Last night, we took Pyrrha to a laidback outdoor concert at The Garage, a fun, creative music venue in our town. (Excuse the blurry phone photos in advance, please…)
As I’ve mentioned before, Pyr has been having some leash reactivity to other dogs, and I thought this might be a good socialization experience for her. The Garage is set up so that the audience sits across the street in a small city park, so you can get up and move around if need be. This gave Pyrrha some “breathing room” and allowed me to get up and walk her around when I could tell she was getting agitated/too anxious.
On the whole, I was proud of how she handled the whole experience. She did especially great with people. She wasn’t afraid of men coming up to her and petting her, and she even generously (and, um, thoroughly) licked the face of a loud (maybe inebriated) woman who rushed right up to her. Overall, Pyrrha-to-people interactions were a success.
While we were there, she also had a positive interaction with this dog:
The dog was with a group of young travelers, whom I’ll call “hippies,” but not in a derogatory sense — more because of their laidback behavior, dreadlocks, and general bohemian appearance. Nothing negative about them. But this dog was meandering through the crowd, dragging her leash behind her. This initially made me nervous, and Pyrrha was up on alert as soon as the dog came close to us, but I took a deep breath and loosened my grip on the leash. They sniffed rears, wagged tails, and the blond dog peacefully went on her way. No barking, no hackles, no extreme reactions from Pyrrha. Sigh of relief!
This interaction led me to this question: Do you think our dogs mirror our temperaments?
Obviously, dogs pick up on our body language, and they can sense our moods often more accurately than we can. And there’s no clear study (that I know of) that could definitively answer this question, but here’s what I was thinking: This blond hippie dog was so CHILL. She knew exactly how to defuse Pyrrha’s anxiety. She wandered calmly through the crowd, sniffing here and there. I could almost see her saying, “Peace and love, man, peace and love.” Her human (a young woman with dreadlocks) watched the dog calmly and would call her back; she was not overly concerned with the dog’s behavior.
I, on the other hand, tend to be a fairly anxious person. And you all know that Pyrrha is a fairly (OK, very) anxious dog. I worry about her a LOT, and I imagine she worries about me, too. So, are we just feeding each other through these vicious cycles? The hippie dog stays peaceful because her people stay peaceful; Pyrrha stays anxious because I stay anxious.
Do you ever wonder this? Like, would Pyrrha be a much calmer dog if she lived with these nomadic young travelers? I don’t know. It’s kind of a depressing thought, but I think it might be true. The moral of the story for me? Peace and love, man, peace and love. And maybe that aura will influence Pyrrha too…