DANGEROUS STRANGERS … Aren’t Always People

As dog lovers, we all want to believe that every dog we meet is a happy and well-adjusted dog that loves to be petted and played with! Unfortunately that is nowhere near the truth!

Case in Point:
As Patchs and I were enjoying our walk the other day we came in contact with an elderly gentleman who was walking his two little dachshunds. Its was one of those peaceful scenes that would make a great painting.

As we came closer to them, the dogs both exploded into a volley of uncontrollable barking and lunging in our direction. In itself, this is not that uncommon. But this time it made me a bit concerned. That was because just a few houses away from us were several small kids playing in the front yard. They looked to be around 4-7 years of age.

With their tails tucked and the hair on the back of their necks standing straight up, these two dogs were showing me signs of fear aggression. They were obviously very uncomfortable and warning us to back away. The owner was apologetic. I assured him that I understood the situation and we moved back and across the street to defuse it.

We held our position for a minute or two and watched them move down the street. As they did, I noticed that the man also crossed the street to make more distance between he and the kids. I was glad to see that he was aware of the possible issues at hand.

My concern became confirmed as I saw one of the kids run to the curb as the two dogs began to pass by. I held my breath for a few seconds, but relaxed when I heard the child ask if she could pet the dogs.

The man thanked the little girl for asking but told her that his dogs were not used to being around kids so she better not take the chance. Needless to say I was very impressed with both the child and the dog owner.

After giving the man a minute to make his way down the street, we continued down the street. Sure enough, the girl asked me if she could pet Patchs. So I put Patchs in a “sit” and told her it was OK to come over. I took the opportunity to praise her for “asking” before she approached us.

Just then her mom came out of the house and asked what was going on. I explained the situation and told the mom that I was very impressed with her little girl. After talking with the mom for a few minutes I found out that the family had just gotten a new Yorkie from the shelter last week and that she is teaching the kids about dogs. I told her about the Iowa Dog Trust and my website “A Better Dog 4U” and offered my help if they wanted it. Then we continued on our way.

For many years we have made a very big deal of teaching our kids about the dangers of talking to strangers, but not all dangerous stranger are humans! It’s also very important to teach our children about the dangers of approaching dogs, cats and other animals that they don’t know.

Many thousands of dog bites can be prevented and the lives of thousands of good dogs could be saved every years if teachers, parents and dog owners will just take just a few moments to instruct the kids they know about these dangers. It’s up to all of us to keep our loved ones safe. The human ones … and our pets!

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6 thoughts on “DANGEROUS STRANGERS … Aren’t Always People

  1. My two year old is required to ask both the owner and myself before she pets a strange dog. It’s not just the children who need to ask, it’s also the owners who need to be able to accurately evaluate whether their dog is comfortable and safe with a small child.
    I’ve pulled her away from more than one dog who was telling us that they were afraid or agressive, even when the owners say the dog wouldn’t hurt anyone and that she could pet them.

    • That’s a great point, and I was planning to do an article on that too! The guy I wrote about was obviously one of the good owners. But there are a lot of “clueless” owners out there who think that their dog is just fine when they clearly ARE NOT. That’s why I preach that kids under age 8 should never be allowed around dogs unless there is an adult in control of it.

      I feel that all dog owners should have to take a “ownership” class before they can have a dog. In fact, we at Iowa Dog Trust are planning to do a class like this once we get going later this year.

  2. Pingback: Stop Dog Aggression | Dog Training

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