There is nothing like coming home after a trying day and seeing the smile of your best friend.
It’s called Black Dog Syndrome or Big Black Dog Syndrome (BDS or BBDS). It’s a problem that every animal shelter and dog rescue in the world understands all to well.
This phenomenon could be due to a number of things. Geographic location, fear of certain breed types or the fact that large black dogs are thought to be dangerous because they are portrayed that way in films and on television.
Did you know that black dogs, especially large breed dogs, such as Labs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chows, Newfoundlands, and even mixed breeds are usually the last ones to be adopted from shelters or rescue groups? Black dogs are often euthanized at a higher rate than other coat colors.
Here are some other reasons given for why black-coated dogs don’t get adopted as easily.
- They don’t show or photograph well in a kennel setting.
- It isn’t easy to distinguish their features.
- If they have any gray or white hairs on their face, they often appear older than they are.
- They often don’t look as cute as lighter coated dogs.
As to location, In European and British folklore black dogs often appear as evil forces and death. Writers like Sir Walter Scott and Arthur Conan Doyle perpetuated this superstition by using spectral hounds, usually black and fearsome, in their stories and poems.
Some people believe the superstition that suggests that “black is evil” like the symbolism of Scar vs. Mufasa in “The Lion King.” In a 2011 study by the ASPCA, appearance was the most frequently cited reason for adopters of both puppies (29 percent) and adult dogs (26 percent).
This issue has been gaining media attention since the mid-2000s. Tamara Delaney, an early activist against black dog syndrome, developed a website called Black Pearl Dogs in 2004 specifically to address the issue, both by educating the public about its existing, as well as showcasing individual dogs available for adoption.
As one who as adopted a black dog, I’d suggest that they are just a sweet, and just a loving as any other color of dog. She was a great companion and a great teacher. She was loved by everyone she met (animal and human) and when the chance arises again I’ll be the first one to adopt another Big Black Dog …
Becoming The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are
There are a whole host of “self Improvement” books, tapes and classes you can buy or take to help you become a better person.
But before you spend the money, I submit that ALL you really need to do is sit down and be honest with yourself. Look at who you are now, what you want from your life and where you want to be 5, 10 or 25 years from now.
The best way to do this is to make three lists.
On the first list write down everything you like about yourself and your life. On the second list right down everything you want to be or add to your life. One the third list wright down everything you want to remove from your life.
The somewhat easier way is to just become the person that your dog thinks you are! It’s amazing how observant they are, and they will tell you when you have got it right!!!
If you don’t have a dog, you really need to get one. They are great insight into how to live life to the fullest. Go to a local shelter and get one. Your life (and the life of that dog) will be much better for it.
Got a minute or two?
I recently ran across this quote and wanted to share it.
I can’t think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog — completely exhausted after a hard day in the field — limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I’m sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes and goes back to sleep. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that kind of friend.” — Gene Hill
Do you have any questions, comments …. or even some good answers about dogs, dog training, healthcare & maintanence of dogs?
Post them here and if we can’t give you an answer, we’ll find some who can!
This is a video of Patchs and Neka playing. It was taken in my back yard in June 2009. This kind of play session happened 2-3 time per day, everyday! And they both looked forward to some rough-housing to burn off their extra energy.
If you read my past few posts you will remember that Neka was a “basket case” when I got her. The Rescue I got her from told me that she was so anti-social that she would never be able to be around other dogs, and would have to be the “only” dog in the household. They also had concerns about her being around kids and men as she seamed to be very fearful.
This video was taken almost 22 months after I got Neka. By this time I had worked with her for hundreds of hours. Both alone and in controlled situations with people and with other dogs. She was pretty well over her fear issues and had been well socialized. She had learned that dogs and humans were her friends and she loved to play with other dogs and loved to be around people, especially little kids.
When this video was taken Patchs had been living with us for about 2 months and it was like they had been best buddies for ever. They bonded almost instantly! In the 3+ years they were together they only had one little issue and it was over a treat that fell on the floor. The whole thing lasted about 2 seconds because I was right there to stop it as it started! (Patchs started it).
Socializing dogs correctly is the key. With these two, it took me almost a full month of backyard playtimes to make sure that they were cool with each other in every situation before I agreed to bring Patchs into our home!
Socializing is not rocket science. It is just a matter of being aware of the dog’s personality and body language, and then being able to control situations before they get out of hand. This comes by bonding with the dog as soon as you can. Being able to stop play sessions like this one when I saw things starting to “heat up” kept them from playing to rough or going to far. A simple “Enough” followed by “Lay Down” given to each dog was like pushing the “restart” button.
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