Like people, every dog is different. Some dogs are uber friendly, while others can be a bit grumpy. Some dogs love a wet nose in their crotch, but there are also those pooches that take great offense to that.
And if you have one of these dogs, life in public can be more than a bit tricky due to people (and dogs) who don’t understand that you and your dog don’t want to be approached. Between off leash dogs and other dog owners who think every dog is as friendly as theirs, a short walk can seem like a minefield.
Having a dog that doesn’t like his personal space invaded can be very stressful for both the dog and the owner and it’s so hard to address the issues in the unpredictable real world outside our homes.
If you do have one of these dogs, take some comfort in knowing the you’re not alone. There are others out there with dogs who also like and need their space respected. Others who understand what you’re coping with and who are now coming together via a very unique website called Dogs in Need of Space (DINOS).
It’s actually much more than a website – it’s a community and a social movement to educate the dog owners of the world. The site was created by dog walker, Jessica Dolce, after many encounters with people running up to her saying, “My dog is friendly,” while they let their happy-go-lucky pooch get way too close and personal with her get-out-of-my-space dog.
I recently interviewed Jessica for my Make Dogs Your Life Podcast and talked all about Dogs in Need of Space. Listen in here:
Jessica says a DINOS might need some space for any of the following reasons:
- service and working dogs who need space to do their jobs
- illness or recovering from surgery
- leash reactivity
- injuries and painful physical conditions, like arthritis
- intolerance of other animals
- fearful of unfamiliar people
- aging and elderly
- learning self control around other dogs
- fearful of unfamiliar or rowdy dogs
- are owned by people who want to be left alone
She also gives some great advice of what to do when you encounter a DINOS on the street:
- Obey Leash Laws and Have Your Dog Under Control (even if your dog is friendly!)
- Always Ask Permission Before Approaching an Unfamiliar Dog
- Wait for a Response
- Allow Dogs Enough Space to Pass
You can find this and more, including DINOS shirts and vest to let the world know you have a DINOS, on her website.
Learning how to better manage a dog who needs his space in the public setting is a challenge but if all dog owners become aware of the situation and are respectful we can all have a fun time walking our dogs, no matter how much space we need.
Do you have a DINOS? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.