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Thread: Dog Owner Issue

  1. #1
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    Dog Owner Issue

    I hope this might change someone's approach to this situation. I like certain dogs just like I like certain people. I was bitten some years ago when I was in my 20s unprovoked by a dog I knew and it was scary. Since then I do not like when dog owners leave their dogs off leash illegally and the dog comes close to me or my child if I don't know the dog.

    I'm also not a fan of a friendly dog leaping on me if I am wearing clothing I'd prefer to keep clean (like on my way to work). If I get on our elevator and there is a big dog I either casually stay away or I wait for another elevator. If the dog is lunging at me and the owner doesn't have the dog under control sometimes I ask the owner to pull the dog closer. as nicely as possible. Most comply and some don't.

    In my building there is a lady on my floor with a big dog who bounds around with a limp. She keeps him on a long leash in the hallway. I am not scared of him but it's startling to come out of my apartment or around a corner and this dog is bounding up at me. So it usually makes me jump a bit -a reflex. Sometimes because of the long leash I am delayed with my child getting on an elevator to make it to the bus on time because the dog is blocking us from getting on.

    This morning that dog owner was without her dog waiting for the elevator. There was a man with a huge tall dog -bigger than me if he stood up. He started to lunge at me while waiting for the elevator. I got a bit startled and stepped away but no big deal. The owner nicely pulled the dog closer and got on the elevator when it arrived. i casually stood a distance away since the dog was still coming close to me and I've never seen this dog. That's when the other lady volunteers "oh she's afraid of all dogs." Well, it's not true. So I said politely " I am not afraid of all dogs. I am afraid when a dog I don't know gets close to me."

    The owner said the dog was friendly and I said "yes I'm sure and I wouldn't have known that." Then other lady (non-dog person) wouldn't stop and said "oh, she likes dogs at a distance. I said "no, I don't like when dog owners leave their dogs off the leash or when a dog I don't know comes very close to me." Dog owner got off the elevator. He was very nice as far as keeping his dog next to him. Non-dog person asks if I've been bitten. I said yes and repeated to her 'and I've been lunged at and almost attacked by dogs who the dog owners leave off leash in this building and my son as well" So she said "then there's precedent I'd understand why you want dogs at a distance" I said again "it depends on the individual situation." I tried hard to keep things polite and focus on dog owners' behavior, not the dogs.

    I don't think she needed to talk about me like that in the first place. None of her business. And I've never told her I was afraid of dogs. I get startled every time her dog bounds right in front of me on the long leash. My husband and I have asked her on occasion to please get the dog out of the way of the open door elevator so we can get on the elevator. She takes her time doing so and we say nothing but it's annoying and delays us (our elevators are slow to begin with!). My husband is even more reserved/polite than me about this stuff.

    So I am not saying any other dog owner would behave this way but I wanted to make clear that an assumption that someone who has been bitten/attacked is therefore afraid of all dogs is unfair, or any other generalization. And, that it's ok if a person keeps his/her distance, politely from your dog - especially if it's done casually (without making a scene or scaring the dog of course).

    And just to please understand that even if you know your dog is friendly a stranger would not know that and perhaps to take into consideration keeping the dog close to you on the leash so that the stranger doesn't need to figure out whether the dog trying to say "hi" is going to be aggressive or friendly. And of course certain people are allergic. My son pets dogs all the time and we follow the routine of he has to ask me and then ask the owner and over time we've told him how dogs like to be approached and petted. He also asks the owner about the particular dog and what he likes. He's gentle and great at it. If a strange dog is off the leash or not being appropriately controlled by the owner and bounding towards us it scares us both. I think that's normal. I want him to be appropriately cautious around animals he doesn't know and to treat animals with respect. I was a cat owner and we plan to have a pet if possible in the future.

    Please don't take it personally that someone might be scared of or cautious around your dog especially if that person isn't riling up your dog by making a fuss. Certainly people on an elevator are allowed to keep their distance for any variety of reasons -maybe a person is wearing a strong perfume, or whatever - that lady's comments really bothered me and she wouldnt stop. The dog owner actually was understanding and kept his dog at an appropriate distance. I appreciated that and if I see the dog again I'll now know he is friendly. I still wouldn't want him leaping on me because he is so big. I think people are allowed to not want to be touched by animals or people when on an elevator especially if it's done in a polite/quiet way.

