Meet Charlie, a charming Spanish Water Dog resembling a fluffy lamb, with a curly coat and an irresistibly cute face. While he's a friendly pup, there's one thing that bothers him – the constant urge people have to hug him and ruffle his curly topknot. Due to his adorable appearance, everyone wants to shower him with affection, but there's a catch. Charlie has always been wary of strangers touching him, leading to some challenging situations for both him and his owners.
In this blog post, Jo Sellers from Pippin Pets delves into Charlie's unique predicament and the clever solution his human companions found to protect his personal space. She explores the significance of the "IGNORE MY DOG" lead slip cover and how it has transformed Charlie's daily walks into enjoyable and stress-free experiences for everyone involved. Moreover, we'll discover that this innovative accessory can be beneficial not only for anxious dogs like Charlie but also for canines with medical conditions or those who simply prefer to keep a comfortable distance from strangers. So, let's dive into Charlie's tale with Jo and understand the importance of respecting a dog's boundaries while enjoying our time with our furry companions
Meet Charlie. He’s a Spanish Water Dog and looks like a large lamb! His coat is curly, and he has a cute face. He also has no problem in going up to people to sniff them. But…from a very young age, he was (and still is) very wary of strangers touching him. His problem is that because of the way he looks, everyone wants to hug him or scruffle his curly topknot.
For the last few years, he has been wearing the ‘Do Not Touch’ collar, but this can be hidden in his curls between his haircuts, and it’s not always obvious to see or read unless you are really close to him. Jo said "Those of us who know Charlie are respectful of his personal space, he can sniff us – we cannot touch him. Even in his limited trusted circle of humans, we can only touch him briefly, but need to be aware of his body language to stop when he tells us to."
Out on walks, they have to be really vigilant and shout out to anyone approaching that he is is fine as long as you don’t touch him. Sadly there are some that think ‘they know dogs’ and disregard this advice, ignore his lip curl and nose licks, and continue to ruffle his head or put their arm around him. The only way Charlie knows to create the space he needs is to snap, or bite as a last resort. But these happen in quick succession so the warnings are very quick. Charlie's owners don’t want him to have to feel threatened, as it makes the walk less fun for all of us, and it can encourage him to keep repeating the unwanted behaviour. The only solution is to set him up to feel better, to not resort to the cortisol surges by managing the environments around him.
They walk him in quieter areas, so there is less chance of encounters and therefore less stressful for him and us, but it’s not always possible or convenient. Most of the time he is an angel, it’s the humans that need training!
So this is where the lovely new lead slip cover from My Anxious Dog came in handy. IGNORE MY DOG is a great message! Charlie is more sensitive than he lets you believe, hence his cautiousness around strangers, but this bold, large lettered slip that clips onto the lead is clear, obvious and can be read by other walkers. A flash of yellow. Rather than having to explain (by which time they have already started stroking him), they can see before we approach that care needs to be taken.
Charlie likes a good sniff, it’s good for his brain, but to get information about new people without the dreaded hand lowering to his head is more relaxing for him, and safer for anyone up close.
Charlie's owner said "Now they don’t have to give a long explanation – the wording on the lead cover says it all." We can back it up with a ‘don’t touch him back’ just to make sure! Charlie is happy, His owner is happy, and everyone around him is blissfully aware that they are safe too by following the clear instruction. Most of the time Charlie is great, and tolerant, but you never know if he is in a coping mood or a ‘get away from me’ mood, so being safe is paramount.
Jo From Pippin Pets said "Your dog doesn’t have to be anxious to wear one of these – Charlie’s anxiety is not so obvious as he loves dogs and looks relaxed most of the time. But sometimes our dogs need a little bit more support from us."
Maybe your dog has an injury or medical condition so hands touching sensitive spots could be uncomfortable. Or maybe they have had a history of being scared of hands looming down from above towards their head and being intimidated by this movement. This doesn’t always make them aggressive, but not all dogs like strangers invading their personal space, it’s normal. So the IGNORE MY DOG lead cover is perfect for these scenarios too.
Help your dog enjoy their walks by using this lead cover.
Jo Sellers is an ABTC accredited positive reward dog trainer who’s absolutely nuts about helping you understand your dog. Her mantra is "It’s not luck. And it’s not just dog training. It’s understanding. When you truly understand your dog, and how they experience the world, you can teach them how to enjoy it."