I received a call the other day from a Home Dog Training client from Alpharetta. We had trained his Boxer a few weeks ago and everything was going just great with Stella, his Boxer. His question to us was about his walking down the street in a friend’s neighborhood the other day. He told us that he was walking down the street, minding his own business, when a strange dog ran out of nowhere and came at him with his teeth showing, baking like a crazy animal. He got away just in time and darted into a neighbor’s back yard. This was a close call and he was very thankful for that back yard and six foot gate he could get between himself and the “stranger dog”. If that gate was not there, he was not sure what would have happened…
We have all experienced a barking and running dog at one time or another. It is important for us to remember that we must present an uninteresting target to the dog. Barking and running dogs normally don’t come around the corner and go after the tree or the stop sign. Those things are uninteresting. You, on the other hand, present a very interesting “target”. Let’s look at some ideas to make you more uninteresting.
- Dogs need to clearly understand your intentions before they decide what to do next. Dogs often have a hard time recognizing men wearing dark glasses and hats. If you see a dog approaching and they seem the slightest bit pensive, take off your sun glasses and your hat. This will help the dog to recognize that you are just another animal he knows and not some new, weird monster.
- Stay as un-animated as possible. Do not run. You are only displaying your weak side (rear end) to the dog, you are encouraging him to chase you. You probably can not outrun him and he will eventually jump, knock you down, and maybe even bite you. Stand up straight, face the dog (do not stare), and stay still.
- It is OK for the dog to approach you and sniff you. If the dog starts to go behind you, slowly turn so that you are always facing him.
- Cover up your “soft parts”. (You can never be too safe!)
- You are now showing an “uninteresting target” to the dog. Keep it up and he will look for more interesting targets to explore somewhere else.
- Slowly back up, still facing the dog. Once you are a safe distance from the dog (a block or so), continue your walk.