On Tuesday night I interviewed Dee Green, Canine Behavior Therapist and owner of BalancedDogs.com for the Pet Business Success Circle monthly expert call.
I had invited Dee to come to the call to discuss the safe way for a pet sitter to manage an aggressive dog. I loved that Dee came to call with a pro-active approach. She suggested to us on the call that instead of worrying how to manage an aggressive dog it’s much better to know some techniques to immediately put a dog at ease and reassure them that you are not a threat. I couldn’t agree more!
I don’t usually share the special tips from these calls with you – I usually save them for members only – but this tip is just too important not to share as it can protect the safety of a pet sitter.
Dee recommended that at an initial client interview visit that when you meet the dog or dogs you should follow these three rules:
1) No touch
2) No talk
3) No eye contact
Let the dog come to you and smell your legs and be as calm and quiet as possible. When he is done sniffing you he will then walk away. This greeting will instantly communicate to the dog that you are there to lead them, and that you are not a threat to them. It will put them at ease. This is how dogs greet each other in a non threatening way.
When you follow this plan you will know how the dog feels about your presence. If they are open and friendly, they’ll look up at you, or go get a toy and bring it to you. If they are nervous they will back away, but will be back to sniff you as long as you give them their space. An aggressive dog is more likely to greet you by barking, lunging, or growling. They may also nudge you to see if you respond.
If you meet a dog and greet them with lots of baby talk and excitement you may mask how the dog will behave when they are alone with you. You will put them into an excited state too.
You probably want to explain to the pet owner why you seem to be ignoring their dog and explain the reasoning behind this technique to them. You don’t want them to think you are not interested!
If you do meet a dog that is truly frightened they will avoid contact with you and shy away and hide behind furniture when you approach. The best move is always to wait and let them approach you first, no matter how long this takes. Just keep following the 3 rules and they will eventually come up and sniff you.
Dee had many other great tips including :
How to make walking dogs more manageable
How to avoid trouble when you run into other dogs while walking
How to let the dog know that you are the Pack Leader to make sure they obey your commands
Dee even helped me out with some of my own dog troubles at home.