They are cute but… listen to the owner!

It is quite common to see dogs out with their owners with bright jackets on warning their dog is nervous.

Here’s the thing. No matter how cute you think the dog is and, how much you want to say hello and stroke the dog. STOP. LISTEN to the owner and abide by their wishes. They know their dog — you do not.

These dogs need understanding and our help. Often these dogs will be undergoing a period of behaviour therapy designed to help them with any issues they may have. It is not uncommon for dogs such as these to react badly to approaches from strangers. This is not their fault — it is the fault of the stranger who insists on invading the dog’s space.

The net result can often be the dog snapping, biting or showing other forms of aggression. Do not be fooled by the dog that lies down or even sniffs you with no apparent reaction. This can, simply, be a prelude to the dog reacting in the only way it can — biting or snapping.

Of course, when a dog reacts badly to a stranger, the person often then responds with demands to discipline the dog or keep it away from them. Never mind the fact that they ignored the request of the owner or, indeed, the warning of a high vis jacket declaring this might be a dog with issues.

Dogs, generally, react to many situations, particularly one that they perceive as threatening in one of two ways. They either take flight if they can or, they attack if they can’t escape. This is why a dog on a lead often reacts badly.

These dogs are perceiving a threat that doesn’t exist and are then forced to react, inappropriately to it. While these dogs can be helped, it takes time. To help an owner with such a dog. Stop, listen and do as they ask you. For instance, don’t look directly at the dog, don’t approach it, rather walk calmly and quickly by. Doing these types of thing might deny you the chance of stroking the dog. It can, however, be a significant step to helping the dog overcome it’s fears.

So, resist the temptation to approach a strange dog and take the time to listen to an owner. In this way you can help a troubled dog.