How to be a Popular Dog Owner
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Canine Behavior Associates
Academy of Dog Behavior Classes are Relocating!
Just two more modules will be taught at Humane Society Silicon Valley (only because the commute from Marin is wearing)  After that, they'll be held at Lily's Legacy, a wonderful sanctuary/rescue in Petaluma
Advanced Modules for Academy Grads at
Humane Society Silicon Valley

Working with Fearful or Anxious Dogs in Shelters and Homes will be held from 1 to 5 pm on Sundays, May 7, 14, and 21.  
This course has been approved for 12 CPDT CEU's.
Puppies to Adolescents and Aging Dogs will be held form 1 to 5 pm on Sundays, June 11, 18 and 25.  
Part I - Puppies - from birth through adolescence
Part II - Aging dogs - special needs of the aging dog and how owners can help
Academy Classes at Lily's Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary
Each class is 12 hours long
three weekend afternoons from 1 to 5 pm
  • Aging Dogs (stand alone workshop) - August 20, 2017 (FREE) -- ALMOST FULL
  • Instincts, Emotions  and Body Language - Sundays, September 17, 24, 10/2
  • Multi-dog Households - Sundays, October 8, 15, 29
  • Growth, Needs and Socialization - Sundays, November 5, 12, 19
  • Dog to Dog Aggression - Saturdays, December 3, 09, 17
For more information and to enroll in these or other classes, please click here
Helping Others to Love, er, Appreciate Our Dogs

We love our dogs…and we want everyone else to feel the same!  In fact, many dog lovers have a really hard time understanding or relating to people who don’t love dogs.  Without going into the mental aspects of this particular characteristic, there are some actions we dog owners can take to help other people enjoy and appreciate our dogs… and there are also some actions non-dog owners can take to help dogs like them!
Canine Manners - It's Only Polite
Your dog might be the most lovable, sweetest and cutest dog on the planet, but others may not see him the way you do, especially if he displays one or more of these characteristics. 
  • Jumping up to greet people
  • Mugging people for attention (especially mugging in the crotch area)
  • Barking for attention
  • Charging towards other dogs
  • Mouthing or biting strangers in play
It’s within a stranger’s rights to expect that you can control your dog so that they don't have to take any action themselves.    They shouldn’t have to tell your dog to sit, or give him a treat (unless they ask and you want to).  A pedestrian shouldn’t have to cross to the other side of a sidewalk – or the road – to avoid your dog.  Nor should a person walking her own dog.   A jogger shouldn’t have to slow down to a walk (although it’s generally a good idea to do so), and a person trying to find his car in the shopping center parking lot shouldn’t have to be startled out of his mind by a dog lunging from a car window.  In the best possible world, a person who walks past a yard shouldn’t be startled out of her reverie by a dog barking and lunging at the fence. 
House Manners - Our Responsibilities

When someone visits a home with a dog (or dogs) it can be a great experience, or an exercise in self protection!  Many dogs are sooo excited about someone new in the house that they just can't contain themselves!  We've all experienced the dog that supposedly knows how to "go to his mat," but once he's there quivers, shakes and eventually loses all control, bounding up to the visitor in an ecstatic welcome. 
We owners are then in a position of not paying any attention to our guest, while trying - usually ineffectively - to put the dog back where he is supposed to be.   Alternatively, of course, some dogs are positive that any visitor is the Devil incarnate, and will do their utmost to drive them away...causing much angst all around. 

The solution to this issue is simple - put your dog(s) in another room or crate them when people come over - your guests will thank you, even if they don't know what they're missing.   And you can actually greet them!  After your dog is calm, and your guest are seated, he can come visit the visitor.  (You do have to practice the whole "put them in another room" thing, or they will indignantly bark every time you do it).

Town Manners - Their Responsibilities

When you visit doggie friends, it's a great idea to actually honor their requests, most of which will be along the lines of "ignore him until he has calmed down."  If enough guests do that, a dog will actually improve his behavior.   It does feel cruel, especially if you truly "don't mind - I love dogs!"   But you'll be doing your friends a service!
Manners about Town - Our Responsibilities

