Dog Blog

The Dog Blog is a community of ordinary dog lovers who have come together to discuss our extraordinary dogs. Each Monday, a new topic is introduced. If you've got an opinion, share it. If not, look for the current "anything goes" topic and introduce a discussion of your own. On Fridays, weigh in about your training questions and successes.
Your host: Mike Lewis is a little-dog nerd and the proud owner of Eddie and Jillian, a pair of Yorkies who think they're huskies, and Lucy, a sweet Chessie. R.I.P., Rusty. Contact mlewis@adn.com

Parks and Rec Committee approves fenced dog park - 1/10/2013 3:33 pm

AACCC Adoption of the week: Meet Scout - 1/9/2013 12:12 pm

Kitty and K9 Connection: Meet Nano - 1/4/2013 7:04 pm

What are your New Year's resolutions for your dogs? - 1/2/2013 4:29 pm

AACCC Adoption of the Week: Meet Rudy - 1/2/2013 4:14 pm

Take extra precaution with dogs on New Year's - 12/31/2012 11:58 am

Friday training talk -- what's up with your pack? - 12/28/2012 11:09 am

AACCC Adoption of the Week: Meet Chris K - 12/27/2012 12:27 pm

Are there situations when you don't trust your dog?

Is your dog rock-solid when it comes to behaving in a socially acceptable fashion around other animals and people? If not, do you know what situations to avoid or how to manage it? Bonus points for examples.

When I think of this topic, I'm reminded of an interview I had a few years ago with the trainer of the Target dog, Bullseye. When I asked about what makes the bull terrier qualified for the job, he said it's rock solid around all types of people and situations that arise when dealing with the public. Kids have hung on the dog, surprised the dog, etc., and its reaction has always been passive.

Although Eddie is a therapy dog, there are situations I know to avoid. If he's on my lap and another dog approaches, he almost invariably will snap at the other dog. After learning about this quirk the hard way, I now manage it by avoiding those situations.

He's solid around people, but if a toy comes out his focus turns to the toy. On a hospital visit one time, a patient surprised me by pulling out a stuffed toy and dangling it in front of him. His reaction was to lunge at the toy. The patient, a kid, had some internal injuries and didn't need an exuberant Yorkie in his lap. Fortunately, I was alert to the potential problem and scooped Eddie up before he could get to the kid and the toy. I now leave toys at home and don't allow others to offer them.

Jillie has never been snappy like Eddie, but she's uncomfortable with restraining hugs. I allow them briefly but I quickly remove her from the situation.

Lucy has the same issue with strangers and restraining hugs. My niece recently earned a growl by giving her one and was admonished for doing so.

How about your dogs?

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