We all have insecurities on some level; be it weight, height, hair colour, education, experience, whatever…we have them. I guess I never thought other animals would experience them as well. It makes sense that they do but we’re always taught not to ‘humanize’ animals so your mind just doesn’t go down that path. Recently, however, my mind was changed when an animal behaviouralist told me that my little puppy’s aggression is really tied to insecurity.
About a year and a half ago I was lucky enough to welcome a gorgeous 11 month old Old English Sheepdog/Boarder Collie mix into my life. When I first met her she had a different name but having only gotten a hint of the life she was living I decided that it had to be change…and thus on October 30, 2011 Miss Molly Sock Paw was born.
I don’t know much about Molly’s first 11 months other than she’d been living in a garage because she kept fighting with the family’s other (smaller) dog who was kept in the house. It was tough not to judge the family as this was a puppy so full of love and eager to make you smile. But, she is very high energy and incredibly smart…so you definitely need your wits about you.
For the first few months I thought I might be in over my head. While completely house trained and having only lost one pair of running shoes and two bras, she was a handful to walk. Not only was she a puller…she could make a play for the Iditarod…but she would go into full attack mode with any dog, squirrel, cat, bike, and most especially, skateboarder. A year in a half in we have the pulling under control (she mostly walks rights beside me now) but everything else is still a stressor.
I’ve worked a bit with a local trainer but I’m not sure if his methods are the right thing for the Divine Miss “M” as neither of us were making progress and I was losing patience. As anyone who has a dog knows, you need to stay calm and collected as they feed off your energy. So here’s our challenge. I need to learn how to manage my emotions while encouraging my little girl to be more confident. And so tomorrow I begin working with a behaviouralist and I’m so excited about this opportunity that I thought I would write about our upcoming journey.
So here we go…