Okay so here’s the thing. I love dogs. Dogs are amazing wonderful creatures. But we have to stop acting like dogs are perfect, or safe to be around every one and every thing.
I just watched a gif of a man walking his dog when they came upon kittens. The dog immediately lunged – only to have the mother cat barrel in and scare the dog off. I was furious, because the owner sat and watched as his dog lunged at a kitten – and had to be beaten off of it by its mother.
In the comments people were discussing it, saying “That dog just wanted to play! He wasn’t going to actually *hurt* the kitten!”
And I’d really like us to stop this.
“He just wants to say hi,”
“he’s just trying to play”
are two phrases commonly said by people who do not understand their dogs behavior, and make excuses for them.
That dog did not want to play. When dogs want to play, they change their body language and start using different behavior – most obviously the play bow. They sniff first, and get introductions out of the way. If your dog lunges for something the moment they set its eyes on it – they do not want to play. Just imagine, if you were a kid who had never met someone before and they just straight up attacked you. That would be different from someone walking up and saying “hey, do you wanna play/wrestle?”
And here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with that dog, it just should not be allowed around animals smaller than it. Cats, hamsters, rabbits, hedgehogs, even toy breeds of dogs, I wouldn’t consider safe. And thats OK! You can have a perfectly happy life with your dog never harming any animals as long as you know this and make sure to pay attention. But if that dog harms a kitten or other small animal, I blame the owner, who should have known better.
We have to be responsible owners and know our dogs. And as people, we need to stop making excuses for other animals and instead do our best to make sure everyone in the situation is safe, not just the dog who “just wants to play” or “was just trying to say hi”, while barreling straight for something.
Just because you love your dog doesn’t mean its not aggressive in specific situations. Doesn’t mean its safe for all to be around. Doesn’t mean its incapable of fault.
And ON THE SAME NOTE;
A shit ton of the responses to this post read along the lines of “if the dog is behaving this way, it is also the owner’s fault!” So here’s a little thing you don’t want to hear:
You Aren’t Helping.
You are missing the point of this post. You are trying to make ANOTHER excuse, and still defending the idea that all dogs are angels. They are not. Genetic predisposition towards certain behavioral traits will always reign surpreme over rearing. An owner can do everything right and still have a dog that hates cats, or dogs, or even people. That is NOT the owner’s fault. That is NOT the dog’s fault. That is genetics, and so long as the owner is managing their dog appropriately, you have no ground to imply that they have failed their dog. Keep your asshole assumptions about other people’s lives to yourself, and stop acting like all dogs are angels.