How many of you have witnessed normally calm, sane people (ok I admit it’s mostly us girls) suddenly change and become squeaky, high- pitched, wiggly and excited fools around dogs and puppies? It seems we are conditioned to believe this is an appropriate and preferred greeting to our smaller, furrier friends
(the younger, fluffier and smaller the more extreme it becomes!), no doubt an extension of how many of us behave around human babies.
In the dog world however, this behaviour can be overwhelming and OVER stimulating, confusing the dog and often causing hyperactivity and anxiety.
It is hard for many dogs to feel at ease in your presence if it seems you have no self-control or respect for personal space. The abundance of intense eye contact that goes along with this can also confuse the situation further! It is perhaps unfair and unrealistic to purposefully excite a dog and then immediately expect them to go back to a calm walk or calm behaviour which is what we often do expect!
I have seen so many owners come home, actively excite their dog and then immediately tell the dog off for jumping up or licking. Same thing when greeting someone else’s dog. This doesn’t mean you can’t be happy to see them, but rather, focus on the exchange being CALM at the same time.
It is not fair to make YOURSELF happy by exciting a dog without considering how they may feel, especially as they are usually then told off or asked to calm down again straight away. Some dogs cope with this well but many don’t.
Personally I find it disrespectful and annoying when I’m with my calm (but happy!) dog and someone goes into “the voice” and excites them or pats them enthusiastically ESPECIALLY without asking. By doing this, not only does it tell the dog it’s ok to then jump all over them etc, it can also start a fight if other dogs are there as the energy present has now escalated and can be misinterpreted as unstable.
Pick the times you send a dog into this state of mind - if it’s appropriate and you are purposely initiating playtime, go for gold, and expect high energy free-for-all, with jumping and wild wonderful abandonment! But if you are after a calm walk, a calm greeting, in a situation where you need control or manners, or if around new/strange dogs or people, consider that your energy sends a lot of messages - try being calm, powerful and stable yourself.
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Author: Emma Tucker
Emma has a deep understanding and passion for dog and human psychology and the way these relationships reflect each other. Her knowledge of dog behaviour is 2nd to none.