Friday, June 29, 2012

"That's a big scary dog"

At the park, a guy was talking on his cell phone on one of the benches. Elka was staring at him, for whatever reason.  Maybe she thought he had food. Maybe she wondered who he was talking to. I'm not really sure; she stares at us when we're on the phone as well, or on a headset with somebody, and if it's somebody she knows, she seems confused that she can't find them.



But, said Cellphone Talker looked up at Elka and grew visibly uncomfortable. I just smiled, and he said "Wow. That's a big scary dog. What kind of dog is that?"

"She's a Doberman."

"Really big."

"Yes, she is."


When I have a conversation like that with a person, I am amused, I'm not going to lie. But really, I have to wonder about that person's prior dog experience. Had they been knocked over by big dogs as a child and avoided dogs since? Had they been attacked? Had they only interacted with ill trained dogs and owners who thought it was funny?  Nothing insulting was said, so it's not like I could really be indignant. I just wonder.



24 comments:

  1. I agree Elka, stop talking so loud on your cellphone, BOL
    Benny & Lily

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    1. It did seem like a funny thing, to go to the park in order to talk on the phone? Maybe it's the only place they could get some privacy.

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  2. When we walked our Old English Sheepdog, people would always tell us how shaggy she was. i think they are just trying to think of something to say.

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    1. I do agree with that, Jan, I think some people would rather say something than end up accidentally staring.

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  3. We get "that's a big dog!" quite a lot. More with Rufus (our malamute that died last year) than Georgia. He was 70+ kilos in his heyday. She's a petite 48 kilos! I usually just smile brightly and say "YES! She is!"

    Your big scary dobbie thought it was funny too, looks like :)

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    1. Elka does seem to get a kick out of people acting oddly!

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  4. My person won't let me near anyone unless they initiate it. I just want to go for the loves and I can't figure out why but a few people don't want to love on me.

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    1. That is something I need to remind Elka of, that not everybody wants to say hi. I only let her over if somebody invites it.

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  5. I don't know how people can't love big dogs! Like you said , who knows what their experience with them has been. But Elka, how could anyone be afraid of that face! :)

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    1. I'm confused by it as well, but hey, different things are for different people, it's cool!

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  6. I am laughing. People are often very charmed by Kuster until they find out he's a German Shepherd. Then it's the bug eyes and a couple steps back. The best one was a woman who was terrified of our scary looking Greyhounds, though! Obviously, she didn't know how to read canine body language or know much about dogs in general.

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    1. That's one that gets me, the hesitation after they learn the breed of dog. "....oh." Though I'm not sure what people could think Kuster is!

      Unfortunately, not enough people, many dog owners included, know enough about dog body language. I think a lot of bites and bad situations could be avoided if they did.

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  7. Yes she is very scary...lol. I bet he had little experience with bigger dogs.

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    1. That's really my best explanation, that he was in uncharted territory.

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  8. Don't you just love when people point out the blindingly obvious? I always hear: "your dog is so small" "your dog is reddish brown" "your dog's a Dachshund"
    Nola's Mom

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  9. You don't look scary to us. We see your big dog smile :D

    Wyatt and Stanzie

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  10. He thought your big beautiful smile was scary?? Yep, he must have had a bad experience somewhere along the way!

    ~Higgins

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    1. Well, she was LOOKING at him! She might have done something!

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  11. Hi Jen,
    I have had people get visibly scared seeing my 75-pound GOLDEN RETRIEVER. Everyone in the world knows that the worst a Golden will do to you is knock you over trying to love on you. What that tells me is that that person had a BAD experience with a dog, and I need to respect that. I usually watch their body language. If someone wants to engage with my dog, then I give them some pointers about how best to say hello, etc.

    But I think we "dog people" do need to understand that not everyone is comfortable around dogs, no matter what their size, breed, or training, and simply let them have a good experience with our dog, even if that's as simple as us smiling when we walk by with our calm, friendly, well-trained dogs.

    That's my two cents.

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    1. I agree, I do think that everybody should be considerate. Keep your dogs from greeting people who don't want it, keep away from a dog if the dog doesn't want it, etc. I mostly just keep things to a "Good morning" or "Hello", they can pet Elka if they seem to want to, but otherwise, we don't break stride.

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  12. I used to get this too! I had a black shar pei german shepherd cross. Yeah he was big, but he was very cute and a complete pushover. But sometimes when I'd walk him people would ask me if he bites. Why on earth would he bite??? People just don't like big black dogs I think.

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    1. I think you might be right!

      Really, some people just don't engage at all. They cross the street, or act like they're going to until we pass, take a different turn, that kind of thing. I'm kind of bemused that they think I'll walk a totally dangerous maneater down the street....I mean, it's possible that I have control over my Doberman and she doesn't attack people, isn't it?

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