“You’ve got Ludo really well trained!”
It was a very sweet thing to say to me by another person with their dog!
As we all walked together down the field all Ludo was really doing was pottering along fairly close, playing a little with her dog, and pottering along again. When we got to the end of the field about to enter a little lane, I popped him on the lead for safety.
The lady’s dog, however, had a ball. And he was quite demanding with it. Dropping it at her feet, barking at her until she through it again. The other thing I noticed was how nervous she seemed if her dog was a little further away, and she explained that he sometimes followed his nose out of the field into the car park of the local school! He also didn’t enjoy us standing still chatting for longer than a few moments, and barked again.
My interpretation of this is that they don’t trust each other enough yet. He doesn’t trust her to fully lead their voyage into the outside world, and she doesn’t trust him not to run off!
The interesting thing here is that most people go to training classes really early on with their dogs, at about 12 or 14 weeks of age, and then continue this voyaging out into the world without considering they have not yet built their relationship deeply enough for the dog to be really relaxed.
Most people are surprised when I describe how Ludo and I started out, that we don’t go to classes, and how long it took us to build up even to a 20 min walk on the lead! (It was about 4 months and we adopted Ludo when he was nearly 6 months old.)
If there’s one thing I want everyone to consider when it comes to bringing home a new dog, whether puppy or older rescue, it would be to take their time. PARTICULARLY with the outside world. There is nothing like strong trust between dog and human. But as with all good things, it takes time to build. Lots of time. Months. Years even. And it’s glorious when you get there, but also so is the journey! Enjoy it. Saviour it. Reap the rewards.