I ran across a news story this morning that really made me stop and think. Do we need to teach our small dogs 'stranger safety' much as we do with our children?
I am constantly hearing about the importance of socializing our dogs to accept and be friendly towards strangers and I do believe that is a good thing. But for those of us that have small animals, it may also be wise to teach our dogs not to approach a stranger without invitation. And why should we assume that others will be kind to our animals? While most people enjoy seeing small dogs and our cute little furbabies, the unfortunate reality is that some people are just mean and small dogs are fragile.
-- Case in point.. An 11 yr old boy was walking his chihuahua near him home when the 5 lb
chi ran to 'say hello' to a stranger. In the end, the woman grabbed the
dogs leash and tossed the dog away from her breaking his neck and killing him in the
Now, the woman charged claims the chihuahua was nipping and biting at her pants leg. And I certainly think the force was excessive given the size of the dog but realistically we cannot always expect others who are unfamiliar with small dogs to understand how truly fragile they are. And we certainly shouldn't assume that strangers on the street are 'dog friendly'.
This is such a heartbreaking story. Ultimately it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our beloved pets. Whether it should be or not can be debated til the cows come home. The truth is if this little chi had not approached this woman to begin with he would still be with his family.
Asking permission before greeting someones dog AND before allowing your dog to greet a stranger is not only good manners but it's also a safety issue. Simply approaching a dog without invitation is well known to be dangerous and can incite a dog to possibly bite but often little thought is given to the danger we may be putting our dogs in when we allow them to greet new people.
And I think its time we dog owners become more aware of these dangers when allowing our dogs to approach others without invitation. Often owners of small dogs simply assume that others would never see their dogs as threatening or hostile because of their size. Or we just cant see how someone could hurt something so small cute and innocent. This is simply untrue. Some people are afraid of small dogs too. And in the real world, animals and children are harmed everyday by people with ill intentions. We must not assume that the lady on the street is nice and open to meeting our little angels. We must stop and think about whether that man on the corner is someone we would want our dog to meet. It's a tough line to walk balancing keeping our dogs people friendly and people safe but it is a line that must be walked.
Keep your dog on a leash or contained in some way when out and about so that you are in control of the situation at all times. Make it a practice to always go through the formality of asking if your dog may greet a new person. This not only protects you from possible legal situations, it also protects your small dog from possible injury or emotional trauma from an encounter with someone who doesn't like dogs and just simply didn't want to meet yours.
Stay Safe and Have Fun!!
To read the full news article referenced above..
Chihuahuas are wonderfully spirited little dogs full of love and energy! Anyone who knows them can tell you how lively their personalities are. I have 5 chihuahuas, 3 of which are puppies. Susu, Ginger, Cori, Fen, & Cinna. I'll be sharing my thoughts here on everything from health issues, to food, to fashion and fun for the small dog.
I hope you enjoy the blog, leave me a comment and follow along!!
-- Michelle K.
While the main dog here is the Chihuahua, I believe the information here is valuable and entertaining to any small dog owner.