around your dog’s leash if he/she is reactive, or needs space, for any reason. I love this new idea that’s sweeping around the block these days!
Three of our six dogs have some issues with reactivity. One is an itty bitty boy (Max) that has had a serious fear of men and strangers since we adopted him. He came to us with these issues and though we’ve worked with him over the years, we finally had to accept the fact that he’s always going to react negatively to men and people he’s not sure of and it’s up to us to simply protect him and the people he fears most.
Then we got an Australian Shepherd (Raider) from a breeder who had tossed him out into her yard and ignored him completely, outside of giving him the extreme basics of food and water. He “made the mistake” of having too much white on his ears to be sold as a show dog… seriously. *sigh * He was terrified of everything due to six months of being completely ignored! And I do mean everything. Everything was a struggle with him, but with training and lots of love he’s a different dog than the one we originally picked up. However, he has issues with dogs, on leash, that he meets away from home and will growl and snap if they come too close too quickly. If he’s given some time and they’re not super energetic, then he can accept them. At home, where he’s comfortable, he’s fine meeting new friends. He also has had issues with the people at vet’s offices. It’s a scary place to him! Once they’re done with his vaccinations, or whatever they’re doing, then he’s fine, but until then and during the exam, I prefer him to be muzzled. It’s taken a lot of working with him to get him to be okay with them after they’re done with “the scary stuff”, and we’re happy with that – if he can’t ever be un-muzzled during the exam, then we accept him that way. We also have to watch him around strangers if we’re out at a park or someplace else. It doesn’t take too much to scare him or make him feel the need to protect us, so we’re always watchful of who and what is around us. When I take him to work with me, he’s perfectly fine with the people he meets because that’s always been fun for him, but meeting new dogs there is a different story. Once he’s met them at home, he remembers them when he sees them out and is fine.
Last, but not one bit the least… is our Great Dane, Streifen. You may have read about him… ha ha 🙂 Sadly, he’s the more sensitive sort of Great Dane and developed some intense fears of strangers pretty young. Small children are particularly scary to him. Taking him to work with me where he was around large amounts of people turned out to not be a good way to socialize him due to his sensitivities. Too many people in the general public are scared of the giant breeds of dogs, we discovered the hard way. It won’t always stop them from wanting to approach them either… nope… they’ll approach and ask to pet them and then scream bloody murder in your dogs face, out of the blue… Yes, they sure will. Why? I haven’t a clue, but they do that. They’ll also let their terrified child scream in your dog’s face when you least expect it and laugh…. Laugh at their child’s terror and the terror your dog feels. Crazy – yet true. Streifen was my first Great Dane and I had ZERO idea that they were quite this sensitive/nervous of new situations. Once I caught on to the fact that he was seriously being scared to the point of it doing damage, I quit taking him to the store I work in. I kept hoping he’d have more good experiences than bad, but it just wasn’t working out that way. We often dog sit for people at our house too and it only took one dog meeting to go wrong to do it’s damage in him with meeting new dogs. He had loved all other dogs until that one bad meeting where a chocolate lab didn’t want to be friends and reacted poorly to him wanting to play. So now he has issues with new people, small children, and other big dogs. Made walks with him a bit difficult at best. So, I decided to walk him only in places where I could control the distance of other people and their dogs so he could still get his exercise and yet not suffer the results of up close meetings.
Having a “yellow ribbon” tied to his leash to warn others to not approach could be a wonderful thing for him – for all three of my fearful/reactive dogs. I would seriously like to see this information get passed around so that everyone, even people that don’t own dogs, will know what a yellow ribbon means. It could make a huge difference to the people and their beloved pets that have issues (of any type) or that are learning to be service dogs. Education is the key!
I agree completely with Jessica Dolce when she says, “DINOS are GOOD dogs, they just need space!”