Dear Parent of a Reactive Dog
Just wanted to send a quick note today to let you know you’re doing okay. I know it didn’t feel that way earlier when your dog lunged at a nearby dog, despite all the work you’ve done to prevent this. I know it never feels that way when you drive by a dog park and see all the other dogs running and playing, and having to accept that that can never be your dog. I want you to know you’re doing okay, even though you have a labyrinth of baby gates and closed doors throughout your house to prevent fights or escapes or just to reduce stress (your dog’s and yours, both). And oh, how I want you to know you’re doing okay every time you put your dog’s muzzle on, even as you dread the looks you both receive.
You’re doing okay.
Let’s be honest though, you’re doing much better than okay. You spend hour after hour trying to figure out which option will be least stressful for your dog in any given situation. You love that silly, goofy furball no matter how many times she may embarrass you. You stand up a little straighter and hold your head a little higher when walking by someone, daring them to argue with what your dog already knows…that you are doing far more than okay. Your life with your dog isn’t what you dreamed of or ever imagined, but you’re making the most of it. Your dog doesn’t know she’s “missing out” on the dog park, all she knows is that her parent takes her on the most epic walks through the woods. Your dog doesn’t regret not spending the day at doggie daycare, all she knows is that her parent has bought her the comfiest bed in the world that is perfect for lounging on during the day. And your dog doesn’t long for playdates with her best friend, because she already has that.
You, you wonderful reactive dog parent, are doing wonderfully.
Love from a fellow reactive dog parent.