An unusual post from me today.
I’m raising awareness of this fabulous scheme and hope you’ll take a moment to read as you can help make these dogs life easier. If you see a dog wearing a vest like this, or a lead, or the walker is wearing a similar tabard, please help by keeping your dog next to you. I know this might be a pain, and might momentarily interrupt your walk, but you have no idea what a difference it can make. Dogs identified like this are called ‘reactive’ or they might simply need some space for other reasons. There may be a number of things that trigger them, and often it’s other dogs. Reactions include lunging, barking, trying to run away, rising up on back legs or growling and snapping. Usually these dogs ARE NOT aggressive, simply don’t know how to respond appropriately to the trigger, or are very worried about something or in pain. Common misunderstandings are;
They are dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed out/walked/alive (!) – understandable as these reactions can be seen as aggressive. However, the vast majority of dogs would rather run away than attack as they’re mainly worried. It might be good to consider that it’s often irresponsible humans that have made them this way in the first place, so maybe humans have a responsibility to help.
The owners should have more control – believe me, most owners are trying REALLY hard and you’ll see them distracting the dogs with treats, swiftly walking the other way, retreating behind cars/into bushes etc in an attempt to keep their dog calm. Most owners spend hours training and gradually exposing their dogs to whatever it is that worries them. Consider that many owners have taken these dogs on BECAUSE of their behaviour to try and rehabilitate them. If the dog is unwell, the owners are taking their responsibilities seriously in keeping them well both mentally and physically by taking them for a walk.
My dog’s fine and not aggressive, so it’ll be fine – unfortunately, as gorgeous as your dog might be, these reactive dogs don’t necessarily agree and any thought of making friends is overridden by their anxiety/reaction. If they’re unwell, any attention at all may be unwelcome.
My dog isn’t anywhere near your dog, and anyway, he’s only playing – again, understandable, but if you see another dog behaving in an uncomfortable manner, PLEASE be considerate and help by keeping your dog by you and not chasing or bouncing around.
Because many of you are dog lovers, I know you’ll want to make their life easier, so thank you for reading this. Spread the word, and when you see any of these yellow items, please give the walker a friendly smile to show you know!