Honestly, in a crisis almost nobody reacts as quickly as a dog can and the choices are fight, flight or fight/flight. So since they are so quick and we are pretty darn slow we have to think our way through – I believe that’s supposed to be the reason for the big brain.
Porcupine, smell it, ouch! Get it, ouch! Get it harder with dodges and weaves in between. “Leave it.” Are you sure, with you right here I’m sure we could win. “Nope, leave it. We’ve got to get these quills out of you right now buddy.” Ow, whimper. “Just a little longer, good boy. Good thing I had the needle nosed pliers along.” Are you almost done, ah, leash on, but I think I could still get that thing its just in that hollow tree right there, right there. “Leave it, we don’t chase those, goof ball.” Oh, OK, not those…are you sure? “Lets play this other find game.” What, what am I supposed to find?
Postman; intruder coming with potentially bad object in hands, bark, bark, bark. He’s leaving, yeah, bark, bark, bark. “Thank you, good dog.” Oh, but I would like her to see. Ok, she’s not coming to look, better go check. “Good boy, sit pretty?” Mmm, nice treat. She sure didn’t seem worried about that man coming to the door. Ah, but now she’s going to look. “Wait.” Why’s the doorbell ringing, bark, bark, bark, but that’s? Oh, no one’s there. “Silly,” giggle. Hmm, yum. but the doorbell’s ringing. Wait a minute, no one’s there. yum, mmm. Knock, knock, knock. What? Oh, yum. If she’s going to just play with the door all day, mmm yum. I really like that doorbell. mmm, yum. “You’re so good. Good job.”
Chewbone; this is the best and its all mine, mine, mine. Wait a minute what does that kid think, grrr, grrr, no he can’t come and just take mine, mine. “Honey, that’s the dog’s you don’t get to have that. Buddy crate, you can take your chew with you. Honey, when you see a dog chewing or eating leave them alone and if any dog growls, leave them alone. They are are saying don’t come any closer, don’t mess with me or I might bite. Lets go read.”
Later without kid in area. “OK Buddy, we need to work on food guarding. We’re going to play a game.” Wait a minute she’s got my favorites, mmm a bone with peanut butter, nice. But wait she’s got chicken. Who needs the pb I want chicken. Chicken’s gone, ahh, pb, yum. She’s reaching for my pb and she’s got chicken! That chicken is done fast, good thing I have pb. She wants my pb, good idea, where’s the chicken. Yum. Oh now she’s got the chew, well who needs that, I like chicken. “Nice.”
Next phase, have someone else do easy trades.
Dogs are really quick in a crisis, that’s one of the reasons they are good at warning and being protective, but to make it so they don’t cause unwanted bills (vet or emergency) and trauma I need to manage and desensitize and offer up other options. And I want a confident dog that trusts me, not one that thinks I am a trickster or untrustworthy. The more they know about what actually is a crisis the less likely they are to make a mistake.
Have you had a doggy crisis? Did you help make it better or worse? Do you think I made a mistake in how I reacted? Especially the child interaction? Why?