There has been a rising trend of expecting the world of our dogs. We get a dog and expect them to like all people, all dogs and all situations.
I believe this expectation comes from a good place- wanting to take our dog everywhere with us because we love them. Of course it would be amazing to be able to take our dogs to the Ladner Market, the dog park or hiking on popular trails.
But let me ask you a question-
do you like every single person you meet? Are you equally happy whether you are at a dance club or a quiet café? Of course not! We all have our preferences, and our dogs do too!
If you ask any dog owner about their dog I can guarantee you they will talk all about their unique personality, their silly quirks, their cute antics and will probably show you a picture or two. Just like us, dogs have their preferences and we should respect them. If your dog doesn’t want to get pet by that stranger, or meet that new dog or walk through busy crowds they shouldn’t have to! By forcing our dogs into these situations we are creating a situation where they have to speak for themselves. This could mean a growl or a bark or maybe even barring teeth in an attempt to ask for some space. And normally this dog reaction is met by surprise, fear and reprimand by the human.
When all they are asking for is space. It’s a cycle that sets a dog up for failure. So lets break that cycle by listening and respecting our dogs’ feelings! Being an advocate for your dog can be as simple as asking someone to give your dog some space. Don’t have a dog? Make sure you always ask the dog’s owner if you can pet it before you engage with someone else’s dog. Being an advocate for your dogs also requires really getting to know your dog and loving and accepting them for who they are.
Some dogs only want their human, some dogs are happy with just 2 doggie friends, some dogs want to party with every dog and human they see.
And its all ok! All of these dogs are great dogs.
As the saying goes; everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.