Letter To The Editor: Confused About Sudden Dog Hoopla

Los Alamos
I am sort of confused about all the reports of dog attacks and such suddenly surfacing her in Los Alamos.
First of all, we have a wonderful team of animal control officers who take very seriously any report of a dog attack, and they do make owners accountable.
Secondly, people are making it sound as if any dog encounter is automatically going to erupt into a dogfight. That simply is not the nature of dogs. Coming from the ancestry of wolves, their first instinct is to not become injured, so fighting isn’t the first thing two strange dogs would engage in.
Dog behavior is pretty predictable, they are going to “read” the pack leader’s (hey human, that would /should be you) language, via body language, voice, even adrenally. They also are tuned into surrounding humans’ actions and reactions. Your dog RELIES on you being in charge, needs you to be under control and reliable.
If you are tense, scared, screaming, freaking out, your dog is one 100 percent going to react the way you want them to when you are threatened. They come to your defense. That’s what it is, people, they are defending you against the threat you just informed them you are under. Unless you are completely wigging out, then your dog is saying to themselves “wow, the leader just lost the ability to lead, therefore I must take over”.
The key here, during a dog to dog encounter, or a dog to human encounter, or any situation out there in the non­fenced world, is for YOU to remain calm and commanding. Absolutely in charge, stern and strong. the same goes for the folks out there who encounter a dog on the street. Remain calm and stern, no yelling, no brandishing sticks (keep your stick if you carry one, but don’t go waving it around), no running.
Broken Dog Cafe has fostered 450 dogs since 2011. Each one of them is a rescue with an unknown background. Each one was brought into our home where other dogs live (currently five large dogs). Granted most of our fosters are puppies, but we have brought in adult males, and mamas with litters. Mama pit bulls, mama shepherds, terrier mixes, dobermans, dachshunds and chihuahuas. Without one single injurious attack.
There has been some “schooling”, but every mama has a right to let others know they’re getting too close to the babies. But first and foremost, each dog within these walls knows they are safe, they will be fed, and I AM IN CHARGE!
Therefore I am confused about the reports of so much trouble on our streets when people and their dogs encounter their peers .I am thinking it is a human problem not a dog problem. Hopefully our animal control staff, our dog obedience school, our private trainers and our local veterinary offices can help educate the public in general and pet owners specifically in the best way to be a pack leader to your pet.
I also would love to see our dog obedience school offer some sort of class to folks who aren’t pet owners and have a fear of dogs, and need to learn how to act, not react when a dog comes across their path.
Jacinta Lestone is a great resource for training and problem solving.