Sitting patiently and being perfectly behaved.
Yesterday Elsa and I were out with some friends; enjoying the sunshine and cooler temps at a new outdoor mall. After our walk we decided to stop for a cup of tea at an outdoor place. I hung onto Elsa and her while my friend went inside to get our drinks. While she was inside I heard the first sound of an unhappy dog. I searched around and could not see it but I could most definitely hear it. What I could hear was the sound of a small attack dog.
It wasn't long until I finally got a glimpse of what was making all the noise. Under a woman's sweater emerged the culprit; a small golden colored chihuahua. He was not happy about our presence, the people passing by or the toddler wandering around the tables. The owner of the dog turned him onto his back and scolded him "hey, Cujo, knock it off." I don't know if his name was actually Cujo or if she was just referring to his behavior.
The woman, a friend and the dog were there almost the whole time we sat "trying" to enjoy our tea. Both Elsa and her canine friend were on edge. It's hard not to be when someone lets it be known that they want to attack you. The dog was a mass of tension, growling, spitting and barking at anyone who come near. Some people walked by, heading into the restaurant and received the onslaught of Cujo's wrath. Shaking my head I wondered why on earth they would bring this dog out? It was obviously not enjoyable for the owner, the dog or anyone else within range.
I watched as the dog attempted to accost anyone who dared to walk near his wide circle. What I was watching was how the woman was dealing with it. It was obvious that she was well use to this behavior; which again makes one wonder why she brought him with her. But anyhow, here they were and she was dealing with the behavior, doing everything wrong. As I said earlier, she turned him upside down, stuffed him in her sweater, covered his eyes, stared him down, held his muzzle and scolded. Of course all of this was fueling his anger.
What she should have done if she felt the need to bring Cujo out with her, was train. The woman should have been sitting far, far away from the triggers. The triggers being anything walking or moving past them. She should have had a bag of high value treats with her and offered them freely as people or dogs approached. In this type of situation she needed to have her dog far away from the triggers so that she could gain success and reward it. Too close to the trigger and she was setting her dog up for failure.
I am not saying that she shouldn't have taken her dog out into public. What I am saying is that she should not have been there adding fuel to the fire. What she was doing was helping to make a bigger monster out of her little Cujo; instead of trying to help him get over his hate of anything moving his way. She was in fact enabling him, which is never good. Ruining everyone else's time while out for some R&R is always a bad idea.
We were just about to leave our table due to the monster; as he was upsetting both Elsa and her friend, but the woman got up and put her coat on. Finally, they were leaving and taking Cujo with them. Sad, the only lessen learned by the tiny attacker yesterday was that anything coming his way was a bad thing. Sad.