I was minded to write this today after meeting a couple out with their two dogs while walking Ziggy.
This couple had two dogs of the same breed; in fact, they were brother and sister around two years of age. The female was very thin and very nervous. She was also extremely quiet and withdrawn. In fact, although I don’t like using human terms, she was as near to a depressed dog as I have seen. She had the look of an animal that was not experiencing life as she should and was without any spark or normal dog like responses.
This dog came to me, but was obviously nervous and not really socialized well. Of course, her owner just said she had always been like that. Something I have heard many times before. The male was a little more outgoing, but not by much.
We were in the woods, a beautiful place for dogs to enjoy life and to have some fun. Both of these dogs were on longish leads attached to sprung choke chains. Now, let me be clear, there is no place for choke chains; they are the recourse of lazy owners who are not prepared to take the time to train their canine charges properly. I would wager that these dogs were not allowed to run freely of lead.
The quiet female was painfully thin and had eating problems. This dog needed vet intervention to make sure there wasn’t an underlying medical condition that needed attention. Certainly, the dog’s diet needed to be looked at and put right.
Now, this couple had had this breed of dog before, so they knew all about them (something else, I have heard many times before). They were a little baffled about their dogs’ behaviour but, I got the strong impression that they were not open to suggestions.
These dogs had obvious behavioural issues that they needed help with. These problems were in clear sight. The owners seemed oblivious to this. These dogs needed owners that understood their needs and worked to deliver them. In particular, the female was a sad creature, indeed. Both I think needed some TLC.
My point is that it is not sufficient to allow dogs to just exist. Owners have to be aware of their dogs and be fully engaged with them. If your dogs’ behaviour is of concern or you are worried about their health or diet. You must be proactive and seek advice. In this case, these dogs needed vet advice and behavioural assistance. Failure to provide these is letting our dogs down, badly.