At the end of our walk this morning, my dog walked under a bush (I think it was a grevillea – she likes to scare little birds out of bushes) and then yelped loudly, came running to me obviously distressed and kind of checking her back and still yelping. I tried to comfort her, but then she walked away from me and didn’t want to come when I called her. She stopped a couple of times and looked at me, but then turned around and went to the parked car and waited for me there. When I got to her she cowered. Have never seen her do that before. I have never punished her for anything at all – the worst she ever got from me was an ‘ach!’ when she is about to do something I don’t want her to.
She went all submissive when I checked her for bite marks in the car. Couldn’t find any. I am crossing my fingers that it was way too cold for snakes to be about (I checked under the bush, but couldn’t see any). I had to go to work and now I am worrying about her being home alone because I still don’t know what caused this reaction. And her fearful reaction to me also worries me. Because she is a rescue dog, I have no idea where this may have come from. But it looks like somewhere in her past she’s learnt to make this association, either with being hurt and then being punished or perhaps with being punished for not coming when called. Though if the latter was the case, I probably would’ve seen evidence of this earlier because it’s not as if this was the first time she didn’t come when I called her name.
It is the challenge of getting a ‘secondhand’ dog. You have no control over the associations that they’ve made in their previous life. Hopefully with patience and consistency, whatever it was will fade and she will learn to always trust me.