Saw this great image on Facebook, and as the owner of two large (~50 pound) dogs, I was compelled to share it. Great examples of how to get yourself bitten by a dog who doesn’t know you!
I’m constantly amazed by total strangers who think it’s a good idea to run up to a dog they don’t know, without pausing to inquire to the dog’s owner about temperament and behavior. I have a lot more respect for people who will say something complimentary about a dog to the owner, ask politely if the dog is friendly or if it’s okay to pet the dog, and then treat the dog calmly and respectfully while being a friendly person.
On the flip side, I’m dismayed by parents who don’t teach young children not to go running up to a strange dog and grab at it — particularly when a dog is bigger than the child! That’s a dangerous proposition for anyone, but for a small child, it makes me especially nervous.
Every time a kid charges up to my dog shrieking and waving his arms in the air, I pray that I react quickly enough to keep my dogs from responding negatively… and a small part of me secretly hopes that my dogs scare the hell out of (without actually hurting) the kid, to teach him a lesson about behaving around animals they don’t know.
And yes, I acknowledge that an animal is still an animal, and sometimes will react out of fear or dominance or territoriality or who-knows-what. Sometimes a dog will react negatively for no apparent reason, even if you follow all of the “rules” of interacting with them, and that can be frightening and intimidating.
But c’mon, people — a few common sense rules of thumb will greatly increase the likelihood that both you and the dog have a good day.