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Living with DINOS™: A Resource Guide

Living with DINOS isn't always easy, but you're not alone and there is help! Check out the tools, classes, and techniques that have made a difference for the DINOS community...

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DINOS™: A Manifesto

It is our position that DINOS (Dogs in Need of Space)™ are good dogs with the right to enjoy walks in public without the harassment of other dogs and their people.

Therefore we demand the following from our fellow dog lovers:

  1. Obey Leash Laws: Outside of a dog park, or otherwise sanctioned off-leash area, you must leash your dogs. This is not our opinion, it’s the LAW.
  1. Ask Permission Before Approaching: Stop moving and ask, “Is your dog friendly?” or “Can my dog say hi?”
  1. Listen to our Response: Give us time to respond. And no means no.
  1. Respect Our Space: If we move to the side, so that you can pass, do not let your dog approach us. Please shorten their leash and continue walking. It’s not rude, promise.
  1. Do Not Give Chase: If we abruptly turn the other way or cross the street, we do not want to interact with you or your dogs. Yes, we saw you.  No we don’t want to say “hi”.
  1. Lock your Leashes: If you walk your dog on a retractable leash (aka a Flexi Lead), please retract and lock your leash, so that we may pass by without engaging with your dog. Better yet, skip the retractable and use a flat leash. Retractable leashes break.
  1. Zip it: Keep your judgments and nasty comments to yourself. One day, due to illness, trauma, or other circumstances, you too may find yourself the loving owner of a DINOS. Until you walk a (paranoid) mile in our shoes, we implore you: If you don’t have anything nice to say, just keep on walking.
  1. No Matter How Nice You Are, the Rules Still Apply: You may think that because you and your dogs are really nice and very dog savvy, that it’s ok for you to break these rules. Look, we believe you. You seem really nice and so does your dog. We wish we could meet you under other circumstances, but trust us, we know our dogs better than you do. We reserve the right not to interact with you, no matter how nice you are.

In return, the DINOS pledge to uphold the following standards:

  1. We will always leash our DINOS when out in public.
  2. We will muzzle our DINOS, if necessary.
  3. When it is possible, we will always create distance between your dog and our  DINOS, so that you too can pass us without incident.
  4. We will tell you our dogs are DINOS. No mind reading necessary.

Subsection 4A: Don’t Deny Your Dog is a DINOS.

DINOS Deniers are wide-spread. They refuse to believe that their dog is one of the following: inappropriate, rude, or aggressive.  They fool unsuspecting dog owners by saying their dogs are friendly, but in reality they are not. Typically, after an incident occurs, they admit it has happened before, as in: “I don’t know why, but my dog almost always bites when he’s at the dog park.” Stop denying the truth.  You have a DINOS and you owe it to your dog and everyone else’s dog to create safe interactions. If you own DINOS, you must be responsible for understanding your dogs.

DINOS, The Time to Take Back Our Space is Now!

DINOS Unite!

printer friendly pdf: DINOS Manifesto

Looking for a Kinder, Gentler Manifesto? If you’re a shelter, trainer, or just a really nice person, check out this less snarky version, with printable pdf!

photo credit: Ginger Monteleone Photography

Who’s who?

DINOS: Dogs in Need of Space™

MDIF: My Dog is Friendly™

OLDS: Off Leash Dogs™

ROARS: Rovers on a Retractables™

DINOS © Copyright Jessica Dolce 2012

DINOS Dogs In Need of Space© Copyright Jessica Dolce 2012

My Dog is Friendly! A Public Service Announcement

There is epidemic happening across the country and no one is safe.  It’s occurring on crowded city sidewalks and spacious country walking trails. It doesn’t discriminate based on race, age, or economic status.

Innocent dogs and their owners are being terrorized, chased down the street, pinned into corners by…other dog owners.

But, you ask, don’t all dogs like to meet, greet, and play with other dogs, even unfamiliar ones? How rude of them not to greet me and my dog!  Not so, kindhearted dog lovers, not so at all.

In every city, town, and suburb, loving, law abiding families share their lives with dogs that, for a variety of reasons, cannot or would rather not, socialize with other dogs.

