“Oh, don’t worry. Max is a big love bear. He’ll just roll over and want to play...” Great for Max, but what about the other dog?
Congratulations, you own a dog that is not reactive. But, there are other dogs that may not have it so good, when it comes to behavior. That other dog just might need space (#TheYellowDogProject). Often mislabeled “mean” or “aggressive”, this other dog might be intolerant of “Max”, startled by circumstance, or impatient with such an easy going temperament.
To understand their worst, “yellow” dogs need us the most. I write this article for “Max” owners around the world.
1. Stay alert.
Understand that there are other dogs beside your own. When you walk by a dog owner trying to pack up their car—steer clear; especially if you have a dog. Your dog could distract the owners dog(s) to leap out the hatch, risking everyone’s safety. It only takes a second for something tragic to happen. Learn leash handling skills and maintain your dog’s attention. Avoid using a retractable leash, and move far enough away from the “dog car.”
2. Avoid fence cluster.
Be conscientious and don’t be quick to judge. There are a number of reasons dogs act out. A herding breed may be excitable, whereas a toy breed may be skittish at the sight of a big dog. A rescue dog might be uncertain of his new surroundings, or he could simply be following the leader of the pack. Some dogs have high prey drive, others get frustrated behind barriers. When dogs can’t get what they want, often “barrier frustration” can affect their current state of mind. Unfortunately, we don’t always yield to the warning signs of a dog in distress. An unsure dog might just be making ruckus. Or, he could bite. Regardless, keep a safe distance and wait your turn at the entrance (and exit) of a dog park.
3. Be a good neighbor.
If your neighbor has a dog that gets hysterical with loud noises, or fast moving objects, try to understand. Kindly turn off the lawn motor until the dog is out of harms way. Respect responsible owners who remain calm to keep control over the situation. Chances are they are aware of the problem, and are working to remedy the outburst. Do not reach over the fence during the frenzy. Screaming at a dog is dangerous and will only make matters worse for everyone. Stop, wait, and listen for direction from the dog owner. Also, if you drive a noisy hot rod or motorcycle, do not rev your engine in the presence of an already temperamental dog. It’s not funny.
4. Be wise.
People often underestimate dogs with “resources.” Adults: Do not allow a child to put one cookie between two unfamiliar dogs, only to stare at them for a reaction. Despite good intentions, this gesture is not safe. To that dog, at that very moment, that cookie could be the most valuable item in the Universe, and dogs will guard what they believe to be of high value. The child would only be in the way. Instead, avoid direct and threatening eye contact, and allow dogs plenty of space to approach for treats, separately.
5. Learn to lead.
Dogs respond to structure and leadership. Stay cautious, yet confident. Any dog can detect poor handling skills. Be fun, but be firm. Dogs will find a reason to step in, if we don’t. A reputable trainer or an animal behaviorist can assist in this area. Consult your veterinarian if there is a medical concern that could be causing unwanted behavior.
6. Celebrate little wins.
A dog can’t be perfect 100% of the time, however dogs want to please us. We just need to show them how. When we reward small success stories, and are willing to work through the rough patches, everyone is happy. We become more considerate of others at our favorite dog store, or ‘bow wow’ bake shoppe.
7. Stay positive.
Dogs love it when we are relaxed. Be courteous of others who are tending to a frightened dog. Recognize what could be a dog’s “scary” moment, be careful, and redirect as needed.
“When in doubt, treat your dog like a toddler scared of the clown at the circus. It doesn’t matter that the red-nosed fellow is suppose to be funny, you’d move the kid away and go buy them some cotton candy.” —http://www.fearfuldogs.com
Read more about this topic at The Yellow Dog Project
Christina Bournias resides in Michigan with her 3-pack; three new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christina champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.
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2013 © !woof Nicodemus™
October, 2013: American Pet Magazine | V2 Issue4, Page 18,19