After a couple of unfortunate incidents with a neighbour’s dog, Salma has been wary about unknown dogs approaching her. Today, she had a positive learning experience!
As we parked to start our walk, from the car parked alongside emerged an Englishman man who lives in Madrid with a young vizsla. The man asked whether they could walk along with us and we agreed. At first, I was a bit concerned because I didn’t want Salma’s walk to be a negative experience for her, so I walked ahead so that she could cross the wooden bridge on lead and then she would meet the young dog on the other side when they could both be off lead.
Archie, the young vizsla, two and a half years old, was full of energy, and at first Salma stayed very close and avoided any close contact with him. As we walked, however, she could see that he did not pose a threat to her. He approached but walked away again and this toing and froing was reassuring for her. Gradually, she began to accept his presence as non-threatening and, when he ran back to see his guardian (We were walking slightly ahead), she would wait for him to catch up and approached him to say hello. By the end of the walk, she was very relaxed with him and her body language was soft.
This was an experience I had been hoping for but until now had not been able to do: walking in parallel, free to come and go, free to be closer or further apart and with plenty of opportunities to be involved in optional activities like sniffing and running. Archie had a great time jumping into the waters of the lake to find great big sticks. He did so at the same spots that our last beardie, Sasha, used to choose. For Salma water simply does not hold any attraction. She does not even look at it!
So, thank you, Archie, for being such a great walking companion for Salma!