All Dogs Love Me; Yup! How to Deal with This Guy
There are certain phrases that make me cringe… I’ll have to write an article on all of them and why!
But one of the WORST is “All Dogs Love Me”!
No one is Doctor Dolittle; there is no one who can speak with animals.
I am not a believer in “Animal Communicators” nor have I ever met anyone who is good with ALL animals or ALL dogs.
Even those of us who read animals for a living and do a darn good job of it; still have the occasional dog or animal that we have difficulty reading or who doesn’t care for us.
I am no exception to the rule!
There are dogs that like me, there are dogs that hate me, there are dogs that are scared of me, and there are dogs that try to bite me.
As much as I would like to tell you that I am the person that all dogs love… I can’t because I don’t think that person exists!
I was a Steve Irwin fan throughout his life and still.
No one approached “scary” mammals, insects, birds, fish and reptiles with the vim and vigor that he did. It seemed to the viewer that EVERYTHING was exciting and I loved that about him.
I don’t know if he was like that in real life about everything; or whether that was part of his “character for his show”. But either way I loved watching him catch and educate people about the things they most feared. We all learned to love crocodiles and sharks and the things that visited us in our nightmares because he showed us their “human” traits and anthropomorphized them.
I think he has saved millions of “scary” creatures worldwide due to education and information and educating children when they were young so they would grow up to care about these creatures and not kill them.
Yet, I remember how he died.
No one is invincible and no one can communicate flawlessly with all dogs or creatures.
So Why Do I Hate the Phrase So Much
So that begs the question why do I hate the phrase so much, why do I care how other people see themselves?
Because I believe it sets the believer up with a false sense of security, that is often instilled in young children and it sets fearful or aggressive dogs up to bite.
I also think that some dog owners believe this and allow these people closer to a fearful or aggressive dog.
I think sometimes parents set children (who grow up into adults) up for this falsehood by telling them how great they are with animals, how they are the dog whisperer, or how they have never seen an animal that didn’t like that child.
It gives the child who then becomes an adult a false sense of security by making them believe that there are people like that…
Or, if they are just good enough or patient enough any animal will like them.
Some see it as a challenge, and that challenge is pushed farther when an aggressive dog doesn’t stop aggressing and so the person almost blames themselves with thought processes like “Well I have always been good with animals” or “No other dog has ever bitten me”.
The problem is that both of these thought processes push the person further toward being bitten.
False sense of security makes them feel invincible and blame makes them feel inferior or like they must now prove it.
Neither is a Good Thing
Neither thing that pushes this individual to want to touch your dog is good.
And, it sets your dog up for a bite.
Let’s face it, not all dogs like all people in all situations.
A dog might be fine with the same person in a neutral environment; but add stress and distractions and other conditions that might prompt fear and the dog doesn’t want to be touched.
I’ve owned these dogs!
I feel personally toward this problem because I have owned these dogs.
I have owned dogs that don’t naturally like “everyone” and one dog that really didn’t like anyone but me.
2 out of 3 of my dogs right now don’t “LIKE” people. They tolerate people but they are bred to be more aloof and not as trusting as some breeds.
Both of my dogs currently will function normally in public and not show outward signs of aggression toward people (no growling, barking or hackling) but make no mistake they don’t want to be touched by people they don’t know, and I keep that from happening.
So How Do I Do It?
I know there are other people like me; who cringe when someone says “All dogs love me” because that typically means that they are in the face of one that doesn’t.
Some dogs are fearful of or aloof toward everyone they don’t know, instead of the dogs we all want that are social with everyone.
First off let’s go back up and re-read WHY people feel this way.
They have been given misinformation which they now believe to be truth; and when it doesn’t work, they feel guilty or that they are somehow to blame.
So let’s feel bad for him/her and understand them first.
However, that doesn’t always or hardly ever change their behavior…
The Only Behavior You Can Control is Your Dog’s
The only one who you can truly control in this instance is your dog. My dogs are very well behaved. When I give a command, they snap to it.
I believe if I allowed them to wander at the end of their leashes with no commands or communication and if they had to deal with people they would likely show more outward signs of aggression.
However, I make sure that MY DOGS are in heel position and that their obedience both basic and advanced dog obedience is nearly perfect. When I tell them “Leave It” “Heel” “Down” and “Watch” they stop doing what they are doing, return to heel position, lay down and stare straight up at me.
Usually this kind of obedience is intimidating.
Most people usually don’t see this kind of obedience, so they are usually taken aback and their mindset is often changed for a fraction of a second so that you may tell them “Please don’t touch/pet/talk to my dog, he is working”
Most people will then stop forward movement or trying to interact with your dog at this point. I find that people understand the concept of “working” and not petting.
If I have to use a basket muzzle in public; I will! Just the sight of a muzzle keeps people from coming closer, usually. It is even very good at keeping this happy idiot away. For more on muzzle use and why and how to make it fun click here
But sometimes you simply have to be a little rude.
I hate to say it because I hate doing it; but sometimes I have to raise my voice and be a little rude.
After all if there is a conflict and your dog bites the person, the Animal Control Officer isn’t going to care that the person didn’t listen to you. YOU will always be the one at fault and your dog will ultimately be the one who suffers the consequences.
So I have embraced my ability to be a little rude, in an attempt to save the life of my dog and to save the unknowing “idiot” from being bitten.
I will usually turn and walk away (with my dog in heel position giving me eye contact) first so that I don’t have to get confrontational.
But if I have to raise my voice and say STOP! I will.
Usually no one wants to be embarrassed so a quick intervention is all that is needed.
You can reward your dog for compliance and listening to you after the incident so that he doesn’t feel conflict and then go on and about your merry way.
But the most important thing is to ensure that no one gets bitten, no matter what you have to do!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.