Tuesday, 10 September 2013

It's A Dog's Life...

This portrait is progressing nicely - I am very pleased with it so far.  The background garden is complete,and I am now working on his muzzle - a bit tricky as the actual dog has now gone quite grey all around his nose and mouth but the owner has asked me to paint him in his original colours.  That's the best thing about a painting, you can alter reality! 
My own dog had his first outing wearing a new waistcoat the other day.  Salukis and sighthounds in general can be a bit nervous of strangers and new people, particularly when on the lead and unable to run to a safe distance which is their natural instinct.  My saluki is, and always has been, very fearful of anyone he doesn't know coming straight up to him to pat him on the head (wouldn't you be?), and bouncy dogs who jump all over him can trigger a fear aggression reflex.  This has proved quite a problem in the past, as people who own jolly, friendly, bouncy dogs just do not understand his mindset and naturally get a bit miffed when my dog growls and gives their dog a good telling off.  He's never hurt another dog, it's just his way of saying 'leave me alone'.  He has mellowed a great deal with age, plus I have tried to follow Cesar Millan's teachings and remain calm myself which has helped.  I think I was also partly to blame as I used to get very nervous when seeing a new dog on the horizon.

A few weeks ago I saw a lady walking a greyhound wearing one of these waistcoats (the dog, not her!  Although I think I could do with one as well sometimes...) and I asked her all about it and where I could get one.  It made me feel a whole lot better to talk to someone whose dog had exactly the same problems as mine when confronted with strangers and I was very interested to hear that the waistcoat definitely made people take notice and hold back a bit. 

We don't use it on a field walk as there is no need - if my dog is free, he can run away from situations that make him anxious.  I will use it on long road walks and if we go somewhere new - I shall be interested to see if it helps. 

These waistcoats can be bought through www.spacedogs.org.uk.  I have not been asked to write this by them, this is entirely my own opinion.


Sally Bramald said...

Love the dog portrait and the new waistcoat for your dog. I wish people with little dogs should realise when they laugh at their little dogs having a go at my giant boy that one day he might just have had enough and do the same back at them. He hasn't and I am very proud of his stoicism but really, why should he have to put up with it?

Caroline B said...

How I agree with you Sally - people with small dogs don't understand that bad behaviour is unacceptable no matter what the size of the dog. If my dog behaved like some of the little dogs we have met, he would have been labelled as a dangerous dog and taken away. I have been reduced on occasion to just stating baldly 'my dog WILL bite yours if he continues to annoy' - even then it sometimes doesn't register! The other thing is people yelling 'he's all right' as their dog bounds over barking and frightening my dog to bits, and I have to reply 'he may be, but mine isn't'. Poor Clovis, all he wants is a peaceful life!