Welcome to my blog, I’m new at this, I’m also new-ish to having a dog. This is my journey with Luke Skywalker, my reactive first dog.
I never intended to get a puppy, I had literally just moved to Victoria BC in a new relationship and I had just made a major shift in my life. My partner and I were settling in and by chance and whim pulled into the Metchosin Farmers Market. We saw a man there with a dog and 8 little puppies on string and I laughed and said (and I quote)
“Some poor sucker is going home with a puppy and it’s not going to be us!”
We walked around that market as people gushed over those puppies. Not us! Not until Luke got his string loose and wandered right across the busy market undetected and stopped at me. I bent down and told him he was cute and that was where our relationship would end, but then he crawled up on my leg and snuggled in. We spent the afternoon in the makeshift parking lot talking to the owner and hanging out with Luke and his mom. I got his information and said I was only interested if that one didn’t find a home. 2 weeks later after another meet and a lot of talking he came home. I became that poor sucker.
One week later my partner said the puppy has to go, call and see if he will take him back. I left a message and 4 hours later when the call was returned we backed down and asked for the name of his moms vet. The very next day while walking around Langford Lake on leash a woman with two fully grown German sheperds said “Oh puppy!” And crossed the path to pet Luke while we were walking and her dogs attacked. My heart stopped, I lost it when one of them grabbed his tiny head, I thought he was going to be killed. I snatched him up and our troubles began.
Luke has a great memory, he never forgets a thing. To this day he freaks out when he sees a dog larger then himself and he is scared of Sheperds. He has one Shepherd that he likes from his reactive dog walk and it took months for him to get comfortable with him.
Luke is a Lab/Border Collie/Pitt cross. His head and heart are all Pitt, his OCD and need to work/energy is all Border Collie and he wags like a Lab. He’s extremely heavy and dense with muscle, also from the Pittbul. He’s sweet as they come as long as he knows you.
He’s been attacked about 10 times in his four years by dogs of every breed and size and he is afraid of people as well. He has never bitten anyone but he is frightening when he reacts, he will growl, raise his hackles and bark close and ferociously. He is a barker and I often think that perhaps I should have named him Bob Barker instead. This behavior has been met by the boot of the offending dogs owner. This is why we don’t trust people either. Those kicks only made his problems worse.
He is afraid to pee in his spot in his yard because another dog broke through the fence and attacked him in his safe place while he was peeing, ever since it is hit and miss for his pit. Luke is complex, it is exhausting trying to find a quiet safe place to throw a ball for him. We sit and wait hoping for 10 minutes of quiet wherever we go. At all other times he is leashed and under control. We have tried every product imaginable, and now has all tactical dog gear and we are starting to feel better. We suit up for battle when we leave the house.
Your dog may be friendly, mine is sadly not. My dog is under control, please keep yours under control as well. Please don’t let your dog off leash in leash only parks. These are the safe places we have because if everyone is under control we can walk safely without meeting and eventually Luke might believe me when I tell him he is safe at my side. He isn’t if your dog runs up. Please don’t let your little dogs out on a 25 foot extended leash, you have just allowed them the same freedom as off leash when we walk by on a four foot lead held at 1 foot on the second handle.
Luke and I are working very hard to feel safe. We are working very hard to help him relax and know that every dog and every stranger are not a threat. For Luke’s safety and for your dogs safety, keep your dog under control, because mine is until yours is in his face.
Welcome to our journey. We’re a work in progress and I am also trying to not be a reactive owner. Give us space, it’s so very obvious that we need it.