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Yesterday I was with my dog and my kids at a War of 1812 re-enactment festival. There was a "skirmish" with muskets being fired. My kids sat up at the front of the crowd to watch, and I hung out under a tree in the shade with Juno and the baby. Of course, being with a pup and a baby seems to be an open invitation for strangers to approach and start conversation.

 

It wasn't long before a woman closed in on us. She swooped down over Juno, stroking her ears as Juno backed up and put her tail between her legs.

 

Woman: "Ohhhhh!!! What a sweet puppy! Oh, the poor thing is afraid of the gunfire!"

 

Me: "No, she's actually fine with loud noises. She's shy of people getting in her space."

 

Woman: "I don't understand why you people bring your dogs to things like this. It's just cruel to expose them to these sounds. Look, her tail is down!"

 

Me: "Her tail is down because she doesn't like strange people in her face."

 

Woman: "I was at the fireworks last month, and I just couldn't believe all the people bringing their dogs down there. Oh, the poor things. I can just imagine them shaking with fright over all those loud bangs."

 

Me: "Some dogs don't mind the sounds. Juno's fine with fireworks."

 

Woman: "And look at that black coat of hers. You really shouldn't have her out on a day like today, it's way too hot to be out with a black dog."

 

Me: "Well, we're relaxed here in the shade and she's got drinking water. She's not even panting."

 

Woman: "Oh! You have a baby there too!" (The baby was in the sling on my chest) "That baby is going to overheat with all the fabric draped around her. It's so hot today, you shouldn't have that baby out here, especially under that fabric."

 

Me: "If she was uncomfortable, she'd let me know."

 

At this point I was highly irritated and my tone of voice was not friendly or inviting. I had stepped between the woman and Juno, because Juno was visibly bothered by her - ears held back, tail down, backing away. The woman stepped around me to try to pet Juno again, and Juno backed against the fence. I stepped between.

 

Woman: "Look how scared she is of that gunfire. Oh, poor thing. Is she a rescue puppy?"

 

Me: "No."

 

Woman: "You bought her?"

 

Me: "Yes."

 

Woman: "I hope you didn't pay much for a mutt. What's this lab crossed with, anyway?"

 

I gave the woman a pointed look, gathered my stuff, and walked away with Juno. Ugh, some people feel so entitled to dish out their opinions to complete strangers! And usually they have no idea what they're talking about, either.

 

(As far as fireworks and loud noises go - we live across from a vineyard. They have those poppers to scare the birds away from the grapes, that sound like guns going off. We hear them all day, every day. When Juno first came to our home, the sound frightened her. It took all of two days for her to get used to it, and now she isn't bothered by sounds at all. She's gone to the fireworks three times this summer without any negative reaction whatsoever, and was fine at the skirmish until that woman set in on us.)

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Going to public events can be tough. If someone is petting a dog of mine and the dog is visibly worried, I physically block the person if I have to in order to protect the dog. If you do that, your dog will learn to trust you and is not likely to feel the need to growl, snap or bite. Sure, you will insult some strangers, but in the long run will end up with a more relaxed dog in public.

 

Noise phobia in Border Collies is extremely common, but the age of onset is generally after 1 to 2 years old and as late as 6 to 8. You really can't predict it in a puppy. I've had pups who seemed oblivious to loud noises grow into noise phobic adults. In fact, one pup who later became noise phobic loved any loud noises and would seek them out until she was about 4 or 5 years old. I've also had pups who startled at loud noises grow into adults who could care less. I don't think anyone has found a fool proof way to predict how they will turn out.

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Ug. Welcome to my world with Rudder.

 

"oh look, he's scared...I know what will help! I'll get right in his face and smother him with my love! That will calm him down!"

 

"He's scared of strangers? Oh don't worry, dogs love me! I just need to invade his personal space and he'll be all friendly!"

 

"oh he backed under the car to get away from me because I got too close...I know just what to do, I'll crawl under after him and console him!" (I so wish I was kidding on this one, I seriously had to haul this person out from under my car...)

 

"I know you told me to ignore him and he'll come around, but I know your dog better than you so I'm going to stare at him and make sudden movements to try and pet him when he slinks by. Suddenly grabbing at him will make him like me, I just know it."

 

And don't get me started on what some people let their kids get away with. I'm amazed how often taking a polite but firm tone is ineffectual with some people. Even physical interference sometimes doesn't work, as you experienced. I'm to the point now where people get one direct but polite warning, and if that doesn't work, I pull out full on b*tch mode. I hate being rude, but Rudder's mental health is more important than their feelings, especially when theyre already being rude.

