Dogs Can Be Introverts Too

Julian 3Does anyone else have introverted dogs? Like they get anxious around any other dogs? They would much rather be by themselves than, say, go to a dog park? Or if you’re walking them in the park they hide behind you when they see another dog?

Yeah, those are my dogs. They’ve been together since birth and pretty much want it to stay that way. They have no interest in socializing with other dogs and if our neighbors’ dogs are in our yard forget it.

And I really can’t blame them. I mean it is their yard and these other dogs are allowed to roam free in it because we have some weird neighbors who seem to think dogs shouldn’t be on leashes. I wonder if they think they would offend their dogs if they did put leashes on them…

I have mentioned before that we have a metro park by our house and we take our dogs for walks there at least a few times a week. Well, the other day we run across one of our neighbors and her friend. They each have a dog and neither are on a leash.

R.J. had our dog, Julian, on a leash and he was doing his best to hide from these two dogs. Julian, not R.J. The women made no move to put leashes on their dogs so I of course immediately tense up. My dog is very easy-going usually, aside from his hatred for all delivery men and our doorbell, but I had no idea what he would do when he was approached by these two dogs. One of which had its hair up on his back.

I should also mention that Julian is a black lab mix and weighs roughly 75 pounds and has drug me through our yard on a leash chasing a squirrel. One of the other dogs was about the same size as Julian and the other was a puppy maybe half the size.

It’s moments like these that really make me want to own about a hundred acres in the middle of nowhere…

So the dogs approach Julian and do doggy stuff. The women say their dogs are friendly and I warn the women that we don’t really know what our dog will do. Thinking about it now I’m not sure if what I said was all that friendly. I mean I didn’t say it rudely or anything, but I’m not sure any warning can be considered all that friendly.

Then I was embarrassed, ashamed even. My dogs, Ricky and Julian, are anti-social. They are introverts.

Like me…

And I know I’m not always understood. I know I spent many years thinking something was wrong with me because I didn’t want to go to the party or hang out with friends. And, believe me, there were plenty of people who have looked at me as if I had grown a second head over the years.

And yet when faced with much the same looks from other dog owners because my dogs don’t want strange dogs’ noses up their butts I’m still filled with shame and confusion. Like I’m a bad dog mom when I limit these interactions because I know how stressful they are for my dogs.

I’m not going to lie, they are stressful for me too. And if I’m being totally honest my dogs don’t like to be around a lot of people either. It’s not that they’re mean or bark or growl – you know except when someone rings the doorbell – they just would rather be alone with us and each other. Like I said, they’re introverts.

I don’t expect everyone to understand. I just thought it might make it easier for you to understand why the next time you’re in the park and run across a dog that would rather not meet and play with yours. It’s not personal. They’re just introverts.


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