BLACK DOGS MATTER

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.

dobermanBIG BLACK DOGS — THE PROBLEM

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).

Thisneka-belly 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 …

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DANGEROUS STRANGERS … Aren’t Always People

As dog lovers, we all want to believe that every dog we meet is a happy and well-adjusted dog that loves to be petted and played with! Unfortunately that is nowhere near the truth!

Case in Point:
As Patchs and I were enjoying our walk the other day we came in contact with an elderly gentleman who was walking his two little dachshunds. Its was one of those peaceful scenes that would make a great painting.

As we came closer to them, the dogs both exploded into a volley of uncontrollable barking and lunging in our direction. In itself, this is not that uncommon. But this time it made me a bit concerned. That was because just a few houses away from us were several small kids playing in the front yard. They looked to be around 4-7 years of age.

With their tails tucked and the hair on the back of their necks standing straight up, these two dogs were showing me signs of fear aggression. They were obviously very uncomfortable and warning us to back away. The owner was apologetic. I assured him that I understood the situation and we moved back and across the street to defuse it.

We held our position for a minute or two and watched them move down the street. As they did, I noticed that the man also crossed the street to make more distance between he and the kids. I was glad to see that he was aware of the possible issues at hand.

My concern became confirmed as I saw one of the kids run to the curb as the two dogs began to pass by. I held my breath for a few seconds, but relaxed when I heard the child ask if she could pet the dogs.

The man thanked the little girl for asking but told her that his dogs were not used to being around kids so she better not take the chance. Needless to say I was very impressed with both the child and the dog owner.

After giving the man a minute to make his way down the street, we continued down the street. Sure enough, the girl asked me if she could pet Patchs. So I put Patchs in a “sit” and told her it was OK to come over. I took the opportunity to praise her for “asking” before she approached us.

Just then her mom came out of the house and asked what was going on. I explained the situation and told the mom that I was very impressed with her little girl. After talking with the mom for a few minutes I found out that the family had just gotten a new Yorkie from the shelter last week and that she is teaching the kids about dogs. I told her about the Iowa Dog Trust and my website “A Better Dog 4U” and offered my help if they wanted it. Then we continued on our way.

For many years we have made a very big deal of teaching our kids about the dangers of talking to strangers, but not all dangerous stranger are humans! It’s also very important to teach our children about the dangers of approaching dogs, cats and other animals that they don’t know.

Many thousands of dog bites can be prevented and the lives of thousands of good dogs could be saved every years if teachers, parents and dog owners will just take just a few moments to instruct the kids they know about these dangers. It’s up to all of us to keep our loved ones safe. The human ones … and our pets!