While enjoying a walk out with the family on Thanksgiving Day we were charged by an unfamiliar dog. I was holding the leash of my senior German shepherd and got between he and the charging dog to help slow the dog down. My boy Duke is very good but vulnerable due to age. I did not know this dog, nor did I want him to rush my senior boy. I managed to slow him down and they engaged in polite sniffing. There was a group of people playing flag football and the parents yelled over “Sorry” and then sent the kids to collect the dog. As the children rushed to the sniffing dogs…. I calmly told them to just give it a minute and they were both being polite dogs. I then released my boy and we broke up the greeting allowing the kids to now get their dog. We were VERY lucky!
My concern on this day was what if my dog was not friendly? What if there dog was not appropriate? Also the fact that the parents sent their kids to intervene! I told them to wait as I did not want to rush the sniffing process for fear it could go very wrong and my dog become the victim of this dog being yanked away.
Parents, dog-to-dog interaction with 2 unfamiliar dogs is NOT a situation you want to put your child in the role of handling! This can go very wrong quickly. When two dogs are greeting there is a need for space, patience and careful intervention when needed. The critical point of stillness when first sniffing is not the time for a dog to be pulled back. This is actually often how dogs then lunge into a fight. I was glad to have been there and thankful that my boy Duke is so easy going. It was great that he and my Siberian husky were with me that day vs. a foster or another dog that may not have handled it this well!
Parents Please do not send your children into this potentially very dangerous situation. A child grabbing the collar of a dog who engaged in sniffing a new dog can quickly lead to a very intense fight. This is unsafe and scary for kids and not fair to put them in this position. Please always be the one who handles dog-to-dog interactions. Our encounter went well and we were fortunate and THANKFUL!