By Lezle Stein
As a dog trainer & active rescue person you can only imagine how many dogs I and my own dogs encounter in one day, never mind on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis…A LOT!
So when I go for a walk, that’s exactly what I want to do; take a walk with my dog(s). A quiet, introspective, perhaps an invigorating stress reducing stroll with my dogs. I am baffled when a person & their dog walks by (or near) mine, and they immediately feel that our dogs must meet.
Let me explain some of the concerns with this…
Not all dogs are friendly when on leash. That is called on-leash aggression, which is incredibly common. One cause for on-leash aggression is a tight leash. It is important to remember that dogs communicate thru body language and when they are restrained from their “self expression” they can not “read” each other clearly. As well, handlers usually want this meet & greet but at the same time are anxious about the pending “event” which manifests as a pulled back leash. Pulling back the leash causes your dog to think the meeting may not be so safe or fun.
Ask yourself what a happy dog looks like. Do you really know what that looks like? If you think a tail wagging means “friendly” all the time you could be very wrong. When a dog yawns is it because it’s tired? Do you know how dogs greet each other? Certainly not nose to nose!
That’s just the start of the considerations for an on leash visit. I spend one full hour in my group classes on introducing dogs on leash…both the pros & the cons. I always love to see my clients eyes light up as they discover what their dogs are communicating, and what their body language says. They say a lot!
Next time I’ll talk about better ways to have dogs meet. I’m also going to offer a follow up 2 hour class on this topic, so please check our scheduled classes and sign up for our newsletter to get up to date information regarding tips, and our services.
In the meantime have fun walking your dogs and maybe ask me first to see if my dog & your dog can meet. Thank you!!