Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Dear Budleigh,

I am a miniature poodle. I want to be friends with other dogs, but I lunge at them barking ferociously. How can I curb this behavior?

Thank you! Pebbles

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dear Pebbles,

I feel your pain. Or might, if you’re biting, too.

You’re being far too hard on yourself when, of course, Society is to blame. I’m not sure who “Society” is, but my yelly Giant blames Society a lot. I think Society is that Giant, Steve, down the street who doesn’t return power tools.

Pebbles, you ask how to curb this behavior. I ask you, “Why?” Lunging and barking ferociously is just one dog’s way of saying to another, “Can I give you my business card?”

Giants often perceive lunging and barking ferociously as aggressive behavior. I think that’s because of our fangs, which they often perceive as razor sharp.

On first meeting, dogs often dare each other to cross a line. Usually made with pee.
On first meeting, dogs often dare each other to cross a line. Usually made with pee.
I’ve never really needed to lunge and bark ferociously at other dogs because, since I’m a terrier, everyone does what I want. But I know that a lot of dogs share your issue, so I brought it up for discussion at the dog park.

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “So what if another dog lunges or barks. Can I still bring ‘em things? Like my brush? Or maybe the leash? Or that squeezy, screechy thing that my Giant says is blue but, of course, I’ve no way of knowing?”

BOXER: “Barking? Yeah, that gets old fast, but I usually overlook it. But lunging? I don’t trust a dog that doesn’t lunge. To me, that’s a big, red flag. Well, I’m told it’s red. I’ve no way of knowing.”

SCHNOODLE: “What’s a French poodle? Is that like French toast? I’m hungry!”

YORKSHIRE TERRIER: “Wait! You said a miniature poodle? How miniature? Smaller than me, right? ‘Cause then I say, ‘lunge and bark away, brother!’”

BURNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “When we bark in the mountains, it echoes for miles. No lunging, though. Too dangerous!”

PUG: “You don’t know what a mountain is!”

BURNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “Do to! My Giants got me one. It’s rawhide!”

PUG: “That’s not a mountain!”

BURNESE MOUNTAIN DOG: “Yeah? Yeah? Well, maybe you’re not a mountain!”

PUG: “Maybe you’re not!”

BOXER: “Lunge at him! Lunge at him!”

GOLDEN RETRIEVER: “Wait! I’ll fetch my squeezy, screechy thing!”

SCHNOODLE: “Am I the only one who’s hungry?”

Some valuable tips there, Pebbles. Just sorry there weren’t more. I couldn’t hear over all the barking.


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