Comment on Loving a reactive dog means grieving the dog you thought you would have by David Chapdelaine.
I have a reactive dog. Her name is Kayla. When I got her she was 6 months old. I got her from the CT Humane Society. I had just lost my dog of 15+ years and propbably should have waited longer, I had a huge hole in my heart and I wanted to fill it. Kayla seemed fine at first, just a little nervous. After I’d had her about a week or so my daughter and her husband came over and she just went ballistic. I was stunned, where the heck did this come from? I had to bring her to a trianing class at the Humane society. When we got there she started reacting again, and the trainer took her leash and told me to walk away some. Kayla fought her tooth and nail, and she finally got Kayla inside. After the class she looked at me and told me I had my work cut out for me. That was 6 years ago. I thought I could make this work. Since that time I’ve tried private trainers, doggie daycare, where she actually does OK after some easing her into it. When I have to board her I have to bring her to her cage, and she has to be with our other dog or she stresses right out.
I can sympathize with all of the others who have left a note here. Like April, my life has changed and not for the better. At times she can be the most loving dog inside the house. Once outside, I cannot get her attention she just seems to be too overwhelmed by everything outside. Aleaf blowing by, other dogs, birds, anything and everything. I take her and our other dog Theo for walks, but I am ready to give up. I just got back from a local park where dogs must be on a leash, and it’s very open so it is easy to stay away form others and other dogs. She pulls constantly. I use the gentle leader head collar, and while that helps she still pulls more than she should. I think it is just making her neck stronger. Driving home from the park I am at my wits end. I am thinking about talking to my Vet, and see what she thinks. For the first time I am considering putting her down.
This is not at all what I thought it would be like when I got her. We can’t have people over to visit. Every walk is a struggle, and I am ready to give up. When I bring her to the Vet I need to drug her up. I can’t imagine giving her up becasue I know she trusts me, and only me, and to violate that trust would just kill me, not to mention what it would do to her. She is 50lbs, and very muscular. I am 64 and in pretty good shape but have issues with my back and legs and when she pulls my body tightens up enough to keep irritating those issues.
Also like April above, I have had 2 other dogs and they were sweet as could be. Well behaved and loved to play. That’s another thing, I simply cannot get Kayla to play. there’s no way she will relax enough. As I type this, she is sleeping in her bed next to me and she looks like a furry angel. After having Kayla for 6 years, I will never get another dog.