Sunday, July 17, 2011

I come in peace - do not fear

I just don't get it, I really don't.  I understand that some people have a fear of dogs, come from a culture that does not see them as the fluffy bunnies we here in the US view them...but really!!!

So we are walking into a department store and there is a bank of four double doors with a double entry.  This small child, toddler stage, is running around crazy laughing with the mother trying to get him with the father looking on.  She sees Spirit (dressed, leashed in our Bold Lead harness - total business -) and starts panicing, running in circles, trying to find a door that will get her away from us while being able to scoop up her out of control child.

So we calmly enter the far right door as they finally go through the left.  The child is straining and saying "doggie, doggie!" and the mother is saying "Bad doggie, doggie bite, doggie bite".  I stop, turn and take a look at the family.  The father is looking on smiling at his wife's (?) distress, she is repeating her "bad dog" statement in a loud voice.  I could not keep my mouth shut.

I addressed the husband, since the woman's english was broken, and basically told them to cut it out.  That all they were doing was giving the child a fear of dogs, encouraging both of them to fear working dogs.  That NO dog that is out and working would ever bite a child, or an adult.  That the hysterics are distracting and disturbing to a working team.  If they are that afraid, be quiet, do not draw the dog's attention, and do not follow the team.

The husband had enough sense to look ashamed and blushed, took his wife aside and picked up the child.

To quote Charlie Brown. . . "ARGGG!!!!!!"

I get that some cultures have problems with dogs.  We have done our own conversion therapy of a few people in my school, but really!

I noticed when I was on the east coast more dog fear than here on the west.   This was my first experience in my home town.  Have any of you out there had this same experience?  How do you handle it?

On a good note, we walked up to a check out line and a little girl in front of us was ramping up for a good cry.  Her face was all screwed up, her fists were balled up, she was taking a deep breath then . . . Poodle Power.  She saw Spirit.  She tilted her head, looked confused and then burst out laughing.


  1. I went to my aunt's church for their praise team practice and their intern was there. When she came over to look at Coleman, I had him stand so she could see him and she screamed and jumped over a pew. That's when she informed me she was afraid of poodles (and she knew he was a poodle before coming over).

  2. I've had similar but nothing that extreme. I'm trying to socialise my dog a lot, and we take her out and teach her to walk next to my wheelchair. A child screamed when she went past last time, and there was a man who chose to dart into oncoming traffic rather than come within five metres of my dog.

  3. Ashley, that's kinda funny. Though Spirit is taller that I am when he stands up (not much of a feat since I am only 5' on a good day).

    Arlecchino - Yikes! I hope the traffic darter didn't cause an accident. I can understand children better than I can grown adults (who can see that the dog is under control)

  4. That's so sad! Spirit wouldn't cur anyone.

  5. I don't think that you should say that no working dog would ever bite someone. Every dog is capable of biting, and while we would never expect it to happen with our service dogs, the unexpected can happen. Every dog has its limit where if pushed would bite someone. The likelihood of that happening to a properly trained service dog isn't very big, but it is still a possibility.

    Additionally, there are people out there who haven't trained their SDs very well or have chosen badly, etc. You cannot say that every dog that is met in public has a solid temperament, and you cannot say that every dog met in public wouldn't bite someone for "no" reason.

    Even if this weren't the case for service dogs, not everyone knows the different between a service dog and a police/military dog. Many of those dogs' jobs are in fact to bite someone, albeit usually a specific person, but I unfortunately have met a police dog that bit a passerby. I know his training could have been better and they wound up retiring him, but the point is that it could happen.

    Any dog is capable of biting in the right (or rather, wrong) circumstances.

  6. Yes, all dogs can bite. BUT if someone has proofed their dog like they are suppose to, the odds of a SD biting (no matter what happens to it) is incredibly low. I've seen dogs grabbed, kicked, stepped on and tackled. ALL have done what they are suppose to (down stay until handler tells them otherwise or moving away from the stimulus - depending on what signals they receive from their handler).

    Again, if a dog is on a leash, harness on and handler using harness with the lead wrapped around their body. . .those are signals that it is a working dog & the dog is under the control by the handler.

    If you are afraid of dogs, just stay away. What I don't understand is how they think acting like prey (running and screaming) could protect them. That type of attitude will DRAW a dog's attention to you.

  7. That happens all the time. Dee is a 55-pound black lab who is always wagging her tail. I just moved in to the apartment for the semester and happened to come out at the same time as my neighbor. She let out this piercing scream that woke up my roommate who came out because she said it sounded like someone was being injured. The neighbor said she was terrified of dogs and didn't expect to see one there. After I came in a few minutes later from relieving Dee, she screamed again. Sometimes I offer to let people pet, especially if they are children to show them that dogs can be nice.

  8. C'est la guerre. We all croak. Aint that nice to know? Then, we can watch our service dogs run, frisk, chase squirrels, and play in Seventh-Heaven. Not to be so morbid, dear...