Be aware – some dogs need space!
Many dogs need space – this is something that I encounter quite often, during my days as a professional Dog Walker. A dog off the leash will often bound up to the dogs I’m walking, with its owner often running after it yelling at the top of their voice for it to recall, often unsuccessfully, leaving the dog I’m walking trying to retreat or pull away. Not all dogs wish to make friends and greet other dogs.
There are many reasons why dogs find it difficult to socialise with other canines: They may not have had other animal interaction when a small puppy and given the chance to develop social skills, or perhaps as an adult dog they’ve had a terrifying experience. Genetic factors can also contribute to anxious behaviour.
When walking your dog off the lead
If you notice someone walking their dog on the lead, please have some consideration. There could be a genuine reason why this dog is being lead – they could be really happy to meet and greet your dog, but there is a chance that they won’t return to recall if let off their leash. The fact is, you just don’t know. Perhaps this dog is on the lead because it’s anxious around other animals, when it can be really stressful not only for the dog but for the owner too, when another dog comes bounding over to greet them.
Keeping this in mind, always remember why you shouldn’t take it personally if a dog owner won’t engage with you when out walking, no matter how sociable your dog is, theirs may not be. Some sensitive dogs are labelled as being “reactive” but really, you would feel the same if a stranger approached you and put out his hand to touch you, you would recall and pull away too. Dogs also should be allowed to enforce their boundaries, by giving them compassionate training and allowing them more distance.
Reasons why dogs need space
- A puppy being trained
- An ill dog or one recovering from an illness
- Recuperating from an operation
- Elderly dog, perhaps frail and grumpy
- Female dog in season
- Timid and nervous temperament
- Restless and unhappy around other dogs
- Undergoing a behaviour and training plan
- Rehabilitation of a rescue dog
When walking your dog, always be in total control and be a responsible dog owner, even if you have a friendly dog. Before either you, your children or your dog begins to approach a dog you don’t know, please ask their owner’s permission if it’s Ok to approach and say hello, and then always wait for their response. Be respectful, responsible and use common sense.
I need space campaign
There is currently an international campaign running, to create more public awareness that some dogs are anxious when approached. It is hoped that more publicity and awareness to allow these nervous dogs the space and time to deal with the situation, will eventually lead them to being able to cope with the situation of meeting and greeting other dogs. If you see a dog with a yellow jacket, bandana, lead or ribbon, please give them space and don’t approach them unless invited to do so by their owners.
Give your dog space at home
An important part of a dog’s routine, is allowing your pet to have some personal space. This doesn’t mean locking your dog away by himself, but just like humans, our pets need time alone to recharge their batteries, and to refresh their thoughts and spirits. Give them time by themselves, with their favourite treats or toys, even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day.
Please be a responsible owner by allowing your dog more SPACE.