Yesterday, I got to experience a first - something I'm positive bully-breed parents get on the regular - fear of a "scary" looking dog.
I was chatting to a friend with her meatball of a dog sitting at our feet when a man approached with his senior Golden Retriever. The dogs sniff each other, decide they don't like one another and both do that split-second "f*ck you" before both owners pull on the other end of the leash. The entire encounter lasted about 5 seconds. The man then wags his finger and says sternly, "your dog went for the throat, that's unacceptable."
Now, mister finger-wagger, first of all I'd like to know what part of a 20-something-year-old petite girl screams to you that she purposefully trained her dog to go for the throat? And secondly, if I were to replace her bully-breed (who, by the way, is quite small size wise compared to a retriever) with a sweeter looking dog, would your response have been the same?
I don't know if you know this or not, but your dog doesn't actually care what kind of dog is in front of them; they don't see a specific breed and go 'oh I've met one of those before, I don't like them'. Dogs go off instincts and vibes. So whether you put another Golden Retriever in front of it or a Doberman, it's going straight off that meeting and, as a friendly reminder, dogs are animals, so sometimes they gotta work it out or maybe they just decide they don't care for each other.
I'll tell you what doesn't help: tension on your part because the dog looks intimidating - and I can be guilty of this, too, we all are! Just keep an eye on body language and don't get your energy levels into hyper-drive and send bad vibes to the doggos. The other thing that won't help? Wagging your finger and being rude to the other owner.
Guys, please don't make me start karate chopping you in the throat if you aren't being nice to each other around dog ownership. Your discouraging behaviour weighs on that other owner for days, and I should know because I am often on the receiving end (no, seriously, you can read about how I used to cry over it all the time in this article). Everyone is doing their best, no one wants a bad dog!
Thank you for attending this weeks episode of "Could You Not", Lucy and I will be here throwing shade until next time.