    When I was bitten the dog was on a leash, I knew the dog, I walked by the dog and he lunged at me and bit my leg -puncture wound through my clothing. No one had any idea why including the owner.

    Thank you for listening. I know not all dog owners are like this. I've encountered too many situations where people assume I don't like dogs because I don't want a dog off the leash. I have an issue with the owner, not the dog. Sorry to be repetitive. Thanks for reading and potentially understanding.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member thealchemist's Avatar
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    Dog owners are a lot like parents.

    Some are terrible and shouldn't even have them, some are great.

    It really just has to do with how considerate people are.

    I am a dog owner and trainer. I have more stitches than I can count from dog bites.

    I will also say that no matter how "nice" a dog is, it is an animal and you are a stranger.

    Never presume that a dog is so nice that you lower your guard. They might be 150,000(depending on who you ask) years removed from grey wolves but they still have many unpredictable triggers.

    There is nothing wrong with your view and any responsible owner shouldn't get upset about that.

    I love dogs, but I have enough scars that I am overly protective of my children around them.

    I can however see how you might appear afraid of dogs. That in itself is a little dangerious, a dog will pick up your fear and became aggressive. Even being startled can set triggers off. So I would actually try to work on that.

    But it shouldn't even be required with a responsible owner.

    PS: I didn't even notice who posted this until I finished writing.

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    It goes both ways. My family dog and a friend of mine's dog couldn't be approached by strange dogs. It was due to stanger's dogs attacking them, which made them aggressive to other dogs. Owners still insist on having their dog lunge on our dogs and it soon turns sour, even after the warning. Familiar dogs were ok though.

    People have boundaries and at times others' believe they can violate them because they think their dog is friendly enough. It only leads to injury. Or some stranger's dog humping your leg.

    I can see why dogs and humans would not be receptive after an attack. It is basic instinct not to put yourself in the same situation again. Hopefully once you get a dog of your own, you can just immediately shut down that line of thinking by saying you're a dog owner yourself. Heck, for now just fib and say you already do, or are going to get one soon.

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    Originally Posted by yatsue
    It goes both ways. My family dog and a friend of mine's dog couldn't be approached by strange dogs. It was due to stanger's dogs attacking them, which made them aggressive to other dogs. Owners still insist on having their dog lunge on our dogs and it soon turns sour, even after the warning. Familiar dogs were ok though.

    People have boundaries and at times others' believe they can violate them because they think their dog is friendly enough. It only leads to injury. Or some stranger's dog humping your leg.

    I can see why dogs and humans would not be receptive after an attack. It is basic instinct not to put yourself in the same situation again. Hopefully once you get a dog of your own, you can just immediately shut down that line of thinking by saying you're a dog owner yourself. Heck, for now just fib and say you already do, or are going to get one soon.
    We don't want to be a dog owner. I shouldn't have to defend myself "I am a dog owner too" - IMO it was not her place to say what she said about me to the other dog owner. It's just like I love my kid, like being around my kid most of the time, lol, and it doesn't mean I want to be around anyone else's child especially if that child is going to get in my personal space. So, for example, I do not like when parents let their very young children wander around so that it disrupts other pedestrians or push/hit other children to the extent where it becomes more than "kids are kids". People are entitled to their personal space within reason and I think it's reasonable not to want a big tall dog I don't know potentially leaping on me, even to give me kisses.

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    If someone tells another person "she's afraid of dogs" so they will control their dog - i would not sit and argue that "no, i am not...i am only afraid of dogs in this circumstance..."
    When people get to know you, you can tell them more details of what dogs you are okay with, but if they are strangers with an unruly dog, then just leave it at that and don't get argumentative.

    I would talk to the neighbor who lets her dog roam on a long leash "hi, your dog can get all the way to my apartment door and its hard to keep my clothes clean when i am on my way to work because i end up with dog hair or your dog jumping on me. Would you mind terribly shortening the leash or just being out there with your dog? thanks"

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    Actually, the only thing I would comment on is it's easier to give the explanation "I'm afraid of dogs," rather than give people a long lecture about dogs and dog owner behavior. You're implying that all dog owners are rude and inconsiderate. The lecture makes you seem snobbish and condescending. On the other hand if you tell people you're afraid of dogs, they usually will keep their dogs in check and keep them closer to them (other than that other woman with her big dog). And you don't have to spend as much time and energy trying to convince dog owners you're not afraid of dogs because under their breath they're just going to comment that you are afraid of dogs and won't admit it.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    I think the only people taking it personally are people who want to take it personally. It takes a pretty rudimentary common sense and a baseline level of empathy to understand that, whether or not they've been bitten in the past, many people simply don't like strange dogs running up on them. Now if your concern is a false public characterization unfairly impacting the perception of your other neighbors toward you, I don't think reflexively rebutting the other guy kindly assuring you his dog is nice with a "I couldn't have known that" is doing you any favors.

