Do People Think Your Dog Looks Scary? How to Overcome Breed Stereotypes

Cute tricks such as shake, wave, play dead, roll over and spin also help your dog express his charm and personality. Good manners and trick training take the focus off how your dog looks and shift it to his impeccable behavior and ability to make connections with people. To further add to your pet’s résumé, aim for the Canine Good Citizen Certification, an AKC title for good manners.

Your dog’s appearance also greatly impacts how people react to him. While you cannot change his features, you can make thoughtful choices about his accessories. Prong collars, choke chains and shock collars are frequently associated with aggressiveness, while harnesses and flat collars signify a friendlier canine.

When I work with breeds that may be perceived as aggressive, I suggest that owners opt for bright colors and playful patterns on collars and leashes. Clothes also add to the cute factor. A T-shirt or bandanna can warm up a dog’s appearance. If you aren’t a fan of clothes, a festive or decorative collar can make your dog seem more approachable. And at your end of the leash, smiles and warm greetings to other humans at the dog park or coffee shop can further ease any tension people may feel around your dog.

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