Pet peeves — we have them for encounters with humans but what do the professionals say who work with dogs on a daily basis?
1. Pets left alone and tied-up in the yard all day
If there’s one thing Peaceable Pet owner-pet sitter Robin Peterson and her chief dog walker, Marcy Gersh, find most annoying is a dog tied up unattended for hours in someone’s yard.
Robin says, “This is tantamount to dog abuse! The dog is left unattended for hours. It has no human interaction. Sometimes no water or shade is available. Boredom sets in. Barking can be the result-incessant barking.”
How about when another dog strolls by-leashed or not on a leash? The tethered dog goes crazy pulling on its restraints. It repeatedly gets yanked and jerked back to its tethered spot.
2. Dogs walked on retractable leaches and uncontrolled by owner
Marcy’s friend Sue A. — founder of Peaceful Paws, a nonprofit no kill rescue organization — says what really drives her crazy is when people walk their dogs on retractable leashes and the dog lunges at other moving objects, such as other dogs, humans, bikes and cars.
Sue goes on to say when a dog is off-leash and the person attending it calls the dog, the problem arises when their dog does not come, and when the dog does come, the person yells at it. Now what dog would want to come to the person calling it if the dog knew they would be punished?
3. Jumping Dogs
Lastly, Sue finds it bad manners when she enters a home and the dog jumps all over you, and the owner does nothing.
4. Encountering dogs off-leash
Walking the Dog owner and dog walker Lisa Saul gets very frustrated when she is walking a dog belonging to a client and she encounters people walking their dogs off leash. The owners call out to her, "That’s okay, my dog is friendly."
"Since they don’t know my dog, the dog owner has no idea if the dog I am walking is friendly," Saul says. “And,” she continues, “they also don’t know how the two dogs will react when they meet each other.”
Lisa is correct. She is definitely at a disadvantage. Before the two dogs have met, they have already sent “invisible “ messages to the other dog, via their body language, of how they will respond to each other.
If Lisa is walking an aggressive dog, and the other dog that is not on a leash meanders over to Lisa’s dog — look out! The loose dog is not reading the body language of the dog on the leash. If the dog Lisa is walking is anxious, this behavior can turn to fear-flight, or if she is lucky, avoidance. Aggression is not something anyone wants to encounter between two dogs, especially if one is not leashed.
Reading body language is an art. The author and successful dog trainer Brenda Aloff has made a in-depth study of body language of dogs.
In her book ”Canine Body language-A Photographic Guide”, Aloff states…” dog behavior is not random, despite how it may initially look to us! While some behaviors may seem superfluous to people, the behavior is serving a function for the dog. It is either a reflection of the dog’s internal state or a deliberate attempt to communicate with you or someone else. Your dog is talking to you all the time. ALL THE TIME!”
These are folks who work with dogs and people daily. They have learned to read and recognize animal behavior. In working and training dogs, these professionals learn how to see the world from the dog’s point of view.
It is so important to have your dog display good manners. One of my clients was asked to leave the grooming facility where she brought her dog. Why? her dog attacked another dog.
David Gibbons owner of Groom and Go grooming shop says his biggest pet peeve is when a new client tells him, "My dog doesn’t bite; it just nips a little. Maybe he or she puts his mouth around your hand when you are clipping its nails.”
"I know we are in trouble," David says.
As you can see, pet peeves affect others in ways we may not think about. Good manners for our dogs extend beyond the home. In every encounter we have — just walking down the street to going to the groomers — it is up to you to make sure your dog is a well-behaved canine citizen. After all, the dog’s good behavior reflects on you.
Julia Levitt is the founder of In Harmony Dog Training and Ann Arbor Animal Hospital’s “Miss Harmony” for dogs! She is available to help your dog be a better canine citizen, and answers questions about Canine Behavior here on our blog from time to time.