I bet you’re thinking: Sage? Never! There’s never a mud-puddle she doesn’t like. 🙂 But, yes. I have to admit there are situations where I am afraid.
I don’t often do the snarling, lunging, I’m-gonna-get-you type of afraid, but every once in a while that behavior comes out–usually when Mom least expects it. Like when we’ve just walked out the front door and another dog walks by. I scream: THIS IS MY HOUSE AND I’M THE PROTECTOR OF ALL!
If Mom is ready with a treat and keeps holding it while I try to eat it, it doesn’t happen. Mom says it’s ‘distraction’. I say it’s…..um, ‘distraction’. Or when we walk by a certain house and the dog rushes the fence at me–YOWZIE–I don’t even like to see this dog when we meet on the street now. I’m embarrassed to say I’m a snarling, lunging mess. We don’t go by that house any more–or at least we cross the street before we get to it.
I think my biggest fear is being around a lot of dogs in a confined space–like a dog park. It all started when I was about 17-months old. We had been going to an indoor dog park ever since I was a wee lass and I loved it. But I started becoming more aware of what was going on–dogs loudly wrestling; a fight or two; and the constant in-your-face behavior when we tried to go into the park.
So, I put my foot down. Well, all four of them, to be exact. NO MORE.
Then, I was bullied at another park by a nasty, in-your-face dog. He just wouldn’t stop barking at my face. I got so scared I ran across the street into someone’s garage. Mom was SOOOOOO mad at the other dog’s owner.
Mom here: There are lots of dog parks where we live, but many dog owners are either not in control of their dog or they have no clue about dog etiquette. The only places we now go are those with wide open spaces where Sage doesn’t feel trapped. She excels there and is enormously happy.
I guess the main theme of my fears is other dogs. I’m comfortable with my buds after I get to know them. But I was even afraid in my agility class when we first went to a group setting with just me and two other dogs–I hid under Mom’s chair. But now? Wow, I love going! It just took a while to realize that no one was going to attack me.
Mom here: Sage definitely exhibits some fear-aggression at times when she feels trapped, especially in small, enclosed spaces. It’s normally exhibited in the flight, rather than the fight, response. Often she just shuts down and stands behind me–I definitely try to avoid the “flight” part (fortunately she doesn’t go far and comes right to me). If we can’t avoid a situation, I use treats, or, if we’re out walking in the neighborhood and encounter another dog, we just sit and wait until they pass.