Features February 2016 Issue

Could My Dog Be Racist?

Help your dog feel comfortable with people of every description.

Almost as soon as I walked into Boomer’s house I could tell his owner was nervous. This isn’t all that unusual when meeting a new client for the first time. I always have my new clients put the dog in another room so we can get acquainted with each other and have some time to chat without being distracted. Very often, the clients are uneasy during these initial consultations; I’ve grown accustomed to it. After all, often they have agonized over acknowledging their dog’s issues and their decision to call in a professional. But after a few minutes, I could tell there was something more. I’d been called to help her dog with his reactive behavior. She related that he lunged and barked at some people as they walked by. During our discussion, she seemed unusually pensive and was having difficulty making eye contact with me. So I pressed, “Is there anything else you need to tell me? Whatever it is, you’re safe and can tell me without fear of judgment.” She finally looked up at me and whispered, “I think my dog is racist. He hates black people.”

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