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Silence is not always golden

Published on 19th October 2023

Just because a dog ISN’T lunging or barking it doesn’t mean to say that they are not scared, anxious or unhappy

In my experience of working many years with anxious dogs online and in person with Cheltenham dog owners I’ve seen many dogs who have silent conversations.

  • Avoidance of other dogs
  • Freezing
  • Rapid movements, no ability to focus
  • Salivating excessively
  • Shutting down

Just because a dog isn’t lunging or barking it doesn’t mean it’s not scared, however many owners aims are to have a quiet and calm dog.

I mean what’s more embarrassing then Fido pulling, lunging and barking down the road?

However dog owners, like yourself want your dogs to be HAPPY.

A happy dog means a stronger bond, a happy dog means one that can join you on a walk, a dog that does not bite or stop visitors wanting to come round.

So how do we determine if a dogs happy?

How do we know if it’s shutting down?

🐾 Body language

As a dog owner it’s often hard to read your dog’s body language. But often you will see them exaggerate certain behaviours and completely freezing or as I call it ‘getting stuck’ this is a sure sign that your dog is not happy.

Of course all dogs are individuals. That’s why I can’t be too specific in my posts – my posts are more of an educational tool.

🐾 Watching your dog

But what you will need is a more experienced eye, an expert, or even by watching dogs in the field having many of these silent conversations you will learn so much.

Over the past few years I’ve met a few incredibly anxious dogs – now saying met, in fact I didn’t meet them in a normal sense.

I could see instantly, from a safe distance and set up they were not 100% happy in my presence.

🐾 Time, distance and gradual introductions

Did I lure them to come over with a treat, no.

Did I go up and stroke them, certainly not.

I give them time, distance, gradual introductions.

Simply teaching them to lye in their bed or some trick training is not going to solve the underlying issues.

A dog who’s tense and anxious in his bed or a dog doing a weave under my leg just to get a treat (despite being scared) is not a happy one.

I am not prepared to put a dog in a situation that will make it feel uncomfortable as above.

🐾 A happy confident dog

So the take home from my post – I’m not just here to stop your dog barking, I’m here to achieve so much more.

A happy, confident dog, one that you can enjoy walks with.

I don’t want to see a shut down dog, a dog that’s unhappy.

So if you call us out for a consultation, don’t be surprised if we ask your dog to be in a separate room, or begin by some parallel walking outside.

Your dog’s welfare, your safety is the priority.

Thanks for reading,
Helen & Tristan

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