Do you have a misunderstood dog?
Has your dog ever scared someone before?
You know your pet. He is a sweet, friendly, calm pup.
But, when people see him coming down the street, they run!
Because he is a pit bull. Or a doberman. Or a rottweiler. Or a German shepherd.
Why are people afraid of my pup?
Animal phobias are common.
In fact, nearly 36% of people seeking treatment for phobias are afraid of animals, according to Dr. Timothy O. Rentz of the Laboratory for the Study of Anxiety Disorders at the University of Texas.
Unfortunately, people judge books by their covers. Even though your pup is a sweet, gentle, friendly dog, some people can’t overcome their fears.
Some breeds get a bad rap.
German shepherds and dobermans are historically bred as guard animals. Pit bulls, unfortunately, are sometimes bred for illegal dog fighting.
However, just because humans abuse certain breeds does not mean the breed itself is inherently “bad.”
In fact, pit bulls, German shepherds and rottweilers are excellent family dogs! Pit bulls have been historically referred to as “nanny dogs” for their excellent nature with children.
There is no such thing as a “bad breed.” There are only bad people who abuse animals.
How do I get people to understand my dog?
In order for fearful people to trust your pup, they need to trust you. By remaining calm and collected, your pet and your friend will be in the right mindset for a proper meeting.
Step 1 – Be patient
Phobias and fears complicate social situations. Being patient is the best way to help someone overcome their fears.
Strangers passing on the street can benefit from the following:
- Move your dog to the side of the sidewalk
- Ask your pup to sit
- Let the passerby know your dog is friendly
Step 2 – Let fearful people spend time with your pup
Allowing fearful people to spend time with your dog is important.
Instruct your pup to sit or lie down, and let the fearful person be in the same space as your dog.
Once she is comfortable, you can encourage her to pet your pup, or allow your dog to come to her.
If she is warming up to your pet, you could even let her feed your pup a treat.
Seeing how dogs are not inherently violent, and are actually more inclined to affection, will help your friend become more at ease.
Step 3 – Play nice
If your pup is very vocal – growling or barking while playing – refrain from exciting him while in the presence of a scared person.
You may know your pup’s emotional reactions, but a stranger can feel intimidated by a vocal dog.
Step 4 – Give your pup a makeover
Showing fearful people your pup’s playful side will help them warm up to your pet.
For example, show your friend how your pup is obedient:
- Tricks such as shake, play dead, and roll over
- Obtaining Canine Good Citizen Certification, an AKC title for good manners
- Opt for flat collars over choke chains, shock or prong collars, which intimate your pup may be dangerous
- If your pup doesn’t mind accessories, put on a bandana or a t-shirt
Show through example
Believe it or not, the issue is not just with your misunderstood dog.
Your demeanor is also important to consider.
Smile, make eye contact, and be friendly when approaching someone who appears fearful of your dog.
Understand people’s fears. Were they ever attacked by a dog? Are they “cat people?” Did they watch“Cujo”at a young age?
Being kind and patient is important.
Also, explain how to properly “read” a dog’s face.
For example, when a dog’s mouth is open, lips pulled back, tongue out with no tension in his face, he is smiling. This expression is similar to a human smile, and invites a smile back.
Additionally, when a dog is wagging its tail with its ears back and relaxed, it is in a calm submissive mindset.
Do you have a misunderstood dog?
Which breed is your pet?
- Pit bull
- German shepherd
- Mixed breed