Member of APDT, PPG, LIMA Trainer, AKC Evaluator, Puppy Start Right Instructor

What does that mean to advocate for your dog?

It means to act in your dog’s best interest. This includes both physically and emotionally. To best do this, you need to have a good understanding of canine body language so you know when your dog is showing signs of stress. It can be subtle, such as seeing the white of their eyes or panting.

Here is a link to learn all about your dogs body language:

When acting in their best interest, this can look different for every dog. Sometimes, it looks like not allowing others to approach and pet your dog. Even with my nice and friendly dogs, I don’t allow people to interact with them. I don’t know how they will interact with my dog and I do not chance anything. I step in front of my dog and block the person coming towards them. I also do not allow unknown dogs meet mine, again I don’t know how they will interact with mine. Is that dog actually friendly? Does that dog ignore social etiquette and will my dog correct them for it? Will that cause an altercation?

For dogs who need groomed, make sure to set boundaries with your groomer. You don’t want them to keep pushing your dog to lash out. When we constantly ignore signals, the signals will keep escalating. We want to teach our dogs to love grooming instead of teaching them to feel helpless.

It may seem overprotective but think about the repercussions if something does go wrong. Who has to live with the dog who becomes reactive towards people or dogs? Who has to put the work in to get the dog used to grooming again? Who will potentially get sued if the dog bites someone? The answer to all of them is, you.

This doesn’t mean we keep our dogs sheltered inside and never experience life. I allow my dogs to meet my friends dogs who I know are friendly. I allow my dog to meet people who ask politely and I direct them how to interact with my dog. This means toss treats, pet his chest and ask for tricks. My rescue dog does not like any stranger petting him. So, I don’t allow anyone to interact with him. I send my dogs to the groomer but let the groomer know to not push the groom. If he gets very uncomfortable with the blow drier than stop and we can work on it. I’m okay with a wet dog.

It may be lots of little steps now but then you can have 10-15 years of not worrying about it. Having a couple half grooms in the first year won’t make a huge impact compared to needing to sedate him every couple months to get it done.

I advocate for my dog so I can live a happy life with them. I know my dogs are happy and feel safe wherever I take them.