Why Your Dog’s Favourite Toy Belongs at Home (or in other safe places)
Imagine this scenario. You have a priceless, fragile, irreplaceable vase. You have loved the vase ever since someone gave it to you and admire it daily.
A person close to you takes you and the vase to a surprise destination..
It turns out it’s a nightclub and they take you to the middle of a crowded dance floor while you hold your precious vase.
(A) Find a way to leave the dance floor and take your vase to an area where there are no other people jostling, bumping and grabbing at the vase
( Hand the vase around to others because they’re so interested in having it and you’re too much of a conflict avoider to say NO
(C) Freeze with anxiety in the middle of the dance floor and try to stand over the vase to protect it from others
(D) Start yelling at people to get away from you and the vase because they are going to break it with their exuberant dancing. People yell back at you which makes you quickly change to choosing option A, B, C or E.
(E) Begin forcefully pushing people away from the vase to create the space you feel the vase needs in that environment. Someone retaliates and a fight breaks out. You and your vase are removed and although the EXPERIENCE was stressful, your vase is intact and so you feel positive about the OUTCOME.
(While this happens your close friend/ partner doesn’t help you in any way)
After this experience, how do you feel the next time you’re taken to the same place, remembering the stress of your previous visit? You become faster and better at whichever ‘go to’ option was your preference OR you try a few different behaviours and see what works best to get you and your vase the space you desire.
This is what happens when your dog takes their favourite toy- something of great value to them- into situations where there are groups of strange dogs close by.
Save your dog the stress- play with toys at home OR simply away from other dogs. If another dog approaches- take the toy away and move away yourself so that YOU don’t become the resource.
I was at an off lead beach recently and the only altercations I saw ALL involved either a toy OR the anticipation of a toy with dogs close by. Every altercation was avoidable.
(Just for fun- what option would you choose with your vase on the dance floor!!?)