article was written by Karen Porreca, PETA's senior library director and chief
Answer: Yes, absolutely! But canine drama queens are
known as "reactive" dogs. As with human drama queens, reactive dogs
respond in an overly emotional manner to life events―even rather mundane ones.
I'm familiar with canine drama queens because I live
with one named Dexter. When I adopted Dexter seven years ago, if I walked him
outside on a leash and he heard another dog barking anywhere in the
neighborhood, he would start jumping up and biting at his leash. If another dog
walked by on a leash, Dexter would start lunging toward the dog and try to drag
me across the street. If we were indoors and he heard any sound outside, even
just a neighbor coughing, he would start barking his head off and racing around
Dexter, my drama queen
Human drama queens can lose the drama by learning to
change the way they think (I know―I used to be one), but unfortunately, we
can't coach our dogs to change the way they think, so we have to help them calm
down in other ways.
The top priority in dealing with a canine drama
queen is to provide a tranquil environment and a calm presence. One thing
common to all drama queens is that they want you to buy into their drama. So if
you start yelling or panicking or getting all worked up when your dog is
overreacting, then you will just be fanning the flames. Stay calm, no matter
what. Remember, it's all in the way that you think. Nervous tension is quite
contagious to our canine friends, so try to set a good example.
Second, don't reinforce reactive behavior. Never
reward a dog for overreacting in any way. Many people do this inadvertently by
petting Fido in order to soothe him. But the message received by Fido is
"Good dog! I like it when you overreact." Instead, make a conscious
effort to reward Fido for being calm. If you see him being nice and relaxed,
praise him and even give him a treat―don't take it for granted. Dogs, like all
of us, tend to repeat behavior that brings rewards.
Third, try to desensitize your dog to the things
that trigger the overreactions. One thing that eventually helped me desensitize
Dexter to the sound of barking dogs was to position him near a yard containing
a barking dog (not too close at first―we gradually got closer and closer) and
to throw treats on the ground for him to eat. As he ate the treats and
continued to hear the barking, he began to feel less agitated by the barking
dogs and to form a more neutral if not positive association with them. A humane
dog trainer can suggest many other techniques.
Fourth, try to include the maximum amount of
exercise in your dog's daily routine (long walks are the best). A tired dog
can't muster the energy for drama, and sleeping dogs are only drama queens in
Finally, there is a wide range of
products that can help canine drama queens to settle down. These can be used
during particularly stressful events, such as trips to the vet, or they can be
used every day:
Canine drama queens are notoriously difficult to
reform, but it helps to take the long view. The seven years that I've had
Dexter have flown by, and although he will always be a bit of a drama queen,
his bouts of drama are far less frequent, significantly shorter, and so much
more manageable now.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.