Zulu waits until a dog ventures close then growls and wrinkles her lip to show her pearly whites. If that doesn’t work, she snaps. If the other dog still doesn't get the message, she nips hard...and lets go.
Metro sees a dog and flies off the handle, barking and flinging his body against the leash or fence.
Bailey tolerates dogs until she has to share her owner’s space. Then she attacks with great drama but is all bark, no bite.
In recent columns I described the behavior of Green and Yellow dogs and their participation in group play. Green dogs have safe dog play styles. Yellow dogs need to be carefully teamed up with playmates and behavior managed to create a safe play experience.
The dogs described in the introduction to this column would be labeled Red Dogs. These dogs are real and all of them can be managed safely around other dogs. But they are not suitable for unscripted group play, hence the label among adoption organizations, “Not a dog park dog.”
Red Dog Behaviors
Here are a few common Red dog behaviors that create barriers to safe dog play. Red dogs can be loving family pets, just may not be acceptable playmates in a group setting.