My Dog Likes Being the Center of Attention
I admit it, I have the class clown, the flirt, and the diva all living at my house and she is the same dog!
She loves being the center of attention and HATES sharing it with anyone or anything for that matter!
I recently got a new tattoo. For years I was a professional artist doing dog portraits and traveling the country selling my artwork, so it seems natural to enjoy adorning my body with some good art. I know it used to be more of a faux pas but in recent time it is seemingly more acceptable (or at least so I hope!).
My dog hates my new tattoo.
She used to be the center of attention when I went out, but due to the bold color and quality of my new arm tattoo she sometimes gets overshadowed by people seeking a conversation over it.
The funny thing is I am very shy. I shy away from attention, and didn’t realize until it was too late that this adornment would bring such responsiveness.
My “Fury” (named after a motorcycle) hates sharing the attention! When people approach she is SURE it is because they want to schnuzzle her, kiss her, hug her, pet her, or at least talk to her.
It is also kind of ironic because people will lightly grab my arm. We are both adjusting to that, as it is not good manners to reach out and grab someone! Not that she shows any negative behavior other than trying to show them they should be touching HER!
WHY is this important to You?
Because recently everyone has been so sure they want a protective dog, and I am here to tell you that having a social butterfly is a much better way to go!
People suffering with dogs that don’t like people would trade their dog’s behavior for that of a solicitous attention getter any day of the week!
It is much better to have a dog that is safe with people!
If you are lucky enough to have one of these flirtatious canines, it is important to teach them when and HOW to socialize appropriately!
If it was up to my dog she would leap on people, knock them to the ground, and pounce on their heads as they squealed. She doesn’t realize on her own that this is considered BAD or even aggressive dog behavior; she thinks she is being as friendly as possible if SHE can pet people on her own.
Dogs don’t understand the basics of human behavior. In fact they find us rather boring and uptight.
The more screaming and flailing a person does the more exciting they become to our canine companions! And, sometimes this gets them into trouble especially when it comes to the elderly and small children.
A well-meaning overly social dog can hurt an elderly person or a child very quickly!
If you need help Teaching Your Dog to Love and Tolerate Children click on the heading!
You Must Teach Them
The first thing to realize is that you need to be able to control the dog!
If you have a wild leaper when people come to your house, you must put your dog on a leash when people come to visit! This is the only way you can control HOW your dog socializes.
I make my dogs sit for interaction with adults and lay down (only with a social dog; laying down can make a nervous or fearful dog worse because he feels more out of control in this position) for interaction with children! It is too hard for them to control their little (or big) bodies while they are standing. But it is very difficult to sit or lay down AND jump on someone!
I also make sure that I am in control of the petter! Many people will say “I don’t mind if she jumps on ME” and whereas that is a kind response…that doesn’t help the 2 year old that wants to pet her or the 92 year old that talks to her outside the store.
It is crucial that your dog learns to treat EVERYONE the same and with the respect that all people deserve!
So, don’t let them jump up on anyone; this sets them up for success even if they are meeting a person that doesn’t like dogs.
Explain to people who want to pet your dog, but demand that if they get up from a sitting or down position that they can no longer be petted. Most people understand if you say, “She has to have good behavior with toddlers too! So I never allow her to jump”
I also don’t allow my dogs to do anything but “flirt” with people who don’t want to interact with them.
I am never going to discourage my social dogs from smiling, wagging, and generally flirting with other people. If you don’t pay attention to my Service Dog she will roll onto her back and expose her tummy and then when she catches your eye, she will wag and wiggle about on the floor. I happen to think it is pretty cute when she does this, but not everyone is convinced (although most people fall for it).
She can only socialize physically when I tell her she can! I usually say “Go say HI” and she goes over rubs across their legs and then sits for them to pet her. I allow this touching because I have learned to control it and I know only how far the rubbing will go, and I encourage this behavior with people at the nursing home. This rubbing can help some patients to wake up from a trance like state and enjoy her.
Once you have total control over your dog you can choose what behavior you want and what behaviors you don’t want.
You can’t change your dog’s personality, but you can learn to work with it and use it to your benefit while being thankful for having a best friend that wants to meet new friends!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.