This is a little story about my first dog Stella. Stella was a rescue dog and she was sold on Facebook at 8 weeks old because she was an unwanted Christmas present. She was saved by the wonderful organisation Fife Rottweiler Rescue and brought home to us at 14 weeks old.
We had this huge dream that she was not only going to be an awesome dog that could come with us to pubs and for long walks, she was also going to become an ambassador for her breed. Everyone would love her and say things like “I’ve never met a Rottweiler that is so lovely before”. No one would be scared of Rottweilers again and all would be good in the world… How naive we were.
At 6 months she lunged and barked for the first time at a Border Collie in our dog class. The trainer didn’t help because she got really stressed by it all. We were left confused and sad that she had turned in to one of those aggressive Rottweilers and we had no idea how to change it. I had to shift our dream from “happy-go-lucky Rottweiler” to “we’d be delighted if we can pass a dog on the other side of the street”. It was like I was mourning the dog we never had. It was hard to change that vision but most reactive dog mums have had to make this shift at some point. Especially with their first dog.
In the end we were happy with this mindset shift and loads of pressure was relieved because of it. She didn’t have to be perfect and that was ok.
What was your dream for your dog when you got him/her and how has it changed?
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