Let’s start with the fact that dogs do not like to be picked up. When they lose contact with the ground, they feel uncomfortable and their sense of security disappears. Of course, there are situations when taking a dog in your arms is justified or even necessary – this applies mainly to puppies and dogs who are sick. We can also take a pet when it saves him from chewing or trampling.
We should only take a pet when we really cannot support it in any other way. This is an emergency solution and we should treat it this way – says Joanna Hajdyła-Jarosz, zoopsychologist and dog trainer, founder „Dog Education” school.
Hand picking allowed
In what situations will a poop be a godsend for him? When another dog runs towards him, who has jumped from the leash, and there is no owner nearby or we see that the owner is running after his dog and unsuccessfully tries to recall him. Or when a dog approaching us is behaving aggressively towards other quadrupeds.
But first, before we take the dog in our arms, let’s try to protect him by standing in front of him. For a running dog it will be a clear sign that we don’t feel like contact – the behaviorist advises.
Taking a dog in his arms when a larger dog runs up to him leads to the so-called inslearned helplessness. The dog learns that the owner always pulls him out of the uncomfortable situation, so he does not have to react adequately to the situation.
It’s important not to strip the dog of the opportunity to talk to another dog – not humanly, but doggy! – explains Hajdyła-Jarosz.
Frustration, anxiety and aggression
A dog picked up by the owner usually feels uncomfortable in this situation, cannot communicate, so it begins to snatch and bark, which causes increased stress for both the dog and the owner. Dogs moving without a leash usually decide for themselves whether they feel like contact and interaction. If they do not have it – they communicate it by avoiding contact, snarling or blocking another dog with the body and go away. The dog on the hands of man is not able to leave, increase distance or transmit stress signals. He cannot communicate, so he is frustrated, afraid and behaves aggressively. The reaction of the larger dog still on the ground is then getting up and jumping. Instead of being muted, the situation winds up.
First of all, we must consider whether the situation we found is comfortable for ourselves. If we feel bad because we are afraid of a dog who approaches our pet, let’s just break the situation and calmly, on a loose leash let’s go in a different direction. Loose leash and our peace of mind are crucial here, because dogs perfectly sense human emotions, and the leash is their relay. Every jerk – or even leash tension – gives our dog a signal that something bad is happeningabout.
Imagine that you are attending an elegant dinner and someone suddenly makes some terrible blunder. All participants of the dinner know this, but it is not proper to laugh. So they poke under the table and exchange knowing looks, „explains the behaviorist.
For dogs, such a furtive sign is the leash tension, the direction in which our body is directed, or the tone of voice we speak. For our dog, everything we do (even unconsciously) matters. In addition, dogs very quickly generalize. So when at the sight of a large dog the owner shows nervousness, takes a pet on his hand or jerks and leash and this situation is repeated, the dog quickly learns that large dogs should be afraid. And fear leads to aggressive behavior.
Learning social behavior
Dogs, like people, acquire social skills through contact with other representatives of their species. So they learn from other dogs how to behave in a given situation and how to „talk” to their own species. It is worth from the first months to allow the dog to contact other dogs of different breeds, sizes and temperaments. However, if you have avoided contact with dogs larger than our own pet, you can still change it.
A large walk with a small walk
We can start with a walk with the big dog we know. We walk on long lines (not flexi!) In a safe, familiar area, at a free distance from each other. We lead dogs on the outside so that, if they feel like it, they can meet, if not – they can stay at a comfortable distance from each other. If the dogs like each other and show a desire to play, we unleash them, if not – we just split.
On a safe area
It may also be a good idea to go to the dog paddock with designated areas for small and large dogs. We can then observe how our pet reacts to the presence of other large dogs behind the fence. Dogs can then sniff and communicate in safe conditions (over the fence).
Such meetings only make sense if the dog park is empty, there are no other random dogs we don’t know. If it is a one-on-one meeting, then we are able to control the whole situation and not make a mistake – adds Joanna Hajdyła-Jarosz.
School of Communication
At a later stage, it is worth going for a socialization walk, in which dogs of various sizes participate, and if we still have doubts – take part in dog communication classes. There, under the guidance of experienced trainers, dogs learn to cope with interactions with other dogs and to communicate correctly and effectively with them, and their owners learn to give their dogs support and build a sense of security in them.