in my body; I hate the feel of adrenaline, it's like a caffeine buzz. This of course led me to Elsa and her distrust of strange dogs. Isn't it funny what some people expect from our dogs; but yet we deal with the exact same issues. Just get over it, right? Wrong. Everyone is different and every dog is different. I know that there are some people who could not get in a car again after being rear ended so many times. None of the accidents I was in were ever my fault. The last one left me with the biggest issue; that whole screeching brakes sound behind you. I heard it and then they hit me, hard.
Elsa has had several incidents where she was very scared. One was when a huge Bouvier came out of nowhere and chased her; I hadn't even seen it coming. Elsa ran for her life; having not seen it or been able to read any body language. Next was the horrible Bulldog incident; when a very stupid lady walking her two out of control Bulldogs let one attack and latch onto Elsa. It knocked her to the ground and remained attached to her loin area. So yes, she does not trust strange dogs out of the shoot; and I do not blame her. I am very careful who we say "hi" to and have as many "friends" over to play for her. She ADORES other dogs who she knows and trusts. In fact I've never seen a dog love her friends more, it is who she is. But sadly life has taken away her trust of the unknown.
Given life issues that can be thrown at us and our dogs, we deal. I have worked with many dogs over the years who act aggressive due to being attacked. Of course they act aggressive; wouldn't we if someone attacked us out of the blue? What we do for our dogs after an incident is help them to move on. Elsa and I walk lots of different places where there are lots of dogs. I try to find the places with the least chance of loose dogs. I don't trust people, far more than I don't trust dogs. People don't know when their dogs should and should not be off leash.
Our dogs learn from us. If your dogs has had a fright of some sort; maybe a garbage can fell down right beside them on their daily walk. Now they can't walk past a garbage can without freaking out. Well, you bring a ton of treats with you and walk by, over and over and over and over again. You work at showing your dog that it is a non issue, how? By making it a non issue. No coddling, no stopping, no nothing. Swing your arms like you do normally as you walk and keep up the pace. You can talk happy talk along with it. But understand that your dog is indeed dealing with a fear; a real fear and we are here to help them.