I realized, as I shared this poster on Facebook this morning, that I had meant to blog about this issue and about Notes from a Dogwalker, the site that has done so much to publicize it, months ago, when I first discovered its existence.

Dogs in Need of Space (DINOS) come in all forms. Frankie is a DINO who doesn’t bark or get aggressive; he just hides behind me. This has resulted in my legs being wrapped in a retractable leash — which I hate, but that’s another rant — on more than one occasion, with a tepid apology from the owner.

I often get the impression that the other owner thinks it’s Frankie’s fault that he’s not friendlier and more “normal.” Even owners who are polite enough to ask if their dog can play with Frankie seem irritated when I say “No, but thank you for asking.” It’s as though the act of asking in itself was enough to transform Frankie’s personality.

Great news: If your dog is a DINO (or if you’re antisocial) you can buy a Keep Back, My Dog Needs Space t-shirt  and other DINOS items over at Notes from a Dog Walker. Check it out.

Is your dog a DINO? What kind?

18 thoughts on “Dogs in Need of Space”

  1. I’m so glad you posted this. My Lucas is a DINOS because he’s so scared of everything. He reacts at strange dogs running up with barking and lunging, especially when they’re off leash. The owners always get mad at me. They say things like, “If your dog isn’t friendly, you shouldn’t walk him in this park.” Well, actually, YOUR dog is supposed to be on leash so you don’t put my dog in this horrible position!

    1. Wow. There are no signs that say “only outgoing dogs can walk in the park,” whereas there are signs that say “dogs must be on leash…”

  2. I have 3 DINOs. Daisy is okay with meeting you on her terms, but does not like humans invading her space on their terms. Lady prefers no space invasion at all unless from another dog and then she’s pretty good unless a persistent Lab puppy keeps bothering her (Yes. I have one in mind.).

    Jasper is my dog that does not like other dogs in his face. He tolerates people fine, but dogs? Male dogs? Furgettaboutit!

    I have loved this graphic since the moment I saw it. I never knew it was from Notes from a DOg Walker. I’ll have to check out that site.
    Thanks for sharing again Edie.

  3. Ever since I found the site I have been using the terms “DINO” and “MDIF”. I just wish she had been around back when we first adopted my dog, I would have felt a lot better about myself! It seemed everyone back then had a friendly dog but me and there were some days I really wondered if we should take her out in public ever again.

    Lately, though, we have few problems with other dogs. Our main issue now is other people who think that every dog must love to be pet by strangers. Is there an acronym for them? ADLM for “All dogs love me”? I have seriously had someone say that, just before my dog started barking in their face.

    1. Ah yes, the all dogs love me folks. I know them well. How about Dogs All Adore Me — the DAAMs, DAAM them 😉

  4. Thanks so much for sharing my blog and helping to spread the idea that we all need to be respectful of each other’s space. So many DINOS are just like Frankie – quiet and well behaved, but really uncomfortable being chased or approached by strange dogs.

    Through my work as a dog walker and in shelters I know that it’s perfectly normal for dogs to want slow introductions to other dogs…or none at all. I’m hoping more dog owners begin to understand DINOS are normal dogs and deserve compassion, not snide remarks.

    p.s. I love the “guilt-free” tagline!

    1. My pleasure, Jessica. Thank YOU for publicizing this very common but not enough discussed problem.

  5. Maybe it’s just the former lawyer in me, but I am fascinated by the debate over leashing/dog control rules. There’s a legitimate problem — dog-centric violence — and a bunch of folks all trying to maximize their beneficial use of a public resource in light of that problem. How do we draw the legal lines to minimize violence and maximize beneficial use? Very interesting stuff, lots of reasonable positions.

    In my own case, Kody is definitely a DINO. He’s kind of an on-a-knife-edge type: when meeting another dog, there’s a period during which the right movement from the other dog will make them play buddies for life and when the wrong movement will provoke an aggressive response on the spot. He definitely does not do so well with impolite, rambunctious off-leashers charging him when we are out for a walk.

  6. LOVE this! One of my top pet peeves is “My dog is friendly!” I want to say, “I don’t give a damn if your dog is friendly. My dog doesn’t want to meet your dog!” But, alas I have not. But, I have said, “Please keep your dog away from my dog.” Too nice.

  7. Great topic Edie. I have lived with multiple dogs for many years and there has always been a DINO in the group. When we see other dogs on walks I’ve learned to calmly steer the dogs in another direction and, if necessary, distract the DINO with treats (all have been barkers at the sight of another dog). Most of the time this strategy works, but occasionally I will come across a clueless dog walker who gives me dirty looks when they intentionally walk/jog to close to us and the barking begins. The DINOS are not aggressive, they just need some space. I wish all dog owners would take the time to read about dog behavior….
    Your blog will be greatly missed!

      1. Mimzy, who, as you know, is a Terrier X, and shares some personality traits with Mr. Frankie Doodlebutt. Harmony, the retired racer, is oblivious to other animals, and she expects all humans to fawn over her for the queenie that she is. The majority of greyhounds that I know, and have known, are calm and extroverted, although my beloved Mikey was also a DINO in the presence of non-greyhound dogs. I may be a DINO magnet.

        1. Ah, I suspected it was Mimzy because of the Frankie resemblances but didn’t want to make false accusations/breed stereotypes…I think you’re just a kind-hearted person who doesn’t mind protecting DINOs. It’s not easy!

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