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Like people, some dogs don’t like strangers getting too close. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog is mean, aggressive, or dangerous. He is just not the kind of dog who will happily accept petting from groups of strange children or adults, or is at ease with other dogs. He may be sick, recovering from surgery, or have a painful condition like arthritis. He may be fearful because of a past encounter, such as a dog attack.

Or, like many humans, he just may be someone who prefers to keep the world at a distance.

In 2011 Jessica Dolce, a dog walker in Portland, Maine, coined the term DINOS for such dogs, and it stuck. It stands for Dogs In Need Of Space. Today, she has a website, book, and Facebook page offering coping skills to owners of such dogs.

Whether your dog is a social butterfly or social phobic, some golden rules of good manners for all owners can prevent bites, fights, or just bad feelings:

  • Keep your dog under control. That means teaching him to respond to such commands as sit, down, stay, and, most important, come. A good way to see if your dog has the basics is the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test.
  • Unless your dog has rock solid responses to all commands, keep him on a leash.
  • On National Dog Bite Prevention Week, it’s important to remember that asking to approach first can prevent not just bites and fights, but a lot of hard feelings.
  • If you have a dog who has issues, keep training and do the best you can to make the him more comfortable in all environments.
  • Find a dog trainer near your location and take the Canine Good Citizen test.

Find a dog trainer near your location and take the Canine Good Citizen test for your dog.

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Canine Good Citizen (CGC)

This program is recognized as the gold standard for dog behavior. In CGC, dogs who pass the 10 step CGC test can earn a certificate and/or the official AKC CGC title.
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