 

One thing that has helped is pulling out the "he was abused as a baby" card. Based on the circumstances of him going to rescue, it certainly sounds like Rudder was with some horrible people as a baby, but I personally don't think that has much or possibly anything to do with his shyness. I think he's mostly just wired that way, but when I tell people they need to back off because he's a rescue dog who was abused and that's why he's shy, it *usually* works. I think most people are somehow offended when a dog doesn't like or is scared of them, but if you blame it on his "abused past" then you take the cause of his shyness off this person and put it onto some unknown evil person who abused him. Then they feel all warm and fuzzy again, because "hey, it's not *me* the dog is scared of, it's that horrible other person". Whether it is or not is unimportant to me as long as they back off. I know Juno isn't a rescue dog, but a little white lie to a total stranger who just doesn't get it may save you and Juno some stress.

 

People are idiots.

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"People are idiots." Aren't they just!

 

Gibbs likes needs to take his own time getting to know someone. I've stepped between him and well-meaning but clueless and/or deaf folks who must think that they know EVERYTHING about dogs. I do say 'excuse me', just to prove that my momma raised me right.

 

I don't argue with strangers anymore, I just take my dog and move away.

 

On the flip side, these experiences have made me much more reluctant to gift others with my opinions. Being an adult is hard work sometimes.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs, who likes to make up his own mind in his own time

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Ug. Welcome to my world with Rudder.

 

"oh look, he's scared...I know what will help! I'll get right in his face and smother him with my love! That will calm him down!"

 

"He's scared of strangers? Oh don't worry, dogs love me! I just need to invade his personal space and he'll be all friendly!"

 

"oh he backed under the car to get away from me because I got too close...I know just what to do, I'll crawl under after him and console him!" (I so wish I was kidding on this one, I seriously had to haul this person out from under my car...)

 

"I know you told me to ignore him and he'll come around, but I know your dog better than you so I'm going to stare at him and make sudden movements to try and pet him when he slinks by. Suddenly grabbing at him will make him like me, I just know it."

 

I laughed so hard there is coffee all over my keyboard. Its so true. My dog will actually fairly quickly warm up to a person who doesn't get into his space and who will ignore him for a bit. "Dog people" seemingly cannot do this. I have had several "non-dog" people who could follow directions and within 30 minutes he was being friendly...my in-laws, my sister, a co-worker. But I have 2 friends who are into dogs who can't just back off, its like they can't believe that they are not special. They lean into him, over him, stare at him, try to get down on the floor with him, and he wants them to go away! Its a bummer, because my back up pet/house sitter is one of those people and I am not comfortable leaving her alone with him, and when I told her I was boarding him rather than have a petsitter I think I hurt her feelings.

 

People are idiots.

 

Indeed.

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I had stepped between the woman and Juno, because Juno was visibly bothered by her - ears held back, tail down, backing away.

 

 

Awesome...this will go a long way towards helping puppy with her fear issue..."Mom will pay attention to my discomfort and not let somebody scary get in my face." Good job!

 

Ugh, some people feel so entitled to dish out their opinions to complete strangers! And usually they have no idea what they're talking about, either.

 

Yep.

 

"that dog must have been abused as a puppy"

"oh don't worry, all dogs like me"

"if you are a strong leader he won't be afraid...tsssst!"

"Border Collies don't make good pets, its a bad idea to have one"

"a Border Collie should live on a farm, its cruel to keep one in the city"

"he must be deaf because he has some white on his ear"

 

 

etc, etc.

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People are idiots.

 

SO TRUE!! This brought back memories of when I was a new mom and took my baby out. Everyone approached and offered some "helpful" comments....and also some derogatory ones regarding having him out, how he was dressed, how I held him, protecting him from germs, etc. etc.

 

But DOGS may even be worse in bringing out the idiots. Had to make two separate trips to Lowes recently after dog class with two different dogs. Did not want to leave them in the car because of the heat. I did call and ask the manager about bringing the first dog...and he said it was ok as long as no one complained about the dog. HA! Dogs are people magnets!! A 10 minute trip turned into 30 or more minutes as everyone wanted to pet them, give them a treat (mine - not theirs) and then tell me all about THEIR dogs. I had to take the time to give most of them a lesson on how to approach and pet a dog (of which some people were not interested in hearing.)

