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Life with a reactive dog

May 11, 2020

When veterinary nurse Hollie rescued Oscar, she knew she was going to have her hands full. A history of abuse had left him scared of people and other dogs. On top of that she found out that Oscar was allergic to almost everything! Read Hollie’s story about what it’s like to live with a reactive dog.

Around 8 years ago we rescued our boy Oscar, a Japanese Akita. He came from an abused home where he was beaten and locked up in a cage all day. This scarred him for life. Not only does he hate other dogs, he also has a strong dislike for other people. 

Very protective

He was 6 months old when he arrived at our home. Unfortunately it was a little too late to be able to change his past and help him forget about it all. Despite all of this it didn’t take him long to attach himself very quickly to our family. He’s very protective of us, especially on our property and will go above and beyond to keep us all safe. He certainly lives up to the reputation of his breed!

“We did try using a yellow lead, to let people know that Oscar needs to be given space. But I don’t think enough people are aware of it.

Unfortunately he’s bitten three dogs throughout his life, all of which have come bounding up to him off the lead. We always ensure he is on the lead and under control. Unfortunately these friendly little dogs decided to come over and play. We did try using a yellow lead, to let people know that Oscar needs to be given space. But I don’t think enough people are aware of it.

The abuse you get for having a reactive dog can sometimes get you down. At the end of the day though he’ll let us do anything to him and he’ll do anything for us and that is all we ever wanted.

Allergic reactions

About a year ago Oscar started to become very itchy and sneezy. He also began to chew his stomach until it was sore. After having some blood tests it turned out that he’s allergic to EVERYTHING. Flies, grass, fur, nearly all kinds of meat, just to name a few. He lives outside in his own little house which made this new hurdle even more tricky. As he’s constantly surrounded by all things itchy it’s been a rocky road. 

Now with life-long treatment of immunotherapy injections, tablets and antibiotic cream he has a new lease of life. It’s a good job that his mother – me – is a veterinary nurse. It means that all of his treatment can be done at home without him getting ‘upset’ with new people. 

Challenging but worth it

Living with a dog that is reactive towards other dogs, other people and everything that he could possibly be allergic to is definitely challenging. But it’s worth every second  – he is still determined to protect us, just with a few sneezes along the way!

What does a yellow dog lead mean?

If you see a dog wearing a yellow lead, bandana, or yellow ribbon on their lead, it is to indicate that they can’t be too close too other dogs and needs some space. Find out more from Yellow Dog UK.