I’ve not written since Thursday which is a record for me so far on this blog. Bit upset with myself for letting something pretty insignificant get the better of me, but will share with you anyway.
As you know (or may not), I’ve had a bit of trouble letting Tommy off lead because of a few things, these are a) other dogs being around and not knowing if they are aggressive or not, b) with other people around as Tommy has a tendency to jump up and c) just because I have been a little bit of a coward after Tommy’s ‘attack’ a few months back.
However, I finally decided to let him off lead down our local park with my mum’s friend and her dog. I was nervous but I knew the lady and her dog and so did Tommy. I took the bull by the horns and let him off, he loved it! Jumping around, playing ball and generally the happiest I have ever seen him. My nerves started to disappear, I would watch him run around, watch him go a bit further out, but making sure he’d always come back. Even if he went too far I’d shout for him and he would come. So all in all a wonderful success and a happy happy dog. Dog happy = me very happy and content.
So I took Tommy down the park a few times, met other dog owners down there but I had a feeling it was all starting to become a little too clicky for me. You know when you feel like this when you hear them talking about other dog owners, how bad they are at keeping their dogs under control or just being a little bit too opinionated about others and their dogs. I took it in my stride at first but I started to think, ‘well if they were talking about others like that, perhaps they were saying the same things about me?’ Anyway, Saturday I decided to pop down there straight after I’d been out all day just so I could give Tommy a real run around.
Once again, Tommy was flying around the park but this time we were joined by a lady who seemed to be a bit of a ‘Barbara Woodhouse’ and seemed (in my mind) to look down at you and your dog if you/he wasn’t quite as obedient as her dog. Who was the kind of dog who could to tricks, not move within yards away from her and would do everything she says. I think my thinking and feeling a little inadequate didn’t help, as Tommy does run around loopy for the first 10 mins and wants to meet everyone who comes within 100 yards of him! But remember he is only 7 months and still in ‘training’ – but I still felt she was looking down her nose a little bit at us – maybe it was just me but I didn’t feel like I could do /be as she wanted us to be.
So with this on my mind, I now think it didn’t help with my trying to train Tommy in coming back to me when he was running off. In hindsight looking back I should have just walked away from the group and played with him on our own. But, what I did was stay where I was, stood back and listened to the ‘bitchiness’ about other dogs and their owners. Tommy in the meantime was running away, chasing after other dogs, grabbing their tennis balls and even grabbing a football or two and running off with it. Embarrassingly I had to go over and sort it out, the girls who owned the ball were fine with him and actually thought it was fun. But I could feel all eyes on me, pressure to sort him out, so I did, I grabbed him put him on his lead and lead him away from the girls. On my return I could sense little comments and the look on their faces you’d think I’d just done the worst thing in the world and their was no coming back from it! So I promptly left them all to it and walked Tommy out of the park, only for ‘Barbara Woodhouse’ to come over offering me advice, that Tommy shouldn’t be let loose until he had been trained properly etc etc. I didn’t know what to say, except ‘thank you for your advice’ and just left.
Now you probably think I was being a little bit over the top but I felt really bad about it all, Tommy in my mind is a great dog, he isn’t perfect but a good boy. Yeah we have to work on a few things like, getting him to drop his ball and recall but generally he is pretty obedient. I guess I just wouldn’t comment on other people’s dogs (unless they were being treated cruely or badly), I understand that it’s not easy (coming from one who knows) and if it were the other way round I’d encourage and help instead of standback and talk about them, or critise.
Anyway, all in all it has knocked my confidence a little and I feel a little sad about it as I love walking Tommy and watching him go off lead. But it has taught me a lesson, a) that I still need to make more effort in training Tommy, b) understand that people need to know that they are doing their best with whatever they have got, c) I will no longer judge other’s when I have little understanding of what they have been through and d) to really work hard on not letting other’s attitude affect the way I do things and to go with my own gut instincts.
Tommy is my lovely dog and I will do everything to ensure he is happy, but for that to happen I need to be happy too.
Thanks for listening..
So I shall do what I want, when I want and where I want and will never feel indaquate again.
There I have said it. Let that be a lesson to you Paula!