My dog would NEVER

This dog is running towards me and clearly sees Luke.  But he wants nothing to do with Luke.  

How many times have I heard "my dog would never?"  Far too many times.  So many owners put blind and I really mean blind faith in the fact that their dog would never, just never.  I'm not talking specifics, but the "would never" is in regards to things that they shouldn't.   Perhaps growl at someone, snap, lunge, steal food, guard an object, fight, jump on someone, bark at a child etc. etc.  Never is a pretty serious word.

Never - Not ever at no time; not at all, absolutely not, to no extent or degree.

Pretty serious words.  Dogs are dogs and as dogs they will be dogs which means that they will act accordingly.  Often the way that they behave is not as we humans want or anticipate.  I regularly talk to owners who have been shocked by their dogs behavior; but when they fully explain to me what happened in the event; the behavior was pretty normal for a canine.  Most humans do not understand canine behavior; not real canine behavior that is.  Many people have the craziest ideas in their head as to what is going on in their dog's head.

Humans tend to generalize far too much when it comes to their dog.  If their dog likes children then they like all children.  Their dog loves to hug and snuggle so they would surely enjoy a snuggle from a neighbor.  Their dog shares toys and bones with their other dogs all the time so of course it would share with any dog right?  WRONG, on all cases.

Dogs have clear rules and those rules are very bendable as they see fit.  Even within a pack there are rules that can change if just one element is different.  What if your dog loves to be hugged by your child?  Does that mean that they always want to be hugged?  NO.  That is why SUPERVISION is a must between dogs and children.  So many accidents that I read about fall solely on the humans.  Where human adults err in judgement and responsibility, dogs and children suffer.

What makes sense to a dog as far as a response may shock an owner.  A behavior that startles an owner is typically one that has unraveled without an owner ever seeing it.  Almost every behavior can be explained by someone who knows canines and their true behavior.  All dogs have limits, even Lassie would have had limits.  But if you aren't paying attention you would never know what was coming.  Maybe Lassie hated being pet on top of her head like many dogs.  Maybe the neighbor never knew this and when he went to pat her on the head she barked menacing at him.  Which of course had the owner run outside to see what his bad dog had done.  What?  Lassie a bad dog?  No Lassie's owner would have been bad in this case.  Do you see where I'm going with this?

Yesterday I met a really great lady and her dog at the park.  Elsa was dying to play with him; a 9-10 month old Lab.  Luke on the other hand is not typically a Lab fan so I kept him back until I saw the behavior of the Lab.  He was quite timid so things changed for Luke's Lab rule.  With a close eye on Luke I noticed that after about 10 min. he had decided to give the young'n one of his "I'm the king around here," barks.  But before he got the chance I called Luke to me.  I could clearly see him pumping up for his lesson.  It wasn't going to be anything bad but the little timid guy didn't need it.  Had I not been watching or assumed the initial interaction was the way it would be, I would have let the little guy down.

Never assume with your dog.  Whenever you do, you know that's when something will happen.  Dogs are dogs, not humans and they do not live by our rules.  Sure they learn amazingly how to live in our world but unless they have experienced every single moment and situation in life there will be things that bring out the real dog in them.  After all they are dogs right?