Yale’s “Handsome Dan” is a doggone nuisance to dog owners

Dogs barking at shuttle buses' bulldog decal

Handsome Dan, Yale University's bulldog mascot stands near future graduates during commencement exercises at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., Monday, May 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale University’s Handsome Dan is wreaking havoc on some New Haven dog owners who say his picture on their shuttles spark their pooches bark.

“He really lives for this moment. I mean when he comes off my front porch he looks for him,” said Sawyer’s owner Anne Marseille. “Handsome Dan is who he lives to see.”

Several New Haven neighbors complained about this on the city’s website See Click Fix. Sawyer’s neighbor, Gatsby doesn’t bark at the beefy bulldog. But, Gatsby’s owner Erick Farrington says his previous dog did.

“Anytime the Yale shuttle would come by she would just stop and she would basically growl,” said Farrington.

“They can see the outline of the dog, but they don’t see all the fine details,” said Barkbusters Vicki Horowitz who says dogs can see at 80/20. So that’s why when dogs see the very large cut-out of Handsome Dan on the shuttle some just want to chase him.

Horowitz says there is something dog owners can do besides buying a tight leash. They recommend tiring them out mentally before going for the walk.

“Give them some commands to do. Have them sit. Have them come. Have them stay. really work them a lot before going out for a walk,” said Richard Horowitz.

Marseille says that won’t work for Sawyer, “I can walk downtown and back. I can do an hour walk and we at the end of the walk can see Dan and I have to hold on with every bit of strength I have.”

Her plan is to avoid the scenario all together.

“I have to plan my whole walks to avoid Handsome Dan,” said Marseille. “I duck into driveways. I do all sorts of antics to get away from the bus.”

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