General Etiquette > Life...in general

Please Don't Kick My Dog...

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CrochetFanatic:
It's been cold lately, but today was pretty mild and I didn't even need a jacket.  Our Boxer, Daisy, is getting a bit antsy from being inside so much (she doesn't tolerate cold or heat well), so I thought it would be a good day to take her to the track for a walk.  Basically, it's a walking trail that goes in a lopsided loop, and it's by the library and the middle school.  Dogs are allowed, but they have to be on a leash and you have to pick up after your pet.  Pretty standard. 

The walk was uneventful, but as we were on our way to the car we passed by a woman who looked to be in her 60's.  Daisy loves people, and she started her whole tail-wagging "happy to meet you" dance, trying to lead me over to greet the woman.  I didn't let her, and she was about ten feet away as we passed, but I think this lady must be afraid of dogs or something, because she took a step back before aiming two kicks in the dog's direction.  The kicks were kinda feeble, but it got my back up.  Uh-uh.  Not okay to kick at my dog.  Daisy was on a harness and leash, and there was no danger of her unintentionally harming the lady.  Now, Daisy is about 70 pounds and admittedly looks a bit intimidating to people who first meet her, but she's really just a big wimp.  I can't totally blame the lady for her reaction, especially it she was afraid of dogs, but I was angry just the same.

I'm not sure if I handled this well or not, though.  I said, not in a sharp tone, "Ma'am, please don't try to kick my dog.  I understand you don't want to be jumped on or knocked down, but I've got her under control, and we're leaving.  She won't bother you."

The lady actually seemed a bit mollified, but said, "Just keep that beast away from me."

It seemed like a case of "phobic person meets trigger", and I'm not unsympathetic.  If someone came near me with a tarantula, I'd similarly freak out.  I've already made up my mind to give this woman a wide berth if I see her there again and Daisy happens to be with me, and I've described her to my family so that they can do the same, but we're not avoiding the track.  Dogs are allowed, and Daisy has every right to be there as long as we follow the rules.  Is there any way I could have handled it better?

NyaChan:
Wow, hats off to you - I think you did an amazing job!

Seraphim:
I think you did very well. I think I would have a very hard time being as polite as you were if someone attempted to kick my dogs whilst they were totally under control.

I understand that it might have been a trigger for her, but really it is her issue and dosent give her the right to harm (or attempt to) an animal that is absolutly no threat to her.

If Daisy did jump on her, or lunge in an agressive manner (not saying that she would) then that might be a different situation and the lady would have the right to protect herself.

chibichan:
I would have left off the " Please " , but since she wasn't actually close enough to touch your dog , the Icy Glare of Death would have sufficed .

Kudos to you for recognizing what it was - a fear reflex , not an attempt to torment your animal . If you do run into her again , I'm pretty sure she will give you a wide berth .

If she tries the kicking thing again , you can tell her " You know that just signals to her that you want to play ( or fight ). "

Then you can advise her to stand quietly until you pass , or give some other reassuring advice .

You do not need to avoid her . She is the one with the issue . You are within your rights to use the track .

Deetee:
I'm a bit confused. You said the woman was ten feet away from you when you passed. Then she took a step back and kicked? Was she kicking your dog or kicking the air 10 feet away?

This matters because I feel that people with lively large dogs should keep their dogs controlled so that no people need to get any closer than they want to.

I will admit that my feelings on this have sharpened since a dog jumped all over daughter and stole the muffin out her hand. She never dropped it. The dog grabbed it. That situation was different as it was an off leash dog in an on leash area (actually dogs were forbidden in the playground and needed to be on-leash nearby). I get a suprisingly aggresive adreline rush when dogs get close to my kid now (and are not under apparent control.)

 An enthusiastic dog can be terrifying for a child, an elderly person, anyone with poor balance or anyone who is nervous around dogs. So the closeness of the dog can easily trigger someone to act aggresively out of fear. It's good you recognise this.

This does not condone someone attacking your dog unprovoked, but dogs can be quite scary (and almost every dog owner thinks their dog is "friendly" ) and backing  away means someone has the perception that the dog is not under control.

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