 

I really think it is great for dogs to experience stores and towns and new environments. However, dealing with the people...well, I think I'm just getting too old for all that. :lol:

 

ETA: You would be surprised at how many people actually put their face right smack in your dog's face and say "Does your dog give kisses?" I'd like to "kiss" them! :angry:

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My b*tch switch must have an indicator light because people just don't continue to intrude on me when I make it clear I want to be left alone. If someone approaches and tries to offer advice, I have found that a well timed correction does the trick.

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I have two magic words for know-it-all dog lovers who want to get inappropriate in my dog's face.

 

I smile and say, "She bites!"

 

She doesn't. At least she never has, although she is put off by pushy types. Most people she simply ignores. Once in a while she meets someone she cottons to right away.

 

Even idiots usually don't fancy being bitten, so it works most of the time. People corral their grabby kids and keep their hands to themselves. For the resistant I say firmly, "Leave the dog alone, please."

 

Politeness is a fine and wonderful thing, but people who cannot respond to a polite request to step back from my dog do not deserve any further pleading. I value my dog's comfort over that of a rude stranger.

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I'm always amazed at how proud some people are to show off their lack of knowledge...

 

There is no shame in lacking knowledge, though. I would much rather see someone own up to limited experience than have to suffer the hubris of instant dog experts.

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I smile and say, "She bites!"

 

I had a friend take her very sweet, typical people loving golden into a pet store and get attacked by the world's most obnoxious kid. The golden, who adored kids, apparently looked extremely confused at first, wondering why his favorite thing in the world was yanking on his ears, screaming into them, and, I kid you not, trying to climb on his back to "ride the pony". The mother was of course trying to take pictures of her precious darling doing this blink.gif. The dog finally realized this was no ordinary child but was in fact evil incarnate and tried to hide behind my friend, looking visibly afraid and upset.

 

The friend was entirely unprepared for this (and I think stood there in stunned silence initially, assuming the kid's mother would intervene) since her dog happily puts up with all sorts of invasions of personal space from strangers and loves it. She blocked his grabby hands, tried saying "we want to gently pet the puppy, honey", etc, until the kid tried to climb on the golden's back. She blurted out, "he bites!" realizing no sane argument would work. Mother-of-the-year yanked the kid back, screamed "how dare you let that monster near my child!" and rushed off to the manager, who understandably was concerned about a child biting dog in his store. The friend was forced to admit the dog didn't bite, she only said that to get the spawn of Satan off her dog, which of course the mother didn't believe for a second, because clearly Damon was the victim in all of this and by god she was going to sue.

 

Thankfully the manager had dealt with psychos like this before, understood the situation, and after placating the crazy lady with free stuff, told my friend her dog was clearly a saint and gave her pup plenty of treats.

 

There's crazy, and then there's you couldn't make this up if you tried, makes you weep for humanity crazy.

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I...will never understand why some people do what they do around dogs.

 

The other day my sister and I were walking her dog, and a man was getting out of his car heading towards his house. He came over and asked if he could pet our dog, and since Wesley loves strangers and is very tolerant, we were happy to agree.

 

Next thing you know, this guy grabs Wesley with both hands by the chin, and stares directly into his eyes while roughly six inches from his face, and begins doing the 'what a good doggy you are' talk. Wesley begins trying to avert his eyes and trying to wriggle away from him while still sitting. The guy continued to ask questions such as 'Is he a poodle? How old? Girl or boy? Name?' STILL staring right into his eyes! He kept talking for at least 2 full minutes of staring into our terribly nervous dog's eyes with his hands grabbing his chin. Halfway through this, my sister began rubbing Wesley's ears to comfort him as he was getting visibly agitated.

 

Wesley sure got a jackpot of treats once the guy was 'done'. You never know what people are going to do. :blink:

 

I feel the worst thing is when you have a dog that's shy of people, and they use the 'oh don't worry, I'm great with dogs' line. You may be the best dog person ever (not too likely), but the dog isn't great with people. :rolleyes:

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I had a friend take her very sweet, typical people loving golden into a pet store and get attacked by the world's most obnoxious kid. The golden, who adored kids, apparently looked extremely confused at first, wondering why his favorite thing in the world was yanking on his ears, screaming into them, and, I kid you not, trying to climb on his back to "ride the pony". The mother was of course trying to take pictures of her precious darling doing this blink.gif. The dog finally realized this was no ordinary child but was in fact evil incarnate and tried to hide behind my friend, looking visibly afraid and upset.

