Dogs learn a great deal by simply associating the outcome or the end result to the stimulus provided. On my regular walks with Haseena, my dog, every morning I saw one of my favorite Indie who is lovingly called Jawsy, sitting in one corner and shivering. I tried calling her she didn’t move even for a treat. Upon approaching her she started licking her inner thigh and then stomach. It was as if she was giving me a cue “hey watch this I have got hurt” so I sat next to her I stroked and loved her until she allowed me to see her wound. My jaws dropped as I could see the cut was very deep and I wonder how she got hurt (I am assuming she tried to jump a fence and instead landed on it because of mistiming). Worried, I called for help.
Upon arrival of ambulance the two volunteers got down to see whether the wound could be treated on the spot or needed admission and fostering. I already knew that the answer was going to be the latter. A tussle between her and the volunteers to get her into ambulance, which I felt was absolutely unnecessary a dog like Jawsy responds beautifully to love, then why!? The entire episode was being watched from a distance by another stray looks like Jawsy’s best friend. After I carefully picked her up and wished her speedy recovery and tucked her safe in the ambulance, I headed home.
Next morning, the sight just broke my heart! Me and Haseena were as usual headed for our morning walk and when we reached the spot where Jawsy was picked up the day before her friend saw me and instead of coming towards me ran for her life. Sad but this happened in saving one we scared the other. To give you an example, people tell me my dog is petrified to sit in the car and the first thing I ask them, “can you tell me where did the pup go for the first car ride?” answer is mostly to the “Vet” and I wish the first few car rides could be just to a park to play or socializing and enjoy!
Making the right associations are not an impossible task. All we need to do is be more aware of our actions and how it would impact our dogs. Making the associations controlled, happy and carefully monitoring, trying to make most interactions positive for our dogs and pups we can ensure that they believe in us, really look forward to being with us and grow as well balanced confident k9 companions.