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Thursday, Aug. 29th 2013

Black Dogs…

OK this is gonna be more of an opinion piece than fact… Now it might turn out that the ideas are based in fact but I do not know that for sure, so I will just come right out and tell you this is what I think!!!
Ever wonder why black dogs seem to get a bad rap? Or why some say black dogs are more aggressive? I have even noticed that sometimes other dogs will react worse to a black dog??? Well as with many things that end up in my cluttered and cobwebbed mind they have to rattle around for a while and then one day I have this “A Ha” moment and everything seems to makes sense (at least to me, at that moment in time) but this idea seemed to really make sense in my mind so I thought I would share…
I was doing a volunteer training session with a local shelter and we were doing a video presentation on body language and it all of the sudden hit me; I knew why black dogs got such a bad rap. I knew why they seemed to either be on the giving or receiving end of a lot of scuffles… and ironically it has to do with the color of their coats! As I was starting and stopping the videos and showing the different stress, calming and distance increasing behaviors dogs give every day it occurred to me that many had to do with what the dog did with their face… And it became all of the sudden clear why or how it would be really hard for a dog who’s face is solid black to give those same signals…
When something is all black it absorbs light, which makes it appear formless (had to call my sister the art teacher on that one J) but with no form, we also loose shape and that my friends make it really hard for a dog who face is solid black give facial expressions! And if they are hard to give then they are also going to be hard to read not only for humans but for other dogs as well…
Another example similar to this would be that of dogs with docked tails and cropped ears. These dogs due to surgical procedures have lost some of the original equipment they had to “talk” to other dogs and people. Think about it they can’t wag their tails as well and only have about half their original ears in which to send signals…
All of this being said I write this article for a specific reason… I have known for years that black dogs are harder to adopt and for the last 10 years or so always tried to have a black dog or two as part of my pack…I think the more people understand why black dogs seem to have more issues the easier it will be to get the general population to change their thinking of them. If my ideas on having a solid black face does make it harder for other dogs and people to “read” then it also means that we are wrong when we thing they are meaner than the average dog. What it might actually mean is they are simply misunderstood! Now that might mean they will need additional time socializing and more time with other dogs to learn how to compensate with more ear and tail communication or maybe doing more play bows…. But the exciting part for me is that if we have a possible reason why, then we now also have a way learn from it and teach to it making the stigma of the black dog go away!

So as I sit writing this with my two black dogs laying a my feet I just want to remind you black dogs make great pets and hopefully reading this article will get you to give them a second thought!
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