Not quite the “Dog’s Life” . . .
It’s funny how we associate ease with “the dog’s life.” Some dogs though don’t have it quite so easy.
In this business, it’s a good idea to do temperament checks before we accept dogs into the play area. The idea is to make sure that we’re taking in a dog that will mix well with others. Dogs that are too aggressive, for example, would not be good candidates for daycare. During these assessments, I’m trying to “read” the dog’s body language. I’m trying to better understand how they play, how they communicate, and how their overall demeanor is. As one might expect, it’s somewhat like reading tea leaves. Dog’s communicate extraordinarily well and if you know what to look for, you can often make a good assessment. Still . . . we don’t have the benefit of overt communication to get inside the dog’s head.
Recently, I read an article in “the Bark” about a new study done on “premature graying in dogs.” It turns out that dogs gray prematurely for some of the very same reasons people do . . . STRESS being among them! The study found a correlation between premature graying around the muzzle for dogs with anxious behaviors and fears of loud noises / strangers / and other unknown dogs. Sadly, it’s these very behaviors and fears that are some of the most difficult to cure.
So, while I have a new “obvious” cue to look for when doing assessments, it’s also informative in knowing that not all dogs really do have it so easy! Maybe they’ll come out with a new product: “Just For Dogs”