I walk at odd hours, early morning, late at night, in the middle of the afternoon when I think most will be busy and not walking on my path.
I go to parks where there are signs “dogs must be leashed” and hope that owners follow these rules.
I walk in open fields and large spaces so I can see all around me.
I look ahead of me, behind me, around each corner before I get to it.
I cross streets when I see you coming, sometimes go up driveways, into parking lots or behind a building to avoid you.
I buy a treadmill, but it is not for me.
I once had a nice garden with lovely green grass, now it’s a makeshift obstacle course with many toys and items to amuse and keep the mind active.
Am I being “anti-social”?
Is it because I’m a bad dog or dog owner.
I’m being proactive.
I’m doing everything I can to keep my friend safe, confident, exercised and stimulated because my friend is a dog who is elderly, recovering from surgery, is blind and/or deaf, is in training, or is frightened of things; you, your dog, small children or maybe that large bag your carrying.
I am a dog that needs its space.
I am a DINOS.
They might growl, bark, raise their hackles, hide behind their owner, they might even lunge. They are not mean dogs, they are just trying to protect themselves or distance themselves from a situation the best way they know how in their own “dog” language.
As an owner you might think you’re alone, that there are no other dogs or owners out there with the same issue, but your wrong, and once you realize this you can take comfort in the support and knowledge these fellow owners can offer you.
One such place that explains, helps you to understand and gives you the comfort to know you are not alone is Dogs in Need of Space, (created by Jessica Dolce) or as you will get to know it DINOS.
DINOS is a place where dog owners, and non-owners, should visit to help them understand just what a DINOS is all about.
There is a FAQ page that answers and explains many of the questions you might have. My favourite is “Your Know You’re Living With a DINO When….
There is the page that deals with off leash or loose dogs, which is at the top of the list for owners with fearful dogs. Also discussed is what can be the “dreaded” retractable leash.
DINOS also offers a page with printable handouts.
Even a once usually happy, social dog can become fearful and reactive for many reasons, and it not only effects the dog but the owner as in the case of this Service Dog.
I have talked to fellow dog owners/bloggers/people on twitter about this subject, these people reside all over the world, which goes to show that no matter where you live there will always be a dog and/or owner that need their space. There are many dedicated people blogging, tweeting, using Facebook to try and get the word out there to help and protect these dogs and support their owners.
So remember the next time you’re out and you encounter a dog walking with their owner, think twice before approaching.
If they cross over to the other side of the street, don’t take it personally they are just trying to avoid a situation that makes them or their dog uncomfortable.
Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, ask if it’s alright to approach or make contact with the dog, and if they say no, it’s not about you so don’t be offended.
Just because your dog is friendly and likes to play with others that is not be the case for all dogs. These owners are not being rude by asking you to stay away, they are only looking out for and protecting their dog.