This week’s episode of WWAPDT is all about people getting TOO comfortable with dogs. Whether is their own or just some random dog they meet out in the street. People tend to put to much trust into dogs without understanding dogs have their own discomforts as well.
I’ve seen some crazy videos of people allowing their children to crawl over their dogs only to see the dog correct, not attack, the child. Keyword being “correct.” I’ve also heard some pretty crazy stories during my years as a dog trainer with the same plot. Person gets too comfortable with dog, dog is fed up, and dog corrects (bites) said person for getting too comfortable.
I’m not saying to stop giving your dogs kisses or hugs. I’m simply saying to recognize when your dog isn’t feeling it and to not teach children to just pet dogs without permission and to never pet any dog, under any circumstance, without supervision. So many bites to kids happen when no-one is looking and at the end of the day it’s the dog that is going to pay the ultimate price.
I had a consultation last week involving a small 20 pound terrier mix that bit a child. As always, I get called about aggression and when I show up and get all the deets, it turns out the dog was correcting the child for overstepping his boundaries. As I explained to the owner that the dog had a healthy response, he was kind of baffled, but ultimately understood at the end that the child took too much liberty with the dog.
If the dog was truly aggressive, he would be pursuing children with the intent to do harm and there would have been many more instances of bites. Serious ones at that. Instead, the girl was left with red marks from where he made contact, but didn’t break skin. He also bit after growling at the girl in warning which she overlooked.
There was no intent to do harm. Only the intent to teach the child to respect his personal space. Just like we have our own preferences in boundaries and who we allow into our personal space, so do dogs. I wouldn’t like to go to someone’s home just to have their kid jump into my lap so why would I expect any dog to accept that kind of behavior? Dogs are very honest and will most certainly let you know that you’re overstepping things.
Remember, dogs can’t communicate via words like we do and they use their mouth as a means of communication. Which may result in a bite. So always keep in mind that not all dogs are happy go lucky, rainbows, and fairy farts. Be respectful. All living things deserve respect. Except mosquitos. I hate mosquitos.