Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I have yet to find a dog who doesn't enjoy going on walks. However, the problem is that not all dogs are leash trained, nor are they all friendly. Sometimes, a meeting between two dogs doesn't go as well as both owners expected. I recently heard about a new idea in collars, leashes and harnesses, with messages that can help make dog walking safer for dogs, their owners and other people.
A company in the United Kingdom has come up with a simple way to send a clear signal to people approaching with their dog or someone just walking that tells them if a dog is friendly, isn't interested in making a new friend, or needs space to stay calm. Dexil’s Friendly Dog Collars were designed to let strangers know what a dog's temperament is like before they are near him. The purpose of the collars is to hopefully cut down on dog-on-dog encounters and dogs biting people who simply want to pet them. It's a system based on a traffic light.
Other messages are available, including two for special needs pets. A gold color signifies a “Nervous” dog that may be unpredictable if approached. White is for a “Blind Dog” that may be limited in his sight or completely blind. White is also used for “Deaf Dog,” which means he's hard of hearing or completely deaf. Blue says “Training,” for dogs being trained by their owner, so please do not disturb. Yellow is a good one for shelters and rescue groups; it says “Adopt Me.”
A message on a collar, leash or harness is a good idea, but proper socialization and training shouldn't take a back seat. Dogs that receive basic training are less likely to end up in a shelter because of behavior problems, and it's much easier to control your dog and keep him safe when he follows your commands. Socializing your pet to different kinds of environments, sights, sounds, other dogs and people helps keep him happy, calm,and well balanced. Positive training with your dog's favorite CANIDAE treat is one of the best ways to strengthen the bond between you.
teach them how to approach an unfamiliar dog.
My first dog, Jack, was a people and dog friendly fellow. He loved playing with kids and wouldn't hurt a fly...unless he was at the vet. Sitting in the waiting room, he'd hide under a chair or in a corner. Anyone who approached him was met with an apprehensive stare. Jack was a handsome American Eskimo who always drew attention while we waited, but people didn't always listen when I asked them to stay away, and I was the one who got grumpy stares if Jack growled. The point is, even a friendly dog can be nervous or scared in certain situations, and is apt to lash out in the only way they know how.
A message on a collar that alerts people to stay away can help prevent dog-on-dog aggression, as well as dog bites if you have to break up a fight. The brightly colored collars are also a safe way for older kids, and people who aren't good at reading a dog's body language, to quickly see if the canine they are approaching is friendly or not. After all, the goal when walking your dog is to make sure humans and dogs are kept safe while you enjoy a stroll with your best friend.
Photos courtesy of Friendly Dog Collars
Read more articles by Linda Cole