If you're walking in a town or city, your dog should walk relatively close to you in order to avoid other people.  Though it may be convenient in other locales, using a retractable leash is unwise in a town setting, as your dog then has control over direction, speed and destination – all of which you should be in charge of.  Teaching a dog to walk politely is difficult, but doable, and if you are a townie, it’s a necessity.
  • Polite walking takes care of most of the problems listed above.A politely walking dog doesn’t jump up on passers-by, bark for attention or snap at strangers.
  • Another simple, but valuable exercise is – sit!  Not just sit, but sit and stay.  Probably 90% of dogs will sit on cue, and probably 10% of dogs will actually stay when we ask them to. This is not because they are incapable of staying, but rather because we don’t practice what can be a boring exercise, no matter how valuable. 
Town Manners – Their Responsibilities
Whether you’re walking your own dog, or walking sans dog, you have certain responsibilities to the dog and walker moving past you.  This is also true if you are jogging, running or bicycling past a dog. 
  • Give them some space.  Some dogs are very friendly – too friendly – and would love to greet you in the manner that comes most naturally, by jumping up.  Dogs greet each other, and us, by trying to reach the face, where most of the interesting information resides.  They can be taught not to, but that’s not your problem.  Your problem is not getting mugged!  So, the easiest way to avoid being dirtied and discomfited is to stay out of the dog's reach..
  • While this falls under the above category, it’s worth its own bullet point.  Don’t pet or hug other people’s dogs, unless you are invited to, and you feel comfortable doing so.  Hugging, especially, can be taken completely wrong by a dog, who may think you are overpowering or challenging him.  But even petting, especially on the top of a head, can be seen as threatening, particularly by fearful dogs.  By the way, even social dogs often don’t appreciate being patted heartily on top of their heads – we wouldn’t either!
  • If running or bicycling, make sure you give lots of space.  A couple of things can happen in the dog's brain if you zoom by.  The first is that you are prey.  Dogs are hunters by nature, and the predatory instinct is sparked by movement. You move, they chase.  The other thing that can happen is that you scare the @#$% out of an unaware dog.  This could cause the dog to bolt, or it could cause them to bite – this depends entirely on the dog.
Trail Manners – Our responsibilities
When walking our dogs off leash, we should give every consideration to approaching people and/or people and dogs.   If you see a person ahead, and their dog is on leash, it’s a good idea to leash your own dog.   Their dog might be overly-friendly, fearful, cautious, suspicious, elderly, in pain, or just not interested.   Or the owner might not want his dog to meet other dogs.   Of course, if your dog does a perfect heel and will ignore other dogs, then you needn’t leash her up.  But most of us don’t have that much control. 
If, on the other hand, their dog is off leash and approaching in a calm, casual manner, it should be fine to leave your well behaved dog free, so the pair can briefly meet and then part.  
If your dog is big and the oncoming dog small, be aware that small dogs feel quite vulnerable and an enthusiastic greeting by your dog might be taken as an attack.   If your dog is small, and an oncoming dog is large, remember how vulnerable your little guy is and be prepared to take preventive action, like picking him up (one of our little dogs is now afraid of Border Collies, because an over enthusiastic adolescent chased her.  He was just having fun.  She wasn’t).
When bikes, joggers or runners are in the vicinity – the best idea is to move to the side of the trail, off leash if your dogs don’t chase, on-leash if they might think about it.  This avoidance maneuver is apparently pretty rare, because when we do it, the cyclists and runners often thank us profusely!
Trail Manners – Their responsibilities
As with town manners, it’s not appropriate to approach a dog, especially if you haven’t asked whether you can.  It’s also a great idea not to look directly at an oncoming dog, or if you do, make it very brief.   Staring is rude, and can be scary for some dogs. 
If an off leash dog runs towards you, the best defense is often just to stop and look harmless.  Stay calm and stay still.  If you run, he’ll run.  And he can outrun you!   
Yard Manners – Our responsibilities
If you’ve ever walked past a yard and a dog suddenly barked and lunged at you from behind the fence, you know how disturbing that can be!  It can take minutes for your heart rate to return to normal.  So…If your dog has a tendency to bark at passers-by on the road, some management may be called for.  When the dog is outside, you should be too, or your dog should be on a dragging leash so that you can control her when needed.

Dogs in cars can also be very territorial, and though it might be comforting to know that no one will be stealing your car, your barking lunging dog might be giving passers by a heart attack.  So it's generally advisable to put your dog in a crate or a seat belt to prevent the problem. 
Yard Manners – Their responsibilities
Dogs behind fences are often more vocal and obnoxious than when they’re not behind them.  This is territoriality, and it’s pretty much impossible to completely eradicate.  So, if you know that fence has a dog behind it most of the time, it’s generally polite to cross the street and avoid the dog.

At the risk of sounding obnoxious, it all boils down to thoughtful courtesy.
If you or someone you know would like a consultation, or to see a topic covered in this newsletter, or if you have expressive dog photo's you might like us to use, please email
Trish King
Tricia Breen

Art by Robin King
Copyright © 2017 Canine Behavior Associates, All rights reserved.

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