Dogs in need of space (DINOS) are dogs who for whatever reason struggle to deal with other dogs, or sometimes people, in their personal space. This can be for a variety of reasons. It could be down to poor socialisation as a puppy, nervousness, anxiety or fear towards other dogs, or a huge over excitement or lack of self control towards other dogs.
For dogs who feel threatened by humans in their personal space, this can also be down to poor socialisation, a bad encounter with a person, or some kind of human inflicted abuse.
DINOS are not nasty or aggressive, in the true sense of the word but if not managed correctly, then some DINOS can display aggressive behaviours, or behaviours which to the untrained eye may seem aggressive. It is down to us as human’s to try and avoid putting our dogs in a situation in which they feel the need to react, or are uncomfortable with.
Many DINOS enjoy the company of other dogs and actually feel more confident walking as part of a pack. They are just unable to deal with the initial meeting and require a more controlled introduction.
This website has not been designed to give you behavioural advice, but to educate, raise awareness and offer support to those dealing with DINOS. You are not alone!
Meet some real life DINOS!
|Kilo is a 3 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback. A few months ago Kilo was attacked whilst on a walk. Whilst his physical injuries have healed, his psychological ones haven’t. At first Kilo crumbled if he even heard a dog’s tags jingle and refused to walk around the immediate area of home. If loose dogs on the street run up to him he cowers in fear, sometimes screams as if he is being attacked again or barks and lunges in an attempt to get them to go away. Every time a loose dog runs up to us our work is put back a long way which is totally devastating. My wish is that people use leads when they walk around the streets, ensure their dogs don’t stray and respect any requests I make to control their dogs.”He’s friendly” has become a real heartsink phrase for me, coupled with the dark mutterings about “nasty” dogs which occur when Kilo reacts – all I ask (and his fluorescent yellow jacket asks for too) is that we are given space to conduct our rehabilitation and space to allow us to enjoy walks – it really shouldn’t be too much to ask, it should be the norm; common courtesy.|
|Hi there, I’m Walter – a 3 year old, original-type dachshund, so about the height of a terrier and a third as long again! After a a bumpy start in life as a lookout dog for a dog fighting club, and then living outdoors with a family who didn’t train me, I’m very anxious around people and need my space. I’m working steadily with a dog behaviorist, and get lots of treats and support from our local pet shop, so I’ve learnt to walk well on a canny collar and lead, and to pass other dogs and people without feeling threatened. My final problem to try to overcome is that I get fearful and aggressive when someone tries to enter my personal space, including our house, car and garden or to stroke me. With my owners I am very loving and funny, and am worth all the trouble and training. To help me learn to relax more with people I wear a yellow ribbon on my lead to say please stay back and ignor me until I feel I can trust you. I know it’s not easy to do when a dog is as cute as I am, but please listen to my owner and keep your kind strokes and pats to yourselves for the time being. Thank you.|
|I’m Dottie and I am 3 years old. I was kept isolated in a crate until I was rescued. Because of my start in life I am not very confident around strange dogs and I don’t like having my bum sniffed. I can be very reactive on the lead and I’m not very sure of strange people. But once I know you, I will be your best friend! I have never bitten another dog, but I will air snap and growl. I am happy to be around other dogs and to have a sniff, but please give me the space I need.|
|Hi my name is Charlie. I came from a BYB and was raised and socialised with other dogs. But when I hit puberty I became unsure of male dogs and started to jump at their faces and growl. I now need careful introductions to new dogs especially male. I am fine most of the time and I have never bitten another dog. Once I am comfortable with other dogs I like nothing more than to play. But please give me space from your dog until they gain my trust.|
|Hi my name is Hughie! I like other dogs but I am unable to deal with strange dogs entering my personal space. My mum takes great care not to put me in this position, but sometimes other people don’t help us. Please give me the space I need from your dog until I know I can trust them. I am not nasty or aggressive, I just don’t know how to deal with it.|
