This blog is addressed to all the pet stores and pet professionals in the industry that are doing dog owners a disservice. I see this quite frequently and it makes me crazy. I often am hired by pet owners to teach their dogs not to jump on people. I normally work with the dog for a few days in my training facility and then we go out in public to work in real life situations.
We go to the pet store and the first thing a clerk does is talk baby talk with lots of physical contact, getting the dog all riled up. The next thing you know the dog is jumping on the clerk and I have to interrupt the dog telling him/her not to jump on people. The way you meet a dog is calm greeting behavior! No touching, no eye contact, no talking. Let the dog come to you and do the customary sniff, then you can pet in a calm manner. Let’s go a step further and ask the dog to “sit” and then pet them. This scenario not only occurs in pet stores but in Veterinary Clinics as well. The employees working the counter should have a lesson on dog psychology. We want our dogs to have a calm greeting behavior, let’s help them by also acting in the same way.
I love my veterinarian’s office. They have a sign on their counter which states, “Keep pets off Counter”. When you enter they ignore the dog while they check you in. Once you are seated they ask about your dog and, if they are so incline, ask if they may pet your dog. They make the dog sit before petting. West Michigan Veterinary Service, “I love you”.
So, let’s review how to greet dogs. If everyone would do this I would have would have to choose another career.
#1 – Ignore the dog
#2 – No Touching
#3 – No Talking
#4 – Let the dog come and sniff you
#5 – Ask permission to pet
#6 – Ask dog to sit and pet in a calm manner (no rough handling)
So how difficult is this? I know people are animal lovers, but I’m an animal lover too. I lie on the floor and snuggle with me dogs. I invite my dogs in bed with me to snuggle, give them people food, and play with them. I do all these things but the difference is I teach them manners too. They have to work for their food and they do not sleep in bed with me. All of my dogs are crate trained and they stay in the crate until they earn their freedom.
So let’s all help each other out with dog training. In third world countries the dogs seldom live in the homes. They live amongst the villagers. You never see these dogs with behavior issues because they do not have the human part of the equation spoiling them. They have balance.
Remember, “It takes a village to raise a dog”.