    You know you're not irrationally afraid of all dogs. If she wants to throw out an unqualified assumption that you in fact are, it'd be fair for you to respond with something along the lines of, "It's not that. I just need to get to know a dog before I'm comfortable with them coming up on me." If she wants to take that and interpret it as you being afraid of all dogs, then it is what it is. Beyond knowing someone's inaccurately characterizing you, what's the consequence?

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    Rightfully afraid of dogs or not, I think it's just rude for anyone to allow their dog to either lunge or jump on someone.

    How is it any different that having a toddler you don't know run at you? We would think the parents weren't disciplining their child with models of appropriate behavior.

    I love dogs. I am not afraid of them. I get that sometimes an animals exuberant greeting can be viewed as a compliment.

    But never the less (I don't currently own a dog) but I would never allow it to jump on someone.

    I would have responded `No, It's not that I am afraid of dogs. I just think it's really rude to let them jump on people'
    Last edited by reinventmyself; 07-19-2018 at 12:33 PM.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by j.man
    I think the only people taking it personally are people who want to take it personally. It takes a pretty rudimentary common sense and a baseline level of empathy to understand that, whether or not they've been bitten in the past, many people simply don't like strange dogs running up on them. Now if your concern is a false public characterization unfairly impacting the perception of your other neighbors toward you, I don't think reflexively rebutting the other guy kindly assuring you his dog is nice with a "I couldn't have known that" is doing you any favors.

    You know you're not irrationally afraid of all dogs. If she wants to throw out an unqualified assumption that you in fact are, it'd be fair for you to respond with something along the lines of, "It's not that. I just need to get to know a dog before I'm comfortable with them coming up on me." If she wants to take that and interpret it as you being afraid of all dogs, then it is what it is. Beyond knowing someone's inaccurately characterizing you, what's the consequence?
    The consequence is that she's characterizing me in an inaccurate way in front of our neighbor and it's none of her business in the first place. I said it nicely to the owner - thanked him for letting me know and made the comment to explain why I wasn't comfortable when his dog initially jumped at me in the elevator bank. I thought of waiting for another elevator but they're so slow (there are two) and I thought I could stand far away enough from the dog -and the owner was cognizant of controlling him. It's just the other person who um couldn't control her mouth even after I corrected her inaccurate assumption.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by DanZee
    Actually, the only thing I would comment on is it's easier to give the explanation "I'm afraid of dogs," rather than give people a long lecture about dogs and dog owner behavior. You're implying that all dog owners are rude and inconsiderate. The lecture makes you seem snobbish and condescending. On the other hand if you tell people you're afraid of dogs, they usually will keep their dogs in check and keep them closer to them (other than that other woman with her big dog). And you don't have to spend as much time and energy trying to convince dog owners you're not afraid of dogs because under their breath they're just going to comment that you are afraid of dogs and won't admit it.
    Thanks but no thanks! I'd be ok with a stranger thinking I am afraid of all dogs. Not my neighbors.I don't want any of my neighbors to think I am afraid of all dogs or that I keep my distance from all dogs especially since I want my son to be able to interact with our neighbors' dogs when they allow him to. I think she came across as not minding her own business and I did not give a lecture. I simply corrected her and clarified each time she came up with yet another comment -about two-three while we were with the dog owner and then she continued when we got off the elevator and walked down the hall. Each time I quickly clarified as best I could that I am not afraid of all dogs, that yes I was bitten and have been attacked (and my child) by off-leash dogs in the building and that each situation is individual. She chooses to let her dog bound up to me and my family, to block us from getting on the elevator because of the long leash and I'm not scared, it's just startles me and delays us getting on the elevator or even to pass by in the hallway. I keep my son to one side of the hallway and don't let him block elevator doors (which he's getting better and better at all the time on his own) so why should a dog owner let her dog do that?

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