|Hi, my name is Tinker. I was a happy go lucky 13 month old when I was attacked by a GSD. Since then I have been wary of strange dogs and petrified of all shepherding breeds. Please don’t let your dog(s)charge up to me on or off lead. Onlead I freeze, offlead I will try to avoid by trotting behind my owner or a tree. Please don’t let your dog chase me. My humans are working hard to help me be brave again, but even friendly dogs that are too enthusiastic can set my progress back.|
|Rhianna is lead aggressive. Only on lead! Mostly she is off the lead in the park as she mixes brilliantly with all her friends and has fantastic recall. She shares her toys and will allow any dog to come into her house. But everything changes for Rhianna when you put a lead on her. She cant choose her distance and so she becomes very afraid. When she is afraid she lunges and growls and barks to try and tell the dog to stay away. Unfortunately Rhianna also really likes footballs, so sometimes in the park she has to go on the lead (we try and avoid this at all costs) and also when we are walking near roads. We will turn and try and avoid you, but please understand why we are doing this and dont follow us. If we are in the park please call your dog away if they start to come over, she is only on the lead because of her popping footballs, but she can not handle dogs approaching when shes on lead. Rhianna gets very stressed and makes a horrible scene and then people dont like her, when actually she is fantastic with other dogs, just scared on the lead.|
|My name is Shannow and I am happy to meet other dogs but I am nervous of Humans and I’m terrified of men. If I am on my lead I will hide behind my human and try to slip my harness if people don’t keep their distance. It’s better when I’m off lead because I can avoid people by giving them a wide berth or scooting behind a fence/hedge until they’ve passed. I wish people would not try to befriend me because I’m scared. They try to touch me and say ‘It’s all right I’m not going to hurt you’ but this makes me even more frightened. Please give me my space and interact with my brother & sister instead because they are not DINOS|
|I’m Herbie – i love walking as part of a group of calm dogs and have several special doggie friends that i enjoy walking with on a one to one basis but i am not comfortable with off lead dogs invading my space and jumping all over me! This is because I was attacked when I was young. Please give me space.|
|I’m Sammy, I love other dogs and I am more than happy to meet them! But strange people make me very nervous. I need people to ignore me until I have built up my confidence with them. Once I know I can trust you then I am fine. Please don’t make me resort to barking at you. Just give me space and ignore me.|
|My name is Max and strange dogs cause me to feel anxious. When they get too close I bark at them and if they keep coming towards me then I can lunge. If the dog gets in my personal space then I may feel the need to bite. I have many doggy companions who I like to walk with. But I need time to get used to them. If you see me behaving like this, it is just because I feel anxious and I am telling the other dog to stay away. I live with 3 other dogs.|
|My name is Lilly and I am frightened of many things, but the main one is strange dogs. When they approach me, I try to run away. If I’m on a lead then I attempt to hide behind my owner. If the dog comes too close then I turn my back and just shut down. If you see me acting like this, please call your dog back as I don’t know how to deal with it.|
|I’m Dexie, I was a stray and pretty much grew up in kennels. Then I found my family and life became exciting, very very very exciting. The most exciting thing in the world is other dogs, I just want to rush over and say Hi, but I am not allowed, as this is bad manners. This makes me very frustrated indeed and I lunge and bark and scream in an attempt to go say Hi. This might make me look like I am aggressive, but I’m not, I have lots of doggy friends that I walk with, and I am actually very patient with other dogs who have issues. Sometimes I even help out at my local rescue kennels, by walking with other dogs to help them build up their confidence.|
|Mia is a DINOS dog. Mia was adopted from a rescue when she was 9 weeks old. The breeder gave her up because she is nearly blind. She needs her own space due to her disability.|
|Hi my name is Ringo and I spent 3 of my first 4 years in kennels, 2 of them isolated from other dogs. When I see other dogs I am pleased but if they are over enthusiastic greeting me I panic and may bite. Mum now avoids busy off lead areas and muzzles me for walkies which makes us both feel much more confident. I love walking with my friends and once I know and trust them then I am happy to play with them. I also live with another dog.|