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Tuesday Training Byte: Forced interactions

I recently went to assess a dog for a client and hopefully do some specialized training. I was told that the dog had bitten and did not care for strangers. The dog had bitten her owner on a couple of occasions and growled on shown teeth on another. I was asked if I wanted to wear leather gloves. When I arrived and came inside, I ignored the dog and went and sat down. When the dog came toward me, I kept my hands in my lap, smiled at the dog and spoke to her in a friendly manner without leaning forward. Then I looked away and continued conversation with her owner. The dog is anxious and nervous when approached especially if she is on her dog bed. A dog communicates with body language and facial expressions. If we do not pick up on it, then the dog may end up biting. I do not let strangers pet my dog. When company comes over, I may let a dog in to greet them after they are already seated, rather than standing over the dog. The house is the dog's territory (den so to speak) so they may be unsure of strangers coming in. I instruct guest to not reach out to pet the dog. After a moment, the dog makes it clear that it is ready and wants to be petted. It is still best to not reach over and pet their head, but rather scratch their chest or pat the shoulder. The late Dr. Sophia Yin put out a poster depicting body language showing fear in dogs. I would also add that another sign is when a dog adverts its gaze where you see the whites of its eye.





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