6 min read


Can Dogs Feel Intolerance?



6 min read


Can Dogs Feel Intolerance?


It’s a topsy-turvy planet with folks vying for their position and dogs wondering what the heck these humans are so stressed about. After all, we have a food bowl, shelter and plenty of toys to play with. Generalized as it may sound, dogs have a valid point. Our lack of tolerance to our state of being is a growing epidemic in a 21st-century landscape.

Tolerant people are truly tested in this world of bias, bigotry, and fanaticism. Our dog friends must be looking on with amusement as we criticize our governments, neighbors, and workmates. 

We’ve become nations of intolerance, and this could be the reason it’s so nice to come home to our dogs that are so accepting of our antipathetic ways. Of course, dogs have their moments and could become a mirror of an inflexible owner. A visit to that home could show a critical guy with a snarly Mastiff, whose intolerant persona is the spitting image of his pet-dad. We are our dogs closest ally and our intolerance can easily become theirs.


Signs a Dog Can be Intolerant of Other Dogs

We’ve learned so much about dogs in the last ten or so years and it’s been a lot to condense. They have emotions similar to ours and a moral code that senses injustice. WOW! That’s a far cry from the mutt in the kennel we loved petting as kids, but who mom said not to bring in the house. 

There is more to the story, with genetics and training all playing their part, but for now, we want to know the signs an intolerant mutt might show to the world they live in.

The first signs a dog is feeling the modern syndrome of intolerance is when one of the bully dogs is not getting attention. Its World War 3 in the park as the peeved off Bulldog growls at the Foxy because they want the ball. Like their namesake suggests, the Fox Terrier was bred in the U.K to flush out foes during an English hunt on horseback. There’s no way this terrier is giving up the ball. It’s a freeze frame effect as each dog stares at the other, pacing back and force with teeth exposed.

The pet-parents on the bench start to make moves to stop a fight, but it’s too late the intolerant Bulldog takes a bite at the terrier who takes off with the ball.

Dogs can also be intolerant to particular foods or medications. Food allergies can make a dog scratch, sneeze and shake their head. It can also make them seriously sick with rashes, ear and skin infections, diarrhea and vomiting.

The most common food dogs are allergic to include eggs, wheat, lamb, chicken, dairy (lactose intolerance), and soy. Dog breeds most likely to have allergies are Collies, Springer Spaniels, Lhasa Apso and Shar-pei, to name a few. If you suspect your dog has allergy issues, contact your vet.

Body Language

Signs a dog is intolerant to other pooches are:<br/>

  • Growling
  • Staring
  • Barking
  • Snapping
  • Biting

Other Signs

Signs a dog has an intolerance to food or medication include:<br/>

  • Sneezing
  • Scratching
  • Shaking Their Head

The History of Why Dogs are Intolerant


According to Seeker, the wolf - whose claim to fame is the family dog - has far more tolerance than their doggy kids, who were domesticated by humans.

Researchers from the Messerli Research Institute, studied captive wolves and dogs from the Wolf Science Center in Austria to find wolves were more tolerant and cooperative than pooches. The study revolved around both wolves' and dogs' eating habits to find wolves were diplomatic, allowing all members of the pack to eat their fill. Dogs, on the other hand, had fewer table manners as the more submissive woofers were pushed out by the intolerant leaders of the group.

Historically, dogs have shown us how tolerant they are. Their wolf forefathers are wary of humans but dogs take just about everything they are given. There are pooches at the local shelter that took abuse many times but never retaliated. Their tolerance will probably get them a nice, new home as opposed to the woofer that got fed up with harsh treatment and finally bit their owner. That dog may not make it through the day.

The American Temperament Testing Society wanted to know which dog breeds showed the most tolerance toward humans. The results were a shock to many as dogs often cited as the bad boy breeds like the American Pit-Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bull Terrier and American Bulldog - passed with paws raised in surprise. Their overall pass rate was 85.6%. Of course, the family favorites like the Labrador Retriever had a 92% pass while the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Collie, and Australia Shepherd fared well from 80-84%.

The question is often being asked why our woofers are intolerant to their environment. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke, flea control, and cleaning products - plus shampoo and perfume. Medication can help, but dogs with flat noses like Pugs, Japanese Chins, and Pekinese seem to struggle with their human habitat.

The Science of Dogs Being Intolerant


Science Daily informs us that all mammals are susceptible to allergies including hay fever, asthma, and anaphylactic shock. It’s to do with how our immune system responds to different things in our surroundings. If your dog is constantly scratching or is over the top licking or chewing at their feet, a trip to the vet will see them checked for allergies. 

It’s possible to test for exact allergens although food, pollen, and flea-related allergies are the most common.  Blood and skin tests can be performed to pinpoint the problem. Intolerance to certain foods is not so easy to detect, so a vet may put your pooch on a special hypo-allergenic diet for some weeks to see if that’s the issue.

Our dogs are stars as they let the vet examine them with such tolerance and take their medication not knowing why. They must really love us to put up with a human life and all the intolerance in this people world.

According to the Animal Humane Society, a dog’s tolerance is based on their genetics, socialization and how they are trained. Too many dog owners assume that cute puppy they purchased will come with perfect manners and a desire to make their guardian happy. Pooches are not robots - they are emotional, quirky beings that can have baggage from a former life. 

There’s also no guarantee the sad looking pup at the shelter will be tolerant of their new home life. You might come home to a den of destruction as they freaked out when you went to work. There’s no complete manual for mutts. It’s up to us to help them become good doggy citizens who are patient when the neighbor wants to pet them on the way to the dog park.

We don’t call them pet-kids for nothing, and with the cognitive ability of a 2-3-year-old, those toddler tantrums could activate at any time when their tolerance levels are tested by unkind people or the other dog in the home swiping their toys.

Training Dogs to be Tolerant


In the arena of dog training, tolerance can be a dirty word, as old-school tactics like using a rolled up newspaper or choke collars are still the preferred methods of some.

Psychology Today believes punishing children for a behavior is not the way to go, as the child tunes into the ramifications of their action. Kids can wind up feeling they are no good and that can lead to self- image issues causing low self-esteem or a highly-inflated ego.

Training dogs is a patient game and, as a child might struggle to learn math, a mutt may not sit the first time around. Every dog and human is different, so taking note of your dog's learning abilities will lead to a pooch that enjoys training sessions. Which do you prefer? A canine that can't wait to get to training, or a pooch that slinks with a low body posture, dreading the word SIT!.

Dogs are no longer wolves and, yes they are carnivores who can attack, but in general, they like their humans and want to please them. You might have a pooch who growls if you pet them too long or if you get close to their favorite family member. The first reaction is often to chastise the pup, which usually leads to them getting grumpier. It’s like fighting fire with fire when you try to punish an intolerant dog. Each time, you are pouring petrol on a raging fire.

Dog trainer, Victoria Stilwell,  believes all living things respond to kindness - and dogs are no exception. A positive training scheme gets results as woofers learn they get rewarded for great behavior. Getting a feel for how your dog approaches training helps you understand their personality. Our dogs are characters and like us can be clowns, serious scientist types, or gentle souls that make you weep. A one-size-fits-all style of adverse training could break the latter dog's spirit or turn a fun-loving pup into a downtrodden dog.

With everything we have learned over the last decade, it's paramount we treat our pups with respect. As parents raise a child to achieve amazing things, we can teach our mutts to be the best they can be.

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By a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole

Published: 05/14/2018, edited: 04/06/2020

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