MY DOG GROWLS AT SPECIFIC PEOPLE; IS HE A RACIST?
It is not nice to think that the animals that are human's best friends can have negative, stereotyped, attitudes, such as those we associate with racism. But the truth of the matter is that sometimes people complain that their dog is sexist as well. These complaints usually come from a female owner who claims that her dog doesn't like men, or is fearful of them. In human beings, racism, sexism, ageism and other prejudices are not inherent, but usually the product of upbringing, traumatic experiences with certain types of people, or exposure to an environment in which negative attitudes toward specific groups are common. The same is applicable to the dogs.
The fact of the matter is that there is recent research which shows that very subtle behaviours on the part of a dog's owner can influence the dog's behaviour and its attitude toward other people, perhaps enough to result in the development of racism or sexism on the part of the dog. Thus we would have to conclude that the dog is not racist at all, but rather a good reader of his owner's emotional responses.
Furthermore, not been racist in behaviour, dogs may growl at specific people on the basis of their smell and look.
People have different scents to dogs. Dogs are 10,000 to 100,000 times better at smelling than humans. Because of this disparity, we cannot imagine all the information that our dogs can gain from someone’s scent. Interestingly, trained scent dogs can even distinguish between the scents of identical twins from the same environment and eating the same diet. A dog can smell where you have been and who you have been with, maybe for a long time. Your dog may smell something so subtle on one person that causes him to growl – your human nose would never notice. Your dog may even perceive something that he has learned to associate negatively, like a strange dog or the smell of another dog’s fear.
Some people look shady to certain dogs. Unlike human, dogs depend on their vision less than their sense of smell. Dogs use facial recognition to communicate with each other and human beings may not see facial features in the same way as dogs do. When your dog growls at one person and not another, it might be that he sees a feature that is reminiscent of a threat to him in his memory. People also differ in size, features, and the way they move. Certain people’s features or movement style may remind your dog of a threat or even seem unfamiliar to your dog, so he feels afraid and insecure. We know that even familiar humans can also seem threatening to dogs if they move suspiciously.
However, you can look into managing such behaviours and occurrences. Basic Pet Dog Training might be helpful.
Doggy Husbandry are part of pet dog training 101. Having your dog train is a great way to interacts, bond, trains and building the basic impulse controls. If you need help in Dog Obedience Training, kindly check out our BASIC LIFE SKILLS LEVEL 1 & 2.
PUPS introduces positive dog training concepts sequentially through our life-skill levels programs. Each level of training includes basic animal learning and understanding how dogs tick! Basic animal learning program helps students develop a basic foundation of dog training.
Shi Wen Xin
Asst, Dog Obedience Trainer, Basic