When I see reactive dogs with growling, barking, pulling on the leash, my first thought is, “How is that poor creature being socialized?”
Sometimes a bark is just a bark, squinty eyes are just squinty eyes, and standing still is just being still.
But sometimes they are not.
Sometimes when a single innocuous behavior appears in a cluster of behaviors, it becomes a sign of something very serious that is underlying, and professional help is needed.
As with all symptoms, sometimes it is something and sometimes it is nothing, and that is on a very large spectrum. It takes keen observation and diagnostic skills to sift through what is really going on.
For example, growling in play is not the same as a hard growl, with tight body posture, tip toeing forward, pilo erect, and hard staring eyes. It is important to always have context and perspective.
Dogs are allowed to have opinions, just like we are. But it is what they choose to do with these opinions that interests me most.
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