If you are a pet owner with a well-behaved dog, we congratulate you. That’s great. We’re sure you get praise from others about your friendly pup. But what about those whose dogs are wonderful, too, but…well, they’re kind of problem kids. They are nervous, hide, bark at nothing, lunge at other dogs, attempt to escape or poop in the neighbor’s lawn. You know the ones.

If you are the owner of one of these difficult dogs, we understand. It’s tough because you know your pet is trying to learn good behavior. The team at Union Lake Pet Services is here to rally behind you and explain why some dogs do what they do.

5 Things I Wish My Difficult Dog Could Tell You

Owning a dog that is reactive to certain situations can be heartbreaking. You know that your pet is a “good boy,” but his behavior at times screams otherwise. He may be a perfect gentleman at home, then turn into a barking, snapping scaredy-cat when out in public. 

Reactive dogs are great pets, but they need a little extra TLC and socialization. In fact, a reactive or anxious dog often has skills above and beyond those of the average dog. He may enjoy agility and specialized training for pets with active minds and high energy. 

Unfortunately, a difficult dog may get a bad rep in the neighborhood or dog park. Other pet owners and observers can help if they understand a few things about these dogs.

  1. I’m not trying to annoy you with my barking. A dog’s ears are fine-tuned to higher frequencies. Their capacity to hear is twice our own. We can hear at about 23,000 Hertz, while dogs can hear noises that reach more than 45,000 Hertz. What seems like he’s barking at nothing is actually barking at something you cannot hear. Some dogs are more prone to barking, especially if they are in an area unfamiliar to them, as a warning to their owners.

  2. Yes, I am trained, but still working on things. It may be easy to judge a dog that is acting up, but please have compassion. If a dog has reactive issues, he may have had the basic obedience training, but is still a work in progress. Obedience training is different from working on fear-based issues. Even well-behaved dogs can have emotionally based problems. 

  3. Please be patient. We understand that a dog behaving badly can become annoying, but remember that they are trying. Just like you might with your own child or pet, practice patience and graciousness. No one ever progresses without a little help. Plus, it makes things more pleasant for others by treating these disruptive pets with good manners and courtesy for all.

  4. Ask my owner to approach me first. Anxious dogs and reactive dogs are often afraid of strangers. They may need a little space and time to get to know you. Avoid a reactive bite or accident by asking the pet owner if you may approach. This is a good, safe practice with any pet you don’t know.

  5. Know that we all have our quirks. Let’s face it, no dog (or person) is perfect. As much as you’d like to believe that big goofy lug of your own is a superstar, he probably has a few quirks of his own. That’s what makes our pets special. If a dog is reactive, help the owner by giving the dog a wide berth and the owner a smile of compassion. 

Do You Have a Difficult Dog?

If you have a reactive or anxious pet, what else would you like others to know?

The team at Union Lake Pet Services offers training and socialization classes for Quirky K-9s that can help! Your pet may have some basic obedience skills, but needs refreshers or specialized training for anxious or reactive dogs. Call us to inquire.