Today's scare was while taking a walk. Usually my husband takes Jack for his morning walk but today he wasn't around so at about noon, I decided he needed a walk. He LOVES his walks. They are the highlight of his day. Walks and frankfurters. But frankfurters are another story.
After we get about a block away from home, Jack goes into heavy breathing mode. He usually gets this way when he sees other dogs but there were none in sight. So we walk for about 2 blocks with him doing his huffing breathing, and then I decided I needed to slow him down and calm him down. As I start to talk to him to get him to sit, his back legs go out on him and then he collaspses and falls on his side. Luckily he did not lose consciousness this time or I would have really freaked. He had his eyes open and I just kept gently repeating to him to slow down and relax, over and over. He laid on the ground on his side for about a minute, then when I could see he was feeling a bit better, I picked him up and I carried him home.
This episode, I think, is different from the other times he has collapsed. I think I have some lessons to learn here that I have not wanted to pay attention to. First, is that I have to be alpha. Usually I let him walk ahead on an extension leash because I want him to feel "free" when he walks. But I think he then thinks he is alpha and that he needs to watch over me. The huffy breathing is an anxious breathe. And he gets that around other dogs. So he feels anxious around other dogs and in that case, I need to be his rock, his support, his stability.
I took Jack to training maybe 2 months ago and I did not heed what I need to do as his guardian. I need to teach him to heel. Walk by my side. This would solve a few problems we seem to have when walking. I think today's episode could have been avoided with me being more attentive to what is truly best for him. And that is to feel safe.
With as much internal resistance as I have to curbing his natural doggie self, his desire to sniff and pee on everything, I have to make changes. I do not want to go through the scare of possibly losing him again because he cannot breathe due to anxiety.
So we went out on a 2nd walk, a shorter walk, and it was all about Jack. And training. We took treats. He would focus, and sit and heel. And it went much better. And I got some of my confidence back. And we will do this again tomorrow. And we will work on making this our new habit. I need to keep reminding myself that this is what Jack needs. To feel safe. And this is truly what is best.