“Decoding Your Dog” is a fabulous book about how to interpret your dog’s language, both verbal and physical. It’s written by several American veterinarians/canine psychologists/dog behaviourists, all leaders in their field. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about dogs.
I chose the above graphic because it ties in with learning how to walk your dog on a loose leash. Which, truth be told, is easier said than done, especially if your dog is like my Shelagh, who, once on a leash, gets so hyped up and eager to go that she loses interest completely in treats. A dog that readily takes treats or is food-motivated is easier to train.
Shelagh is still a work in progress. I don’t expect instant results, we work at her pace, and meanwhile we’re enjoying the experience of being out and about together.
Someone who just adopted a dog from the Refuge recently asked when he’d be able to let his dog off the leash at the dog beach. I told him it’s taken me 3 years to even get Shelagh to the beach at all, and that’s with her being on-leash.
This “traffic-light colour” system for dog harnesses and leads is a great idea. My Scruffy would wear a green “Friendly” one, and Shelagh would wear a “Caution” one.
The problem here, where we live, is that most Australians don’t bother to read signs, or respect them. Too many times we’ve come across dogs off-leash in lead-only areas. And ignorant owners who think it’s okay to smile and wave, while the dogs are going crazy pulling at the leash in frustration, saying,”Don’t worry, my dog doesn’t bite, he’s friendly!”.
To which, I’ll say this the next time:
Folks, please keep your dogs on their leads, unless you’re in a designated off-leash area. And even if in an off-leash area, spare a thought for owners of dogs who may be uncertain about how their dogs will react to other dogs off-leash. If in doubt, practice avoidance. Risking giving the impression of being unfriendly or aloof is much more preferable and cheaper than having to deal with a dog fight and its legal consequences.