I’ve known for a while that Bailey is scared of football on the television. It’s usually heightened with mum and dad’s cheers. For some reason, this really unsettles him. It became noticeable after I’d taken him to a football game when I was fundraising with our local Guide Dogs’ team. Ever since that day, where he wasn’t settled really, as the crowd noises seemed to unnerve him, he got a whole lot worse if he was in the living room when mum and dad were watching their football.
It must be their cheering that unsettles him, as I’ve had football on in my room and other sports with crowd noises that don’t seem to bother him but today, it came to a head and from here on out, he won’t be going into the living room while mum and dad are watching their favourite team.
Here’s what happened.
I was having some lunch in the kitchen and Bailey was stood behind my chair. He will normally go and lay down in the living room and wait for me but he wouldn’t.
When we went into the living room, while I was drinking some tea, I sat on the floor with him to try and let him know it was OK. He just stands there, staring at anything but the TV or my parents. It’s been a running joke really but today I realised how serious this is for him.
I took him to the toilet and he wouldn’t come willingly on the lead. This has happened before when football has been on in the house but what happened when we got back inside was what troubled me.
I was eating some jelly and he had laid down but then stood up again, leaning on my legs. He doesn’t ever do this and is quite happy to lay down until we’re going somewhere. He’ll often look for attention from the parents if he feels like a stroke but not while football is on.
I’d put the spoon and pot in the kitchen and sat on the couch. I noticed his breathing was rapid, as though he was excited about something. But then both paws came onto my lap and then onto my shoulders. I knew then something was wrong as he knows he’s not allowed on the furniture and I’ve seen this behaviour once before when he was scared. So I brought him upstairs, where it took me at least two long minutes to calm him down again. I held him close to me and spoke in a calm voice and then had him lay down, all the time stroking him. I was so worried about my little Bailey bop. But i’m glad to say he’s back on form after around ten minutes as he’s barking away at something outside right now. 🙂
Some dogs are scared of thunder, others of fireworks; mine’s afraid of people cheering for their football team. Not all dogs are afraid like Bailey is or some other dogs are, but be aware, some can be as big a baby of something so small, just like humans can. Always watch your dog’s behaviour, and if it’s out of character or the norm, if you can remove him/her from the stressful situation. If not, seek advice from your Guide dog’s organisation or school as they may be able to help.
Bailey’s seven years old and this has only got so serious at this point in time. I guess, no matter how much they’re exposed to as puppies, with sounds and things, some things will still make them anxious. I’ve always known Bailey’s sensitive so this gives me the ability to understand him. I don’t see it as attention seeking behaviour, or naughty behaviour, just that he’s anxious and he looks to me, as his alpha dog to protect him. To which every moment of his life, I try to do so.
Again, not all dogs will suffer with anxiety or panic attacks over things and I think guide dogs and other service animals are better equipped than most domestic dogs, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to become anxious or stressed. Just always get to know your dog in the first six months to a year. That’s why I know our UK association says it takes six to twelve months to bond, because you’re learning your dog’s behaviours and little habits.
As I said, Bailey’s all well again but I know now not to even risk taking him into a room of cheering football fanatics. 🙂
Until next time