Home
Karen B. London
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Pet Circus Has Serious Message
It may also have a problem

The Wow Wow Dog Circus in Tachikawa City, Japan tours schools, with dogs performing such tricks as jumping rope in a group of dogs or with a person, walking across objects raised off the ground and balancing as they walk on a rolling ball.

Many dogs in Japan are abandoned or killed each year, and this program is part of an effort to make that less common. The goal is an admirable one, and reaching out to children is an excellent strategy.

It concerns me, though, that with one exception, the dogs in this video do not seem happy. Twice in this 53-second video, dogs are seen yawning, which is a sign of stress. Almost all of the dogs have tension in their faces. Only one dog has that relaxed open-mouth expression that indicates a level of comfort with the situation. (The dog I’m referring to is the one who looks like a sesame-colored Shiba Inu and is wearing blue.)

It’s unfortunate that the very organization that is supposed to teach kids how to do right by dogs seems to be stressing its dogs. It’s hard to say whether they are objecting to the training, the activities, the presence of the kids, or perhaps the film crew, but sadly, these dogs don’t look happy to me. On the bright side, the kids seem to be enjoying the dogs a lot, which means that there is a strong likelihood that they are hearing the message that it’s important to take good care of dogs.

Print|Email

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

Screen Grab from The Guardian’s video “Dogs parade their circus skills for Japanese school children

More From The Bark

By
Karen B. London
By
Karen B. London
By
Karen B. London
More in Karen B. London:
The Details Behind Stories Matter
Where Do You Take Your Dog?
Loving Dogs and Children
Marathon Recovery Buddy
The Invention of Velcro®
Who Is That Gorgeous Dog?
Serious About Sniffing
Cadet Protects Canine Mascot
Budweiser Anti-Drinking-and-Driving Ad
Guilt Over Our Dogs