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Pet Peeve: Social Dogs

Pet Peeve: Social Dogs

Most Saturday mornings I sit on my couch with a cup of coffee and gaze out the storm door to watch the colorful parade of joggers, bikers, and walkers as they make their way past my little house. This calm reverie is usually accompanied by the high-pitched, incessant yapping of the two terrier mixes that live across the street.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re sweet dogs and I’ve learned to tune them out. What drives me to distraction is that passing dog owners allow their dogs to walk right up to the terriers’ gate and nose them through the bars. Not only does this bring on a crescendo of frenetic barking, but it inevitably ends in yelping as one of the terriers redirects his aggression onto the other. This redirection is common in territorial breeds and can happen in a variety of circumstances. Not only do these little guys get extremely agitated by the perceived threat to their domain, but left uncorrected this behavior will probably get worse. But territorialism is only one reason NOT to let your dog nose other dogs through the fence.

First of all, in dog terms, it’s incredibly rude. If everyone who passed by your home peered through the front window, you’d probably stir up quite the ruckus as well. But in terms of basic health, nose-to-nose encounters are putting your pup at risk. Airborne viruses like kennel cough, canine influenza, and distemper pose the greatest threat. While many dogs receive vaccinations for distemper and kennel cough (this would be your bordetella vaccination), seemingly healthy dogs can still be carriers of the virus and, like the human flu shot, not all strains of the bordetella virus are covered in the vaccine so infection is still a real possibility. While it’s less likely that the parvovirus–an aggressive, potentially fatal, virus that usually manifests as severe diarrhea and is transmitted through fecal matter–could be passed through a fence, it’s still possible when paws, mouths, and fur all come into such close and frenzied contact.

So please, neighbors and pet owners everywhere, it may seem cute to let your dog “say hi” to another through the fence, but is it really worth the agitation you cause the dog on the other side or the health risks for your own best buddy?

Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living. Click here for a free sample issue.

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, , , , , , , ,

By Nora Simmons, Natural Solutions

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Natural Solutions: Vibrant Health, Balanced Living offers its readers the latest news on health conditions, herbs and supplements, natural beauty products, healing foods and conscious living.


+ add your own
4:20AM PDT on May 8, 2013

The dog treats you in the way you do to it

5:38AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:21AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Wonderful point, thanks! And please people, if your dog isn't friendly, don't leave him outside unattended where if someone else comes by he can run up & nip them

4:23PM PST on Feb 13, 2010

Great post, Meg!

9:26AM PDT on Jun 14, 2009



2:37PM PDT on Mar 20, 2009

I find that people with dogs become deaf, dumb and blind to the obnoxiousness of their dogs behavior, much like parents of small children. Ever been in a restaurant or store and had to endure screaming children who run up and down the hallways with their parents totally oblivious to the disruption their childrean are causing? Same with dog owners. They seem to forget that barking and yelping is not pleasant to the human ear and dogs should not be allowed to bark excessively and annoy others.
My dog barks because he's guarding his "territory". Ok, but that doesn't mean I need to let her bark herself hoarse just because I understand why she does it!

4:31PM PST on Mar 6, 2009

Disease aside you should never allow a dog to "nose" another dog through a fence. First off, you are trespassing on their territory. Secondly, your dog can be severly injured. In one such case, a small dog lost his nose and upper lip.

4:29PM PST on Mar 6, 2009

Disease aside, dogs should not be allowed to "nose" another dog through a fence. Many times the visitor ends up injured. One such dog lost their nose ... literally!

11:51PM PST on Feb 19, 2009

Half the problem here is when dog owners leave a dog outside to bark incessently. When I walk my dog, I find it very stressful for me and my dog to pass a yard where the dogs race back and forth barking at us as we pass by.
By the way, invisible fences are not fool proof.

1:32PM PST on Feb 9, 2009

Your magazine is generally really enjoyable. However I found this piece frivolous. The term "get a life" springs to mind. It is hardly the fault of the dogs that they are so ill mannered.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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