Sunday, March 15, 2009

Are They Friendly?

I *hate* this question!

What does that mean, anyway? So open ended, so open to interpretation. It seems to mean, to a lot of folks, that a dog will put up with endless rude and potentially dangerous behaviour from their obnoxious and untrained dog without reacting at all.

Should your dog ignore, grumble, lip curl, air snap, etc., they are the "mean" ones.


"Are your dogs OK with kids?"
Great question. Thanks for thinking of your childs' safety.

"Are you dogs OK with little dogs?"
Great question. Thanks for thinking of your dogs' safety.

"Are your dogs OK with puppies?"
Great question. Thanks for thinking of my dogs' blood pressure.

"Are your dogs friendly?"
What do you mean "friendly?" Are they aggressive? Nope. Are they trained? Yup. Will they play with your dog? Nope. Will they let your dog know that they don't want to be humped, chest bumped, shoulder checked, barked at from 3 inches from ear and/or grabbed? Yup, on all accounts.

Does that make them unfriendly? I think what I should do next time is stand next to obnoxious dogs owner and say...


...three inches from their ear and see how long it takes for them to walk away from me...or, you know, punch me in the face.

I'm so sorry for letting this loose on the general public
Look at them...evil bitches

Out for blood


  1. As the owner of Dobes for 30 years, I got these questions unceasingly. They were fine but they had their space bubble and it was a bit bigger than other breeds that I've lived with, but they were NOT aggressive. They never initiated any nonsense but they didn't put up with other dogs' nonsense either. They were the smartest and easiest dogs I've ever trained.

    Can't count the times I would be at the beach with my Dobe off-leash and as another dog would charge for mine I would call and leash my dog. The person would holler "don't worry, my dog's friendly!!" Well mine's not going to put up with your dog jumping on my dog's head. Nothing beyond growling and a few threatening barks ever happened because I would place myself between my dog and the interloper until the owner would finally amble up (their dog never had a recall) and reclaim their dog. Absolutely clueless.

    I don't have a Dobe now because of these sorts of problems. I love the breed but it became more of a management problem than I could deal with when I also had a young child. So I have a collie now -- he loves everything sentient -- dog or human, and especially kids. Much easier to deal with when my daughter was small. Now that she's older and doesn't need as much direct supervision I'm looking forward to getting another Dobe.

  2. Thanks for the education. I needed that. I have two small "yappy" dogs and didn't realize that I have been so annoying. I'll do better in the future.

  3. Great post. Just because my dog is little does not mean its ok to let your "friendly" dog approach.

  4. I like to say "NO" to that question ;) My guys are perfectly friendly and extremely tolerent. The people that ask those questions in that situation do seem to take advantage. 'No' just always seems easier, and I'm kinda mean like that. I am a lot less tolerent then my dogs are of stupid people with their untrained dogs.

  5. As the owner off a small, very breakable Cavalier, I completely relate to this post! I'm so friggin' sick of people and their completely unsocialized, out of control dogs running willy nilly all over the place!

    I don't want your dog jumping on me! I don't want your dog jumping on and all over my dog. Your big stupid 100 pound lab might be "friendly" as all get out, but that doesn't mean he can play safely with my 11 pound pup.


    Now whenever we're out enjoying a walk in the park I smile and tell people my dog has serve aggression issues and the tendency to bite other dogs in the face.

  6. as somebody who regularly has rescue foster dogs (, I always tell people my fosters are very unknown with strangers, so please leave him/her be.

    recently i was mid-transport with a young dog with known issues, and was literally taking him out of one crate and putting him into another, when a total idiot stranger came up and just started talking directly in the face of this dog and reaching for his head to pet him.

    I had to basically step in front of the dog and tell the dummy to back off. Luckily the dog was cool and kinda jumped up for pets and such, but this is the mentality of people. either your dog is a super friendly love bug or its "aggressive".

  7. As the owner of a slobbering in your face lab, I appreciate a good dog park snip, yap, ear bite, or take-down from any dog that feels the bubble invasion. Best way to learn, I figure.

    BTW: Good snag, that last pic.

  8. Word.

    I have obnoxiously cheerful friendly beardies and I *still* don't let them run up to other dogs uninvited or get away with annoying the hell out of them. I also welcome every snarl, grumble, tooth display or correction when the youngun' is being clueless with his manners - it is what it takes for them to learn (and why my oldest is so well-versed in dog body language that he can get on with anyone).

  9. "As the owner of a slobbering in your face lab, I appreciate a good dog park snip, yap, ear bite, or take-down from any dog that feels the bubble invasion. Best way to learn, I figure.

    I agree! I have a run-crazily towards-every-other-dog type dog and the occasional snap in his direction means he now skids to a stop a few yards away and walks in politely sniffing from there.

    The people who don't understand that a few snaps and growls are necessary really, REALLY need to read up on dog language and communication.

  10. Duncan is a mutt. Duncan came with Lab puppy manners. Duncan now has a notch in his ear where Blaze told him to back. the hell. off. Duncan decided that when I said "leave it" he should quit pestering dogs and come see if I had treats. He can now play with little dogs (he lays down, they tackle him), but I don't let him charge other dogs.
    The only time I ask "Are they friendly?" is when I've spotted someone else's dogs in public and am wanting to pet them.

  11. Yeah, I know how you feel. Except with me, it's "Do she/he/they bite?"

    What really bothers me is that this question is almost always asked about my German Shepherd, but almost never about my Papillon mix.

    Which isn't smart, but because my Papillon is more likely to bite a little child than my my GSD is. My GSD will bark at kids if they are annoying her. She has never bitten anyone (unless you count her old habit of play-biting me, which is now quelled) and would would rather run than bite. (Unless of course she felt I was in danger.)
    And that is saying something, seeing as she wasn't really raised around kids.
    Even so, I still exercise caution when either of my dogs are around kids.

    My Papillon gives one warning, if they are lucky, then snaps. He doesn't bite super-hard (though he is capable of doing so), but still.

    In any case, my answer is usually that my dogs do not bite unless they feel threatened.

  12. Agree 100%!!

    Similar story with a twist: I ride my horse in an urban environment (I call him the suburban cowpony) and we have to share our trails with people and dogs. In the beginning, Jive was fine with dogs and then too many of them (owned by idiots) got underneath him and tried to disembowel him.

    So Jive decided attacking first was a wise idea. I spent a brief amount of time telling people that he wasn't good with dogs and getting ignored and then when my horse would pin his ears and go after the dogs, I would get yelled at.

    Now, when I come across people and I am riding and they say "My dog is fine with horses" (yeah right!) I say, "That's great. My horse is going to kill your dog if he comes within 20 feet. Seriously, he's wearing steel all the way around and has big teeth." They leash up their dogs now.

  13. This was an amazing post. I get asked this all the time b/c my pointer mix does not appreciate when people pick on her or my neighbor's bc puppy. All she does to show her disssatifaction is growl a little and stare them down and people at the dog park act as if she just seriously offended their rude untrained dog. You blog was hilarious accurate and I can't wait to yell "how would you like it if i yelled in your ear and got in your space" at my local dog park :)