Rusti is a tiny 13-month-old Miniature Daschund. She is wary of people. Too often an approaching person means a large hand over her head.
She looks so cute people feel compelled to touch her.[divider type=”white”]
A looming person. A large hand.
Rusti barks at people who come into her house. She barks at people who approach the man’s car. On walks she may bark at an approaching person.
Because, as people do, they feel that she should allow a person who is being friendly to touch her, her reaction can be embarrassing to them.
Understandably, being that small, Rusti can feel unsafe when someone looms with large hand outstretched, particularly when she’s trapped. She is a lot better when free and off lead.
The man takes Rusti to work with him and she stays in the car. He has an active job where he can keep an eye on her and regularly return to let her out.
Though fine to be left in the car, she spends much of the day looking out for approaching people. She gets very aroused and barks frantically at them to go away. Very often they come over. Sometimes a large hand may even come through the open window towards her.[divider type=”white”]
Looking at the world through Rusti’s eyes.
They will now look at the world from Rusti’s perspective. They are learning to read her signals.
Her humans will do their best to help her out and avoid anything that scares her whenever they possible can. They will get her an igloo dog bed for the car and a couple of window blinds like one might use to shield a baby from the sun.
People won’t see her and she won’t see them.
If they help to avoid people getting too close to her, particularly preventing them from touching her, she should become a lot less wary and then she will have less need to bark at them, “Go Away”. This will build up trust in her humans.
Human beings must be puzzling and scary to a tiny dog. They touch her when they feel like it, they cuddle her, they move her about whenever they wish. She shares their food but they get angry when she helps herself.[divider type=”white”]
Someone she doesn’t know puts a large hand out to touch her. We ourselves wouldn’t like that, would we. When she defends herself by growling or nipping she gets told off.
We expect our dogs to understand us and fit into our world without realising just how little we try to understand them and allow them their own feelings and preferences.
We should act as our dogs’ advocates. Rusti’s feelings are a lot more important than the feelings of a person, usually a stranger, who may want to touch her. Can I pet your dog and why it’s okay to say no