Some Other Ways That You Can Help To Create Polite Greeting Behaviours
- If you are working with a puppy, start off with the right training. Puppies develop fear when they do not have the confidence to know how to handle a new situation so make sure that your puppy is exposed to as many new situations as you can. Make sure too that you take your puppy to Socialization Classes BUT make sure that this class is run by good trainers. Far too often puppy socialization class ends up being nothing more than an unstructured doggy free-for-all. This often does more harm than good. Puppy’s minds are like sponges. They absorb everything including bad habits learned from other puppies. Puppy classes that have no structure and no interventions for inappropriate puppy behaviours end up teaching your puppy bad social skills. Socialization is crucial for puppies but it has to be proper socialization or it will be counter productive for your dog.
Some of the worst behaviour issues I see come from dogs is in households where owners got two puppies at once thinking that the puppies would keep each other company thereby making the owner’s job easier. With no one supervising or intervening with overly rough play, the puppies adopt this kind of dog to dog interaction as “the norm” and then when they attempt to interact with other dogs in this way their behaviour is seen as rude and threatening. I never recommend for people to get two puppies at one time. If you want two dogs, leave enough time between them to adequately behaviour train one puppy and then add the second dog in a year’s time.
- If leashed dog greetings are causing problems consider using different equipment. Using a flat buckle for a dog that pulls to see another dog is not only hard on a dog’s neck and throat, it really does not offer you any avenue of control in these situations. Consider switching to a head halter or a no pull harness. While changing equipment alone will not give your dog better social skills it might help to improve things by not adding more excited behaviours into an already aroused situation.
- And finally, if you see a leashed dog that is heading toward you and it is clear that the dog has no training and neither does the owner, be proactive and steer clear of this pair. As an owner you have every right and an obligation to protect your dog from a bad situation. It is easier to prevent a problem than to try to clean up after it becomes a problem. Just walk away from this kind of a situation.
“I like dogs. You can always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross, and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.”
~ Mark Haddon~, The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time
It’s Okay….He’s Friendly!
These are the words we dread hearing as owners because it means that you are about to encounter an out of control dog rushing at you and your dog. He may be on leash dragging a hapless owner behind him or worse, he may be off leash and completely left to his own devices….not that these owners have any control over their dogs either way. Sadly, these owners just don’t seem to understand why their “friendly” dog’s behaviour is not only unwelcome but that it is dangerous as it can easily trigger a dog fight.
Sadly, we have no control over other people’s choices and behaviours. We only have control over how we react to them. We also have the choice not to BE this kind of owner. Please, do not let your dog be the one to inflict this type of behaviour onto another dog. It is okay for your dog’s behaviour to be a work in progress but that does not entitle him to subject other dogs to bad behaviour. You, as the owner and the person in charge of your dog, is the ONLY person who can prevent or correct your dog’s bad behaviour. Please do not allow yourself to become THAT person with THAT dog that everyone dreads to see coming at them.
This breed of dog and their potential for reactive behaviour has already been placed under the scrutiny of public opinion. In the USA, Huskies and Malamutes are starting to make the BSL lists. Owners of these dogs are being turned down by insurance companies who refuse to cover them for owning this breed of dog. Many landlords are refusing to rent to tenants if they own a Husky or Malamute based on other situations where other dogs’ behaviour has been an issue.
PLEASE, if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem. If you make the commitment to own this breed of dog then make the commitment to train them so that you are not adding fuel to the fire. Do not give people another reason to paint Huskies and Malamutes with the same brush as being reactive, unfriendly, and uncontrollable. Lead other Snow Dog owners by the example set by your well trained Snow Dog. I promise you that with some commitment, effort, and patience you too can have a well trained polite Snow Dog.
Tomorrow I will be talking about what you can do to help reactive, fearful, timid, or aggressive dogs so that they can start meeting other dogs so make sure you stop by our page to read our daily blog offering.
As always we welcome your questions and comments. Do you have a story to share about your dog and this issue? Please consider sharing your story for when we share our stories we might just be helping someone who is struggling with their Snow Dog.
We want to help ALL Snow Dogs …. one owner at a time.