I am seeing it more and more. People based aggression and fear in dogs. Not born from a lack of socialisation, or abuse, but instead from people not leaving the dog alone.
Fluffy or unusual breeds are usually sort out by members of the public, determined to touch the dog, no matter the protests of the owners. The dogs becoming worried that the next person to pass will fly over to them, give them kisses and cuddles, ruining their respect and trust in strangers. Dogs learning to lunge forward and attack first, defending themselves from idiot people determined for that one touch.
If it is not your dog, do not touch it. A dog that wants to be touched will tell you, some are that persistent in being touched it is a problem in its own right! A dog will approach you for touch, why should you approach it? We cannot explain to a dog our intentions with a touch, we just do it. For some dogs their is always the thought that it could be a touch leading to abuse rather than comfort or bonding. For others it is the fear that everyone will grab a handful of fluff and scream at them. “HOW CUTE”, “GOSH, I JUST HAVE TO TOUCH YOU” “HE’S SO SOFT”.
If I ran at your screaming these phrases, I am going to do one of a few things.
- Punch you in the face (Bite)
- Move away then have a go (Snap/Growl)
- Warn you as you approach to not mess with me (Growl/Barking/Lunging)
- Take it (Standing Still)
- Love it (Wiggy Bum/Going Forward)
Not all dog’s hate touch, but many do if it forced upon them. You can’t force a dog to like you, it has to choose to allow you to touch it.
I don’t know how many time’s I have told people to back of from my dogs, whether they are friendly or not. You are not only stressing them out, by being in their face, but you are also distracting them from their job. Be that Drugs Dog, Security Dog, Service Dog, or even a Pet on a walk minding it’s own business. They do not need to be touched by you, Joe Public. LEAVE THE DOG ALONE.
I cannot reiterate it any more to the Public who are casing so many training for dogs, and their owners. Please PLEASE do not touch dogs who do not know you, do not approach them in the street and do not just run up to them. You are causing so much trouble.
People do not understand the issues they are causing, it’s not just a dog becoming more fearful, its a dog maybe loosing it’s home because owners cannot cope with the dogs behaviour, it’s a dog escalating to the point it injures someone, its dogs being put down because no one can cope with their behaviour any more.
Dog owners can be blamed for it, when it’s not their fault. “You must not have socialised her”, “He must be a rescue to be that bad with people”, “You should train your dog better”. Oh Piss off. You do not get an opinion on my dog, ESPECIALLY when you have come over and attempted to maul it!
Yes in some cases the dogs has had training to do a certain thing, or been allowed to do behaviours which are triggered by people coming over, their can be a lack of training with it all but in many cases it is not.
As a dog owners, NEVER think it is your fault idiots come up and worry your dog. Instead do something to protect your dog. Not everyone is a blunt as me, telling the owners to “Buggar off”, but it works. You can try harnesses with “Do Not Touch” on, as well as coats with similar phrases. Muzzles work a dream at keeping people at bay, even when you don’t have a dog that needs it. Walking at less busy times, or after dark. Running with your dog instead of walking. Training comes into it for sever cases, where things have gotten out of hand, but usually once people leave the dogs alone more, they relax naturally.
If your dog is showing any signs of fear or aggression towards people then PLEASE look into working with a professional Dog Trainer and Behaviourist. Do not read crap online and try to do it yourself, in many cases you are just building more fuel for the fire. The internet is not a place to look up dog issues, it nothing like seeing the dog in person, what you see as one behaviour, is not always what it is.
Kathryn Jones FdSc AAB
A Clever Approach to Dog Training and Behaviour