Dear Tango,

You’re a big dog like me, so I hope you can help!  I’m kinda huge.. and I’m still a baby so I’m getting huger all the time.. but life ain’t getting any easier.  I’m in trouble all the time.. just for being happy and saying Hi at the same time.  I say Hi, people fall down.. or a whole bunch of owowow.. n then I’m in trouble.  I say Hi to dogs, they run away or go splat or get mads at me.  Just for Hi.  How’s a dog supposed to make any friends if they all fall down, or go grrr or run away?


Bouncing and Baffled



Dear Bouncing and Baffled,

I think I'll call you Trouncer, because I'm guessing that's what's happening when you say Hi.

There is injustice in the world cuz us big dogs have to be more polite than little dogs.  So, you're not alone!  Lots of big puppies have the same problem.  God knows, I flattened my share of people and dogs in the puppy fits of my youth!  Some of it is just the hazards of being huge.  Some of it is that you haven’t quite grasped the concept of respecting physical boundaries and limits, with dogs or people.  That's not your fault!  Any dog'll tell ya, its hard to learn when you’re excited; your brain can’t process then, so all of your people’s efforts and other dogs’ efforts are just going in one big goofy ear and out the other!

See, when excited, anxious or frustrated people (or excited dogs) try to teach an excited puppy.. no one learns anything..  just a whole lotta hoopla.. which is admittedly kinda funny if you’re not the one getting hit by high speed flying dogs!

People speak sounds like Chinese to excited puppies but when calm dogs explain the limits, its amazing how quickly the lights come on.. and once puppies understand the concept of respecting personal space, it is much easier for them to translate the lesson to people.

So, lucky dogs get to hang with dogs like me when they’re babies so they get the message loud and clear, in the language they are born speaking..dawg.  

But.. good teacher dogs can be hard to find so, like too many dogs, you missed that part of early socializing.  Its never too late.. just takes a little more doing once you’re huge and practiced in the art of chaos creation!

Listen up peeps, you need to pre-empt your big baby's greetings, by keeping him on lead, until he is calm enough for his brain to process what you're asking and what he's doing. Then he can be free and play.  If he comes unglued again, he goes back on lead again 'til he settles.  That way, no one gets mad, no one gets hurt and he can start to process info while he's greeting.
And you need to choose his dog friends carefully.  Not many big puppies can really play nicely with little dogs or old dogs; its not malice, just size and a normal puppy self control deficit.  

My pint size brother has been trounced and flattened more times than he can count.  He tries to avoid it, tries to tell crazy dogs to leave him alone.. but, sucks to be wee, cuz they don’t always listen.  So, Mama steps in (partly to protect him and partly because she doesn’t want him forced to be pissy, in self defense; he is feisty, so she's afraid if hostility worked, he might abuse the new found power!) 

Or, if I am closer than Mama, I run interference instead, and tell the bozo dogs to leave him alone.  Even high speed dogs don't try to come through me; they can find their brakes in a nano-second, when properly motivated!  (Brother is mine, see, so I’m allowed to flatten him, but no one else is!)  Hope Mama doesn't read that.. but its true!

Anyhow, you need dog friends that can manage your style of play, and teach you that there are rules to fun play, not friends that will teach you to play even rougher!  They may seem fun at the time, but running with a crowd like that will poop your life party in the long run.  And with all dogs and humans, it is up to your peeps to keep play levels at a dull roar that is actually fun for everyone.. not just you, in the fried-brain yahoo moment.

The good news is, once you learn to stay cool, the world is your oyster!  Everyone will want to play with you and you'll be able to decide which ones are worthy.. like me!  

It is good to be Queen.





Topic: Ask Tango

Posted 5 December 2014, 10:30AM

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