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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some Dogs Don't Know How To Leave

A couple of years ago, my Murphy and I were at an enclosed dog park alone. About 50 feet away, outside the park, an off leash, lone beagle trots by. The Beagle and my Murphy lock eyes and the Beagle freezes. Murphy continues staring and the Beagle starts looking more and more worried. The Beagle looks afraid but he just stays in that one spot. He is not in any danger from my dog. Murphy is 50 feet away and behind a chain link fence.

When I see the tension building, I call Murphy's name. Murphy glances back at me. As soon as the stare is broken, the Beagle takes off at top speed.
The Beagle was scared, had the option to leave, but didn't.
On occasion, when I'm walking my dogs in the neighborhood, I might come into contact with a dog charging out of a yard or screen door. I usually stand my ground in front of the house and yell at the dog, point my cane at him/her etc..
Usually after the incident is over, I wonder to myself if I had just crossed the street and moved further out of the dog's territory, would that have ended the altercation.
I vow to do it the next time. But when it happens again, I find myself frozen in that spot. Thinking that leaving might be worse than staying (and invoking a chase response)
Perhaps that Beagle was also afraid of invoking a chase response. I don't know. Some animals stay in one spot instinctively - baby deer, opossums, etc.. When one of my shy dogs first came to me, she was so afraid of humans that her legs wouldn't work. She'd just lay there in a clump. She'd pee and poop herself if anyone touched her, but she didn't leave.
So when our dogs go up strangers looking like they are interested but then get scared and react, or when babies try to sit on our dogs, why don't the dogs just leave?
- They might not know they have that option?
- They might have been encouraged by their pet parents to approach and/or stay (think sit-for- greetings, using treats to lure forward, asking strangers to feed our pets, etc..)
- They might be scared to leave for fear of the scary monster chasing them. They might want to keep an eye on the threat
- Or they just don't know how to leave.
I don't really know why they don't leave; I just know that sometimes scared or uncomfortable dogs don't leave even though it's an option.

So it's up to us to make the decisin for our dogs. Keep them safe from intrusive people, pushy dogs, etc..

Also see:  
Practice Keeping Our Dog's Safe:

Does Your Dog Really Want To Be Petted:

Dogs Are Not Public Property:

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