Have you ever found yourself really drawn to something – out of curiosity or just something you really want – but at the same time, there is something making you hesitant, nervous or downright scared about the whole situation?
A woman was telling me the other day about how she couldn’t understand why her dog ‘out of the blue’ barked and lunged at someone he sees and solicits pets from all the time. Someone else was telling me about how his dog, that is very friendly, ‘out of the blue’ growled at a child who walked up to him as they were leaving the groomers.
You may have experienced or witnessed an ‘out of the blue’ fear reaction in your pet at some point too. It can happen to any animal – even people, but the thing is, although it may seem like it is some strange, rare phenomenon without explanation, there is always a reason for behavior to occur.
I have long admired Leslie McDevitt, MLA, CDBC, CPDT, and have read her book, Control Unleashed, several times. The first time being early in my career, and it had a lot of influence on me. Leslie teaches how to use games and communication to affect behavior change, and build confidence, trust and focus in the learner. I love that.
This time of year, everyone enjoys being outdoors with their dogs including at dog parks. And, while it can be a lot of fun, it can also be very problematic. An aversive experience for your dog can occur very quickly, and can have long term impact on your dog’s emotional well being. Do you know how to recognize when your dog is in trouble, or when your dog is doing the harassing? Do you know when your dog is communicating that he is uncomfortable with whatever is happening in the moment or when he wants space?
Parents, please remember, you have an important role to play in helping your children and your dog succeed…including preventing dog bites.
When we share our homes with animals who speak a completely different language than we do, misunderstandings can happen so easily and with misunderstandings stress, anxiety and even aggression can easily erupt. I spoke with residents yesterday of a local retirement community where many people share their apartments with furry companions and much of that discussion ended up focusing on how dogs share their feelings. It is so important that I wanted to share it here also. Below is a description of some dog language.