 

Obnoxious children are a more likely scenario than intrusive adults, for me. They don't get the pre-greeting brush off signals. I do not suffer obnoxious children gladly, and parents seem to have a different standard for 'obnoxious' than I do. I usually say of my dog that "she is not friendly" when I first see the little gleam in the approaching child's eye. Hannah loves children and I want to keep it that way and avoid bad experiences, particularly since I have grandchildren. In any case, I think "she's not friendly'" is less of a threat than "she bites", although the latter might be a better deterrant deterrent. I really should spell-check these things...

Edited by terrecar
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There is no shame in lacking knowledge, though. I would much rather see someone own up to limited experience than have to suffer the hubris of instant dog experts.

 

Very true. Perhaps I should have worded it differently. My reference was to those who clearly demonstrate their lack of knowledge while proclaiming to the world that they know it all.

 

Drives. Me. Nuts

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You gave me flashbacks to my earlier days with Buddy, when oh-so-oblivous strangers would lecture me every which way about how I needed to treat my fearful/reactive dog.

 

I never told people Buddy bites (though he very well may have bitten, had I let him get overwhelmed enough). I did find a handy line, though. I said, "He's autistic." For whatever reason, the behavior Buddy exhibitied (fear of eye contact, sudden approaches, fear of changes in pattern) were closely enough matched to those of my students who are on the spectrum - and using THAT language seemed to click with people. It seemed to give them an understanding of Buddy's behavior that let them off the hook for his weirdness, much in the same way "he was abused" does. It also sort of gave them a hint about how they might better calm him . ::Shrug::

 

FWIW, I've found that carrying kibble in my pocket works great for obnoxious kids. They come up expecting to pat him, but I say, "Would you like to give him a cookie?" For whatever reason, this seems to delight them much more than simply patting Buddy, and also seems to derail their desire to pat him. Once they give him a cookie, they seem satisfied with their doggie interaction. And, meanwhile, Buddy has got it reinforced that small children are treat dispensers, rather than something to be feared.

 

My favorite memory of a clueless stranger: Buddy and I drive to the park. Woman with Doberman parks right next to us and deboards her dog, while Buddy barks and growls from behind my car windows. (Big territorial thing with the car.) She goes off to walk, and I head the other way. Upon approaching her on the loop, Buddy gets worked up again, so I leave the path and go to the middle of the field, and put Buddy in a "down." He trusts me, does his down, and lies absolutely calmly. Upon which, the Doberman owner LETS HER DOG OFF LEASH TO COME CHARGE US.

 

GRRRR!

 

I said, "Can you grab your dog? This dog is not friendly!" (The growls are, apparently, not enough clue?) The clueless owner calls, "My dog is!" She as actually insulted that I wanted her to control her 100-lb dog as he charged at me and mine.

 

Oy.

 

Mary

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Very true. Perhaps I should have worded it differently. My reference was to those who clearly demonstrate their lack of knowledge while proclaiming to the world that they know it all.

 

Drives. Me. Nuts

 

No, I got that and totally agree. I just wanted to make the point that there is no shame in admitting inexperience. Sometimes I think ego the fear of appearing ignorant prevents people from taking a more humble approach. It's like a badge of shame if they aren't an expert or something, so they improvise or regurgitate what they hear/read.

 

Honestly, I won't say I have never done it, since it is clearly something one fails to recognize in themselves.

 

Then again, I do recognize real experience when I see it and will readily defer to it.

 

I wonder if anyone here has a dog that they could not guarantee would not snap if subjected to the type of face grabbing described in a prior post. I don't think I can definitively say Hannah would not snap if cornered in the manner described, though I think she would be more likely to attempt to flee. She has never shown such aggression, but she has never been mauled in that manner either.

 

ETA: On second thought, I guess she might feel that my veterinarian mauls her similarly and she doesn't bite him :lol:

Edited by terrecar
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I wonder if anyone here has a dog that they could not guarantee would not snap if subjected to the type of face grabbing described in a prior post. I don't think I can definitively say Hannah would not snap if cornered in the manner described, though I think she would be more likely to attempt to flee. She has never shown such aggression, but she has never been mauled in that manner either.

 

I don't think anyone could absolutely guarantee that a dog would not resent such treatment by snapping. Heck, if somebody did that to my dog I might bite them! :P

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"if you are a strong leader he won't be afraid...tsssst!"

