It all started when Jeremy and I took Ollie to the dog park one Saturday morning. We approached the dog park as we normally do, Ollie on his leash and barking at the other dogs per usual. But something was strikling different in Ollie that day. As we entered through the black metal gate, a couple of Golden Retreiver pups approached him, tails wagging and friendly (in typical Golden Retriever fashion), along with a couple of other smaller dogs. For some reason Ollie didn't take well to it. Usually he would bark for a while and then allow the other's to sniff him and he would be fine. But this time his tail went between his legs cowardly and he barked his little noggin off at the other pups. And he wouldn't stop and he wouldn't allow the others to sniff. He even SNARLED at the other dogs!!!! I quickly scooped him up. We could feel the owners of the other dog's eyes on us and the feeling of judgement, like the parent who is dealing with a kid having a tandtrum and throwing themselves on the grown. I wanted to crawl underneath a rock and hide. It was embarrasing to say the least.
We got Ollie when he was a puppy, he was about the size of one of my socks. His ears flopped over and his big black eyes would instantly melt your heart. Like butter. Everytime (and they still do). The cutest thing about him was how tiny he was, we actually thought he was the runt. His first friends were Pickles and Daisy, a fellow Doxin and Yorkshire Terrier. All was well and he seemed to make friends with them quickly. Then there were some run-ins that Ollie had which probably contintributed to his insecurity which included getting charged at by the neighbor's Weimaraner and being attacked by two Jack Russells while on a walk with me(it was horrible, I came home BAWLING that day).
In the midst of our embarrassment at the dog park, the owners of the Golden Retreivers offered their help and told us about a gal who works at Petsmart and has trained their dogs. Thank goodness, they were offering help and not saying "Get that dog outta here!" They had amazing things to say about Jody, the trainer! Jeremy and I knew we couldn't let Ollie go on without being social, so we made a trip to see Jody that very day.
Ollie is now spending his time in summer school! :) We just had our second session yesterday and we are starting to see hope for him! We found out that the root of his problem is fear-based (poor guy!) and we have been putting him in situations with other dogs (and the trainer) that make him face his fear. He is making progress, but it is going to take some work on our end too! Whatever it takes, Bub!
*Awesome Golden Retriever parents who were kind enough not to judge :)
*Phenomenal dog trainer who loves Ollie and teaches sooo well.
*Mean Weimaraners and mean Jack Russells.