I thought it would be good to elaborate a little bit on Alice’s fear of gun shots. As I said in my previous article, she started off as a keen hunting dog and had her first grouse shot over her at 18 months. All was well and she was as keen as anyone. She was in fact one of the most widely ranging Vizslas you would come across, which is why she would need her dog beds at night for rest. This is something you would appreciate if you had seen her run on the moor. Quite amazing how she could cover the ground totally effortlessly.
But one day I was out with a great client and his friend and I found that Alice was just running very close to us. She would not hunt and no matter what I did, she just ran 10 meters and then returned. Quite frustrating, but I put it down to “a bad day” assuming it would be forgotten about the following hunting outing. Not so. Next time we were out, Alice set off in full gallop and I was confident that the little fine dog was back to normal, but she quickly curled after the first shot was fired and wouldn’t leave my side. This got so serious that in the end I simply could not get her out of the car when she knew there was a shoot on. She would hide under the car dog beds and shiver in fear. Obviously I tried to drag her out and take her along in the hope that she would remember the good things about hunting, but to no avail.
It was back to the drawing board and as Alice was lying under my desk on her favourite one of the dog beds not knowing what I was so upset about, I started thinking about this. Many, many people in the know had already told me, that the best thing to do about Alice would be to give her away to a good pet home. Being as stubborn as I am, this spurred me on to find a solution. I got hold of the vet-drug Clomicalm, which is helping to calm doggy nerves while you try to cure their separation anxiety. It is like an antidepressant and needs to be administered for about two weeks before enough has built up in the body to work. This I did and I then went to a driven day, but stood way, way back from the firing line. I let my happy Labrador pick up and slowly, as the day progressed, Alice started to pick up as well.
By the end of that day, Alice was picking up right IN the firing line, bringing me everything to hand. That night she slept all the way home on her and Vulin’s dog beds and she never looked back. She was only about two and a half, but worked as a hunting dog till her 12th year. NEVER GIVE UP ON A DOG!!!!!