Thursday, May 27, 2010

My dog is Friendly!

Ok, so here's a quick reminder. Often I work with reactive dogs. These are the dogs that are not accepting of other dogs, or sometimes even humans. At least once during my work with a client they tell me that they were out on a walk, doing a good job keeping their own dog on task and under control. Along comes another owner and his/her dog, on a flexie (retractable leash), dog is in front of the human by at least 10 feet or more and pulling his way towards you. I tell them to call out that you are training, and could you pull your dog in. Then they get the reply back - no worries, my dog is Friendly! Well, nice, but your dog isn't comfortable wiht it. What do you do? First, tell them in a very clear fashion that your dog is NOT comfortable with other dogs and walk in the other direction. Too often folks think that because their dog is friendly, they should be allowed to go up to any and all dogs, and then, when their dog gets bit by your reactive dog, YOU will be to blame. Who's really to blame here? The dog who started it by approaching when told not to. But trust me, that person will be blaming your dog and not taking any of the responsbility at all.

So, please, good for you if you have a friendly dog, but rule of thumb is to not let your dog interact with strange dogs. You don't know if this dog has a history or not of biting - owners can be very reluctant to say "oh, by the way, my dog took a chunk out of another dog's ear last week". Some folks will let your dog come up to their dog to "see" what happens.

So, wave, say hi and go on your way, keeping your dog right next to you. Socializing is great - with dogs you know and trust. Get together with your friends and have dog play dates. It's important you know who your dog is interacting with so you can relax and enjoy the play! Nothing better than watching your dog have fun playing with a friend, in a nice lawnchair with a cool drink and friend to chat with!

Enjoy the day!

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