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Swore You'd Never Dress Up Your Pup? Here's Why You Should!

Posted by Dominique Marciano on

For anyone with a big breed or "aggressive breed" dog, you understand what it is like to have your dog judged and stereotyped. You've likely heard people say, "your dog could eat mine for breakfast," or "you know, it's just a matter of time before she snaps," or the most annoying to me, especially when my dog is in a heel, "who's walking who?" 

Those judgmental stares you get walking into a dog park, or the quick picking up of small dogs when your dog approaches, or even the hesitation when calling a dog friendly restaurant to make sure they won't turn your breed away. It's exhausting! One of my favorite ways to combat all of these judgments and assumptions is to lean into people's ignorance and recognize that perception matters. So, I dress Harley to impress before we go out and it truly makes a world of difference! 

I put on her rose pink bandana, matching leash and watch people's fear of Rottweilers slowly melt away when they see her walking their way. Suddenly, people are asking to pet her or saying how sweet she looks. It is truly shocking how a pink bandana and a colorful leash can shift the way people perceive a pup. 

Interestingly enough, this has worked for me time and time again. I have even used this trick when applying for housing! Many housing options don't allow Rottweilers and Chows, purely because of breed discrimination and stereotyping. Landlords that don't accept my breeds suddenly think my dogs are adorable because of the photo that I submitted in my application: 

If putting my dog in a cute outfit is going to change the way people treat them, you bet I'll do it. I know so many people who say they will never dress their pup up in sweaters, bows, bow ties or bandanas but hear me out... lean into the psychology behind breed stereotyping and the fact that our society bases judgments off of perception. You can help change the stigma around your dog's breed just by putting them in a cute outfit. You can also alleviate that nervous energy that people exude when they see a Rottweiler, Pitbull, or other "scary breed," by making these small changes. As ridiculous as it sounds, a bow or bandana can not only help to show off how truly kind and friendly our big, "aggressive" babies really are but can also create less stressful environments for our pups to step into once they leave the safety and comfort of our homes. 


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