Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

A call for advice – Daisy’s gone reactive!

Ack!! I don’t know what’s suddenly gotten into our little miss, but she’s suddenly become a reactive dog when we take her for walks. And she’s barking at every little thing she hears at home, too.

When we would walk her and we came upon another dog walker, Daisy was always friendly. Now all of a sudden she’s straining at the leash, barking up a storm, and occasionally throwing in a little growl as well. All of this happened within the past two weeks, and we want to stop it right away. Our dog walking neighbors now cross the street when they see us coming, and that has to stop. I don’t even want to take her to PetSmart until we fix this thing – close quarters are no place for a reactive dog.

A lot of the advice I see online asks us to work with a friend who has a dog; well, that’s not possible for us. Only one of my friends has a dog, and her dog is completely antisocial. We can’t even walk our dogs together anymore, he’s gotten so bad. So that’s out.

I’m becoming very confused by all the instructions I’ve found online because some actually contradict others. We need to start something now, before this behavior really takes hold and maybe even escalates.

Can anyone recommend a good website or technique that you know works? We’d really appreciate the help!

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“She Felled Me Like A Tree….”

That quote came from DD after a particularly bruising experience with Daisy this weekend. 😦

I'm sorry, DD. I just wanted to play with the bird.

Yesterday DD took Daisy out back for her morning run. As usual, Daisy spotted a bird on the ground and gave chase. No biggie there.

BUT – as they got close to the bird at top speed, the bird didn’t fly away. Its wing was broken, and it just stood there, probably terrorized. DD tried to stop Daisy but the grass was wet and slippery from an early morning thunderstorm. And Daisy, although small, is VERY strong – this pup’s ALL muscle.

Well, Daisy kept pulling and DD tried to stop running and the next thing she knew – BAM! – she had slipped on the wet grass and hit the ground on her hip. “Felled like a tree.” By a 15 pound Havachon. Who’d have thought it possible??

But that’s not the worst of it. Daisy spun around and kept pulling with all her might – and she backed right out of her harness! She immediately charged the poor crippled bird and was on it before DD could scramble to her feet. All I heard from inside the house was “NO! DAISY NO! NO!”

I looked out the window and saw DD standing over Daisy, trying to pick her up and having a hard time with her. I saw Daisy pawing wildly at something on the ground – I figured it was a rabbit nest, but it was the injured bird.

Finally DD got Daisy into her arms and came panting back to the house, dragging the limp leash and harness behind her.

They were a mess. Soaking wet and covered in wet grass clippings; Daisy’s white paws were green. Poor DD was so upset about the bird and the fact that Daisy had escaped from the harness!

Psst - don't tell Mommy, but I really enjoyed catching that bird!

I’m happy to report that the bird was okay. We saw him a little later walking around by the fence; I hope he was able to make it to safety somewhere.

We discovered that Daisy had slipped her harness because it was just a little too loose around her body, and when she yanked backward, it slipped over her front leg shoulders and set her free. Thank goodness we weren’t on a busy main street somewhere! And we were lucky that the bird had her attention, otherwise she’d have been almost impossible to catch if she’d raced around our big yard. Plus she could have escaped in one of the areas where the soil has eroded under the fence, giving a small dog like Daisy enough clearance to army-crawl under it!

Lesson learned. We were so concerned about Daisy’s comfort in the harness that we didn’t realize we’d loosened it too much. Now it’s fitting snugly again and we tested it on her to make sure she can’t escape.

We’re still a bit jittery from the experience, though. Especially DD, who’s nursing a big bruise on her hip – but that pain is nothing compared to the painful thought of possibly losing her Daisy!

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