I really want you to pet me but I kinda wanna bite you
I giggled, I have a cat like this. If you visit my home, she is the cat that will purr and rub on your legs, she may even hop in your lap… but after a few seconds of you petting her, she is likely to bite you.
I think it is the evil Siamese in her 😉
She is not the only cat I have owned over the thirty some years of my life that has had that propensity.
When people enter my home, I warn them that the most aggressive animal in the house is this particular house cat. I also make sure no one pets her.
But, just the other day I saw a picture of a Belgian Malinois holding a sign with the same caption and it got me thinking.
Thinking is sometimes bad for me!
But, what people don’t realize is that this statement is actually true.
They have that face of “I really want you to pet me” they may even wag.
And, sometimes they really do want you to pet them….
But then halfway through they decide they changed their mind…
This leaves you or your child set up for a bite.
This is one of the most complex behaviors because it is often difficult to recognize when you have worn out your welcome.
I Used to Have a Dog Like This
He went off to be a police dog and bite people in prisons. It was not a behavior I liked. It actually stood the hair up on my neck.
He would wander over to the person, offer his rump and his head for a scratching and when they were mid scratch he would begin to growl from what seemed like the bottom of his toes. He only did it once before I didn’t allow him to socialize anymore, but once was enough.
Now at this moment, it was scary for them to remove their hand. Most people want to yank their hand away… but this can make it worse.
It is best to slowly retract your hand, if you ever find yourself in this predicament.
I for one stopped allowing this particular dog to solicit attention or affection from anyone, and stopped allowing people to pet him. He was becoming unpredictable.
This type of “civility” as it is called in the protection training world is often genetic and it started rearing its ugly head at about 6 months. Prior to this event he was social.
He was a very dominant dog, who in my opinion tried to mask his lack of confidence with some defensive mechanisms. And actually he never really “liked” it when I petted him… petting just didn’t do much for him. He was not an affectionate dog.
If You Have a Dog Like This
I would rather have a dog that growls or barks at a person from a distance, and makes his intentions known than the dog that allows a person to pet him and then decides against it. For more on why a growl can be a good thing, click here.
A dog with any kind of aggression issue needs very good obedience! Your obedience and control over him should be flawless!
Obedience gives you control and helps decompress the dog and gives him something to do!
For help on obedience check out our programs and our store by clicking here.
The Most Important Thing is Keeping Everyone Safe
It is crucial to keep people safe, and if you can’t read and control your dog then it is best not to allow people to pet him/her.
This would be the perfect dog to train in a basket muzzle (for more on why I love a muzzle click here).
Basket muzzles can allow you to socialize without as much worry of a bite.
Not that that means that these dogs should be petted but it is important to socialize any dog you just have to find a safe distance and have your dog under control.
Socializing and petting are two very different things!
I have found that teaching a dog like this that you are in control and you will not allow anyone to pet him helps to teach him to trust you and it keeps him from rewarding himself by being a bully.
Some dogs actually find it appealing to scare people away, so by not allowing him to engage people to that degree you keep him from rewarding himself in this way.
We Must Understand
Not all dogs like being petted!
Some are dominant
Some are nervous or fearful
And I think sometimes for some of them petting kind of overstimulates them and can excite them and they decide they don’t like it while they are being petted (for more on how over excitement can lead to a bite click here)
So follow these rules and keep up on your obedience if you have a dog like this.
And remember as a parent and as a person that loves dogs, not all dogs like to be petted.
I only pet dogs that I know and the ones I am very confident want to be petted (the ones with squishy face) for more on squishy face and more about reading dog body language click here.
Understanding dogs and giving them space is sometimes priceless!
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.