Meet Princess Ollie. She’s a beautiful whippet. She’s also a fearful dog like my Milo and has similar reactions and behaviors. When Ollie’s human mom, Julie, contacted me after reading about Milo, I asked her about featuring Ollie. I’m so glad Julie agreed to share Ollie’s story. I also hope Ollie will continue to improve and overcome her fears.
Why did you get your dog?
I have always admired their beauty, my daughter has a ten-month-old whippet and I just adore her, so she contacted whippets Australia and within 2 days had a phone call about 2 whippets for sale, ex-show dogs. It was hard to decide which dog to bring home, I went with the younger dog. No other reason.
Your Dog’s Breed or Mixed
How did you decide on your dog’s name?
It just sort of rolled off from her show name.
What is your dog’s favorite toy?
She doesn’t know how to play with toys.
What is your dog’s favorite treat?
How do you spoil your dog?
I would love it if she enjoyed her walks, but everything terrifies Ollie. She enjoys a pat and scratch, but initially, she couldn’t make eye contact. If I sat next to her she would move away, it was way to threatening. We are at the 4-month mark and only now will she tolerate me sitting close, but if I pick her up on my lap, she is off.
What’s a funny story about your dog or how does your dog make you laugh?
I am seeing little glimpses of joy when she momentarily grabs a toy or ball and runs with it. I think she is still adjusting to being an only dog and actually think she has been a bit depressed.
I am in the process of doggy number 2. Unsure if this is a good idea, but am going to try. Ollie is only really exuberant when my daughter’s dog comes to visit.
How do you have fun and play with your dog?
Well, Ollie is a work in progress, transitioning from kennel dog with doggie mates to humans only is a tough gig. She only knows kennel life so everything has been strange and challenging for her.
She wouldn’t come into the house when I first got her home despite treats. She was in fear mode for 3 days, constantly pacing and searching for the escape hatch. It was very stressful to watch, I was on anti-reflux meds from anxiety.
We couldn’t make eye contact with her and had to completely ignore her like she wasn’t there unless she initiated attention.
I think the breakthrough moment may have been with my son. He and his girlfriend decided to marathon Game of Thrones. They set up the lounge floor with mattresses, guess who joined them? Ollie.
They were so engrossed in GOT they didn’t realize she stretched out and slept next to them. Also in desperation, my daughter came to visit with her hyperactive, crazy, annoying whippet pup, that kept Ollie engaged and possibly kept her brain busy and distracted from cycling to “escape mode”.
The most fun thing Ollie enjoys is a massive run off-lead with my daughter’s pup. They love zoomies.
Is there anything special or unique about your dog? If so, what is it?
So basically ignoring her, walking away from her to the extreme of changing direction if she was walking near you. The first month was spent like this.
The second month I introduce cooked chicken hand-feed rewards when she made eye contact. So it was eye contact training. This went on for month 2. At 4 months she maintains eye contact, can sit, down and touch on command with enthusiasm. Her recall is good but I think under pressure she would bolt.
I walk her most days, but it’s a constant battle, sometimes she walks nicely, but walks are uncontrolled environments.
I have an on-lead beach, which would be perfect if everyone walked on lead…but people don’t understand what it’s like to have a frightened dog. I move away from other dogs but it’s difficult when people don’t follow the rules letting their dogs run wild. Especially if they have no recall, which happened yesterday. Beagle ran straight up to Ollie, despite my obvious attempt to move away and the owner had no control. Ollie was terrified, so I picked her up. The beagle started jumping up on me to get to her. That sort of situation is hard to prepare for. I knew eventually this would happen so my plan was to pick her if a dog did invade her space. I am vigilantly always on walks checking for fast-moving dogs coming our way and calmly move away.
What else would you like to share about your dog?
I am slowly seeing this little creature’s personality peeping out, slowly mm by mm. It’s so sad when I see happy dogs enjoying walks, chasing balls, just being dogs. Little Ollie is still too stressed and in flight mode out of her home environment to relax and enjoy. Her little doggie brain has never been socialized with people or other dogs. It’s a slow process and often 2 steps forward 1 step back. I long for the day she chases a ball or just walks with a happy carefree waggy tail.
Here’s Princess Ollie with her friend Laelaps:
Thank you Julie for sharing the story of your whippet, Princess Ollie!
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