"Border Collies don't make good pets, its a bad idea to have one"

"a Border Collie should live on a farm, its cruel to keep one in the city"

 

 

I seem to get these three tidbits of "advice" the most in regards to Brady, that or "oh, what's he mixed with?" It's the "advice givers" that drive me up a wall the most. One guy actually lifted his hand to strike Brady when he was younger and acting out, as all young animals will do when they're testing their boundaries, and I put myself between my dog and the jerk and told him to get the hell out of my house before he found himself in jail--no one strikes my dog. No one. He hightailed it out of there and mumbled something about how I was such a 'crazy (insert unimaginative curse word here).' Never did come back to my place again though, probably because I threatened my roommate over it (not necessarily a good thing, but I was really tweaked over it, ok).

 

A cashier at Petsmart once lectured me on how cruel I was to have a border collie in the city and not buying a farm and "giving it acres to run around on." Thought she was going to call a hotline on me by the way she was carrying on. It probably took a good twenty minutes for her to check out the single frisbee toy I had brought up. I almost told her to just void the entire transaction so I could just /leave/.

 

Another time, again at Petsmart, one of their associate trainers was working with a couple and their puppy while Brady and I were quietly checking out some water appropriate toys for the river. He was lying down at my feet, loose leash, pretty much half-asleep because we'd been at the river and the dog park, so he was plum exhausted. He was not amped up, worried, or really doing anything other than looking at me like he was about to pass out. The trainer starts to walk down the aisle, COMPLETELY oblivious to our presence and the dog she was working with was spinning in circles, yapping, and being pretty rude. Suddenly she stops, glares at me, looks down at my dog and turns the other direction while loudly saying, "We can't go down here, did you SEE how out of control and excitable that collie was?" Brady had literally not moved an inch.

 

I should probably just stop shopping at Petsmart, lol.

 

People drive me nuts, sometimes. :)

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Another time, again at Petsmart, one of their associate trainers was working with a couple and their puppy while Brady and I were quietly checking out some water appropriate toys for the river. He was lying down at my feet, loose leash, pretty much half-asleep because we'd been at the river and the dog park, so he was plum exhausted. He was not amped up, worried, or really doing anything other than looking at me like he was about to pass out. The trainer starts to walk down the aisle, COMPLETELY oblivious to our presence and the dog she was working with was spinning in circles, yapping, and being pretty rude. Suddenly she stops, glares at me, looks down at my dog and turns the other direction while loudly saying, "We can't go down here, did you SEE how out of control and excitable that collie was?" Brady had literally not moved an inch.

 

I should probably just stop shopping at Petsmart, lol.

 

 

 

FYI, years ago when PetSmart opened in our area, two of my students went to apply for the trainer's job...as did two other people I knew from the local dog club. All four had been in obedience for at least 5 years (maybe more) and had multiple obedience titles on multiple dogs. All four were turned down; two were told that they were over-qualified. I was curious, and so I called PetSmart about this. I was told that their policy was to hire someone with NO dog training experience...because....they had a book that they wanted the person to read and then train/teach from that book. :rolleyes: oh well.

 

So that explains your story.

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Oh my, people can be clueless. I had an incident at petsmart the other day too! had my 6 month old pup, who is friendly, but does not like to have dogs or kids in his face. There was a couple with a golden who was on a flexible - hate flexies by the way - when the golden saw Ben, he charged at him, I asked the people not to let the dog approach, but they did the "oh he's friendly" and let him charge on. The dog got right into Ben's face with tail straight up and ears pinned back, not a particularly friendly stance. Ben was visibly scared, so I backed him up and the people started coming towards us again. Ben decided to give the dog a warning bark and the people got mad and told me that I shouldn't bring my dog in the store if he was not friendly. we went to another aisle and a few minutes later another dog was barking at the golden to back off too. You would think these people would be able to figure it out.

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Oh my, people can be clueless. I had an incident at petsmart the other day too! had my 6 month old pup, who is friendly, but does not like to have dogs or kids in his face. There was a couple with a golden who was on a flexible - hate flexies by the way - when the golden saw Ben, he charged at him, I asked the people not to let the dog approach, but they did the "oh he's friendly" and let him charge on.

 

That isn't just ignorant, it is willfully rude. I have had a few panic attacks in my lifetime, and one of the things that will set one off is invasion into my personal space such as you describe. People with social anxiety or panic disorders work to maintain distance and rightly expect others to respect that. It isn't only about the dog, although there is that. If I let someone know I feel I am being crowded (or my dog is), and I ask them to stop, their continued approach would likely elicit some fear aggression in ME, not to mention my dog.

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