Although dogs are known for their good social skills, they still might show a different response to each person or animal they encounter. Pet parents are fully responsible for their actions during outdoor trips. Being aware of your dog’s social skills can help you determine if they are safe with other people. Some dogs can get defensive of strangers, especially kids. You can prevent accidents or attacks by simply distancing them or not allowing others to suddenly touch your dog. It’s for everyone’s safety and not because you dislike strangers. For this reason, pet parents engage their dogs in social activities to get rid of aggressive behavior and to learn manners.
Furthermore, it’s not only the pet parent’s responsibility to avoid attacks from happening. Before touching a stranger’s dog, you should ask for consent first. They can immediately inform you if their dog is alright with being touched by unfamiliar faces. It is common courtesy, as the gesture also shows respect for the canine’s personal space. However, a Redditor got into a problem with a guy and the two kids with him. In yupanotherone’s post, she shared how she ensured that her Jack Russell and those two kids safely interacted. It happened during one of their daily walks by the beach.
“During our walks, I like to take my dog on these small sandy spots and run him ragged. Today, a father was walking along the path with his two kids (between the ages of 5-10), the unusual part being the kids were walking on the other side of the safety fence,” OP wrote. “I was on a small sandy beach where the wall goes up about 10 ft. The father was already yelling at the kids because ‘they weren’t watching where they were putting their footing.’ The youngest falls from the wall onto the beach, barely missing a boulder. The older one jumps down.”
Due to a previous experience with strangers and their kids, yupanotherone never allowed her dog to interact with other kids again. Those kids tried to shove rocks inside the Jack Russell’s mouth, which was truly a distressing situation. OP is also well aware that Jack Russells are not always good with children, so she scooped him up and left the area. But before she could reach the top of the stairs, the father confronted her and asked her why she left. “I said anything can happen, and if it does, they can just take my dog. He said no, everything is fine, it’s your fear that’s gonna cause something to happen. He continued to yell after me as I was walking away,” OP shared.
She acted quickly for the sake of safety, but it was taken out of context. And although OP’s been engaging her dog in socializing with cats, kids, and other dogs, she still prefers to be sure. Also, yupanotherone has the right to decide for her dog — strangers should understand that. “NTA – You were being a responsible dog owner. You never know what little kids that age might do to a dog,” mizfit0416 commented. If the kid’s idea of play annoyed the dog, then something worse could’ve happened. OP just did precautionary measures so further issues wouldn’t arise.
“NTA. It isn’t your responsibility to explain to a stranger why you’re choosing to leave a public space, and it certainly isn’t your responsibility to entertain that stranger’s children,” 420_File-Not-Found wrote. Indeed, the father was wrong for acting entitled, as if OP owes him anything. They don’t know each other in the first place. He should’ve acknowledged OP’s thoughtfulness, because she also considered his children’s safety. Redditors called him out in the comment section as they wrote valid opinions. Points were made, and you can share your thoughts as well. If this has happened to you, telling your experience can validate OP’s pet parenting skills.