Knowing your dog is so very important, but many people go through life without fully knowing or understanding them. Yesterday when I was at the park a man walked by us with his two cute little munchkins and gave us a heads up. "There is a guy with a black dog around corner that went after my dog," he told me. I asked if the dog had been on a leash? He said "yes, they were just saying hi and it attacked my dog." I thanked him and we went on our way. Needless to say I kept my eye open for the black dog but he seemed to have left.
This got me to thinking that many people really do not know their own dog. Had this guy known his black dog he would have passed on the greeting. Of course I didn't see what happened but it's a good guess. I used to tell people from far away that Jessie was not friendly, it just wasn't worth all the bluster from her and shock from other people. She was the ultimate "alpha bitch," and went through life wanting everyone to know that fact.
Another park encounter of ours was averted because I know my dogs. We were walking down the path and saw a young looking, very friendly lab. He had a spring in his step and was growing increasing ly excited when he saw my guys. I knew in an instant that Luke would not like this dog, he's not a big lab fan. I told Luke and Elsa "this way," and we veered into the field a bit just as Luke mustered up a gruff sounding exhale. He'd been watching the dog and had his warning already when I made him change course.
At the moment Elsa likes everyone, she is still young and social. In fact she will be 10 months old tomorrow and I love how social and dog savvy she is. She has had so much socializing with a wide range of dogs that her skills have been becoming more and more fine tuned. So far there is nothing that I have to steer away for due to her likes and dislikes. Although if I do see trouble coming or stirring I will remove us. One bad altercation can be enough to start a problem that was not there in the first place. She has now met some grumpy dogs and we quickly find a nice one afterwards; a sort of back on the horse thing so there is no lasting impression, just a life lesson.
But knowing your dogs ins and outs takes time; it takes a great deal of watching and paying attention. How many times have I heard people say to me "I don't know why he does that sometimes?" I say all of the time "Luke's not going to like this or that." I know my boy and he is an extremely complicated yet simple guy. Watching is so very important, not only watching but taking in and learning. Why is your dog reacting the way they are? Almost everything in a dogs life is caused by association whether it be positive or negative. Our job is to make it mostly positive and help them through our human world.
When you go out with your dog, watch. Don't be talking on the phone or in your own world. Watch how they are dealing in your world. Get to know them on every different level. Learning how they see the world will help you to know how they feel about situations that you can then avoid if needed. It's all about knowing your dog, do you?