Post by Trish Manche
I have to admit, I have uttered these words myself when my leashed pet has ran up to another dog. What many pet owners don’t realize, your dog may not be the issue.
Although most people’s views of dogs and their treatment have changed from several years back and dogs are integrated more than ever into families. However, many dogs have not been properly socialized or trained. This can cause hostility usually born from fear toward other dogs, animals, and sometimes even people. Sometimes you just learn to cope with the situation. Many people keep these dogs in their homes and learn to manage them as needed for the safety of their dog and others. From experience, this is not an easy road, but if that dog came to you as a puppy, it’s likely whatever is going on is what has happened since they have been with you, intentional or not.
Many of these dogs find their way into rescues or shelters. Whoever takes the dog or dogs on must do their best to rehabilitate and deal with the damage that is already there. In many cases this takes a lot of time and patience and often a good dog trainer can help you turn these dogs around. There have been a few dogs (and let’s not forget the cats) that for one reason or another must be the only dog in the home that have come through our rescue. They either don’t like sharing their space, or their caregiver, or whatever. There can be a variety of reasons. The same thing happens with us as humans, not everyone likes everyone.
What happens when a reactive dog who doesn’t like other dogs is out for a leashed walk and someone’s unleashed dog rushes up to them? Hopefully the owner or other dog(s) are experienced enough to see the warning signs and walk away. This could also lead to disaster in the form of a dog bite or dog fight if the owner of the dog being walked or the owner of the other dog/dog(s) aren’t in control. I use the word control lightly, if they are off leash, are you ever 100% in control. The recall is a constant conditioning and how many people routinely practice it? This is where off leash in public parks and areas (not speaking of dog parks) is a real problem.
Some dogs have no experience with dogs who don’t like other dogs, they are just the happy go lucky dogs who LOVE everyone and everything (except maybe rabbits and squirrels). Hence the “Don’t worry, my dog is friendly” statement comes in. While your dog may love everyone, just like with people, you don’t know what is happening with the other dog or that dog’s owner. Maybe the owner is fearful of other dogs which could make that person’s dog react! Even with leashed dogs, whatever you are feeling will go right down that leash so remain calm, don’t panic, move your dog to safety. I ALWAYS crossed the street when I walked my dog. He was a Jack Russell and thought he could take on any dog. He routinely threw a fit when we walked past the Great Dane’s house up the street.
All of this is to say:
- Be safe and keep your pet safe!
- Be considerate and take your dog off leash at the appropriate locations.
- Be considerate of what might be happening with the other dog or owner.
- Do what is right always for your pet and be mindful of what is happening around you at all times when you are out with your dog.
- Above all, REMEMBER IT MIGHT NOT BE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR DOG!
In need of a dog (human) trainer? Reach out to us and we can make recommendations of some great trainers in our area.