I have a shy dog.

Yes folks, Bri is a shy dog. She has been a shy girl since the day I picked her up at the airport.

Surely not a shy baby!

Surely not a shy baby!

From the time I first started socializing her when she was 11 weeks old it was painfully obvious that she was a very shy little girl. New situations made her very nervous, and little people especially made her hide behind my legs.

Since I got her I have learned a lot more about standing up for my dogs and their comforts. Holly is  a very friendly dog when it comes to people, plus she’s not the kind of dog that gets stopped by ogglers on the street on a frequent basis. Bri, on the other hand is stopped on every walk by someone wanting to know what she is, how much she weighs, how much she eats, telling me how pretty she is, and can they pet her.

Holly is about as outgoing as a dog can get around people.

Holly is about as outgoing as a dog can get around people.

Now, to her great credit Bri seems to trust my judgment of situations almost completely. If she gets uncomfortable with people’s proximity she moves away from them. She is unsure, but trusts that I will take care of her. I  have had to take steps to make sure I deserve that trust.

Most people seem to get the idea when she doesn’t come running to them that she does not go ga-ga over strangers and either admire her from afar or are very polite and appropriate when greeting her. I give them cheese treats and they usually put out a hand, kneel down and let her come to visit them. Thanks to wonderful people like this her confidence has risen greatly.

Unfortunately not all people are like this.

There are those idiots who come charging full force at her squealing about “the bear dog” that is “SOOOOOOOOO CUUUUUUUTE!!!!” Bri simply does not know what to do with these people and honestly until recently, I haven’t been great at handling them either. A simple statement of “She’s pretty shy.” Never does the trick. They inevitably follow trying to get at her.

In the past I have handled these situations pretty poorly. I haven’t done much and Bri has dealt with it in her usual way of tolerating and moving on. However, with my newly heightened sense of personal space and responsibility that I picked up during my sojourn in the South I find myself taking a much harder line with the idiotic petters than ever before.

Mellowed with time and practice, Holly, Bri and myself.

Mellowed with time and practice, Holly, Bri and myself.

The first time it happened was a few days ago, Bri and I were out on a little training jaunt by ourselves and someone comes charging up to pet her. My initial “Shy dog!” Warning didn’t have any effect so I proceeded to firmly tell them to stop and leave her alone, she’s shy. They kept reaching and trying to go around me so doing something I have never done before, I pushed their hand away and told them to leave my dog alone, she’s uncomfortable and doesn’t like to be molested by morons who don’t understand the first thing about canine body language.

This nasty outburst was followed by a brief stunned pause and then a huffy retreat by the would-be petter. Bri seems to be just a little more comfortable as I continue to keep her from being overwhelmed and I am quite proud of myself for having progressed to the point where I can do this without the kind of terrible anxiety this would have triggered in the past. The pups and I have come a long way together and I look forward to continuing onward!

We've all come a long way!

We’ve all come a long way!

Until Later,

Kat, Holly & Bri

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