Today I call on all dog lovers to take a stand on behalf of dogs that walk in public while they simultaneously cope with one or more of the following:

  • contagious diseases
  • leash reactivity
  • service or working dogs
  • injuries and painful physical conditions
  • intolerance of other animals
  • recovery from surgery
  • fearful of unfamiliar or rowdy dogs
  • aging and el
  • derly
  • learning self control around other dogs
  • are owned by people that want to be left alone

To keep it simple, these dogs and their owners shall be known as Dogs in Need of Space (DINOS)™

These DINOS have every right to walk the streets, using a standard 4-6 foot leash, without interacting with strangers, human or canine.

And yet…they are hounded, day after day, by cheery, well meaning dog owners who insist on meeting them.

Despite frantic efforts to cross the street or hiding between parked cars, DINOS are chased down by other people walking dogs, who refuse to believe that there is someone out there that does not want to meet them.

How do you spot these terrorists? You can recognize these people by their battle cry, “My dog is friendly!”

Henceforth known as My Dog is Friendly (MDIF).

Pick any corner of any town in America and you’re likely to see a scene similar to this one:

A DINOS is working on his manners, let’s say it’s leash reactivity. He has some issues with strange dogs, but is in training so that he can learn to stay calm in their presence. The DINOS owner spots another dog coming and, like their trainer instructed them, they create some distance and do a sit-stay with eye contact. The goal: to keep cool while the other dog passes.

But they didn’t realize they were being stalked by an eager MDIF.

Look! There’s they are now, crossing the street, speed walking in a beeline right towards the seated DINOS, their own dog straining at the collar.

The DINOS owner steps further away, trying again to create distance. Any anthropologist (or kindergartner) can read the clear body language in play from the DINOS team.  Observe: no eye contact or smiling, they are facing away from MDIF, glancing frantically around, looking for an escape.

MDIF is impervious to body language and insists on coming closer.

The  signals from the DINOS owner become escalated, and like a dog losing its patience with a rude puppy, the DINOS owner issues a quiet, but firm warning, “My dog doesn’t like other dogs.”

Unable to understand their native language, MDIF continues their advances until DINOS is trapped and begins to lose his ability to stay cool. See: lunging and barking, coupled with awkward struggles to get away.  Now, like a dog that’s being humped relentlessly by a teenage dog with no manners, the DINOS owner snaps, so the message is clear, “Stop! Don’t come any closer!”

And, without fail, MDIF calls out their cheerful battle cry, “My dog is friendly!” Their plea is received by the back of the DINOS team as they jog away.

Then, with a hurt look, the MDIF mutters, “What’s your dog’s problem?”

The DINOS owner, shaken, wonders why they are working so hard on improving their dog’s manners when the humans around them have the social skills of, well, a dog with no social skills.

A brief interlude from the author:

Quickly, let’s turn to the similar epidemic of off leash dogs that are not under voice control. It’s the law: Put your dog on a leash. No one but ME gets to decide who my dog interacts with. Not you, with the “friendly” dog who just wants to say “hi” or you, with the dog who “knows” not to leave your property, but charges me up my porch steps. I, and I alone, will decide if my dog will be interacting with your dog and when you let your dog run loose you are ROBBING ME of my right to choose whether or not we want to interact with your dog. Not cool.

And now back to our Public Service Announcement:

Dogs In Need Of Space are good dogs. They may not want to socialize with your dog, but they have the right to walk with their owners, on leash, without harassment from strangers who insist on a forced greeting. Their owners do not want to cause a scene or yell, in a panic, at strangers. They don’t want their dog to act inappropriately, get injured, backslide on their training, or frighten anyone. Please, dog lovers of the world, allow these dogs and their people some space and, if they are walking or turning away from you, keep your dog close by and pass them without comment.

All they want is to walk their dogs in peace, without having to hide under a park bench in order to escape the relentless pursuit of dogs owners calling out…

 “My dog is friendly!” 


If your dogs are DINOS,  join the movement on Facebook!

You can also:

Take the online class!

Read the book! 

Sign up for DINOS-related emails!

For more info and resources, please visit the Dogs in Need of Space website.


DINOS™ and DINOS: Dogs In Need of Space™

Copyright Jessica Dolce 2017

Wishing you safe, happy walking!