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Discussion Starter #1
My sister in law has a pretty high opinion of her dog reading skills, and she's quite bold when meeting new dogs. She's never raised a dog or owned one as an adult.:rolleyes:

I was talking to my parents about Niko and his reactivity (particularly in novel situations while he is with me as opposed to being with my husband) and Amita chimed into the conversation with advice for me...

The trick with a fearful dog is to just act totally calm and confident. I've made friends with lots of fearful dogs that way. I'm pretty sure it's why I've never been bitten even though I go up to strange dogs all the time. If you have trouble with that, just think about Shadow or another animal you really love, and it'll come through in your body language.

My husband's reply...

No one wants to deal with a dog bite situation. I know, as a dog owner, it is a situation I hope to never have to deal with.

You should never approach a dog you don't know (or is known to be fearful or reactive) without the owner being present and giving you the okay to do so. And even then you should it cautiously.

SIL's reply...

I've actually approached a few dogs who were tied up outside a store or something and were obviously anxious. All were glad for the company. When I can, I stay with them until the owners come out. But most of the dogs I meet are just happy little lovebugs. When we were down in Philly, I knelt down to pet a Lab mix and she jumped into my lap. :) Our friend Deborah thinks I'm just good at reading dogs.

Hubby's reply...

No offense, but I think you've been lucky.

SIL's reply...

I dunno...one time last year I approached this pit bull for a sniff and a pet, and it went fine. I kept walking, and a minute later I heard him bark and I turned to see him lunging at a woman who was cringing from him. I think it was because she was afraid of dogs and he knew it.

Maybe it's luck, but I really think it has more to do with demeanor. It's like what you guys said about getting Niko to look to you to see if he has reason to be afraid...if you go to pet a dog, he'll be afraid if he thinks you're afraid..

I think her opinions are extremely naive and simplistic. I think partly why she's never been bitten is that she lives in NYC, where most dogs you see on the street have been highly socialized and probably not aggressive. She did express how she was highly offended when she tried to pet someone's Rottweiler and they yelled at her for not asking first.

And she's not good at reading Niko. She was at our house and he decided she was scary and was trying to evade her. Every time she would stop paying attention to him, he would creep up to her for a cautious sniff, and right away she would reach out to him near his head and try to pet him. Eventually we got tired of trying to tell her how she should just ignore him (advice she ignored since she is a natural born dog whisperer ;) ), that we put Niko in his crate for the rest of her visit.

Sooooo.... Am I being overly critical? Do I need to lighten up on her? And any advice on what, if anything, I could say to explain why what she is doing is dangerous?
 

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She's naive. And lucky. Does she approach head on, face to face, or turned to the side, without making eye contact?
 

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She's lucky. And a reactive dog owner's nightmare.

I can see it now. "It's okay, dogs love me." As she pushes herself on a dog that is clearly trying to back away from her. One day she is going to push some poor dog over the edge, get bit and cause a lot of emotional anguish for the dog and it's owner.

(Side note: I had a guy do this to a friend's reactive dog in class several weeks ago. She doesn't know better so I kept saying to her that Sierra wasn't comfortable and she should move away. Sierra kept backing up and the guy kept approaching and I felt bad for Sierra being forced into an interaction that made her uncomfortable and set back her socialization.)
 

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Apparentely she doesn't understand that part of being able to 'read' a dog is knowing when to back off and Not approach them. She's been extremely lucky.
 

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She will probably sue the pants off the owner of the first dog that bites her because it could not possibly have been her fault.
 

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wow she's really lucky. I think I can read dog's pretty well, I sit for hours a dog park pretty much once or twice a week, watching the other dogs and how they interact with each other, but I never go up to a strange dog that I don't know and just start petting it because it "seems to like me" without asking first and I always ignore and give no eye contact what-so-ever until the owner says it's ok if I can pet their dog. If it seems the dog doesn't want to be approached then I don't push it and simply walk away before I go up to the owner. She's gonna meet a dominate dog one day and get bit. *shakes head*
 

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Without insulting her you can say "Two feet of space can save your face" it will at least get her thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She's naive. And lucky. Does she approach head on, face to face, or turned to the side, without making eye contact?
I don't know how, exactly she approaches dogs normally. I can only say how she approached Niko, which was head on, in his face with her hands over his head saying in a high pitched voice "Hi sweetie!!" (Niko HATES high pitched noises, she is like the perfect storm for him).

I do know that she has scared the crap out of my brother with how bold she is to unknown dogs. I'm not sure how to convince a person who thinks they are right, that they are being foolish. She has gotten away with it so many times, I'm sure she thinks no dog will ever bite her.:help:
 

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I don't know how, exactly she approaches dogs normally. I can only say how she approached Niko, which was head on, in his face with her hands over his head saying in a high pitched voice "Hi sweetie!!" (Niko HATES high pitched noises, she is like the perfect storm for him).

I do know that she has scared the crap out of my brother with how bold she is to unknown dogs. I'm not sure how to convince a person who thinks they are right, that they are being foolish. She has gotten away with it so many times, I'm sure she thinks no dog will ever bite her.:help:
:EEK: seriously?!?! omg that's the complete WRONG way to approach a reactive dog!! you either come sideways or backwards and give NO eye contact. or better yet don't approach at all!! and you defiantly don't talk in a high pitched voice it's actually better NOT to talk at all.
 

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:you either come sideways or backwards and give NO eye contact. or better yet don't approach at all!! and you defiantly don't talk in a high pitched voice it's actually better NOT to talk at all.
Smiling isn't always good either if your teeth show. Reactive and fearful dogs can interpret that as a sign of aggression.
 

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I too fear she is incredibly naive, and will likely run out of luck at some point. I just home some undeserving dog doesn't pay the ultimate price for her arrogance.
 

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I don't understand why some folks feel the need to pet everyone's dog. I don't. I don't want to bring home to my dogs what some strange dog might have. Friendly or not - I don't put my hands on it.
 

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I'm afraid of people like this. We don't to the pet stores anymore because of it. People even the employees approach her hand in her face making eye contact Loud voices. My dog barks when this happens which most ppl back off but some just get closer put their face in hers. I'm scared she will bite. Never has and has never offered or lunge but she is an animal and who knows what she is capable of. And a lawsuit we can't afford.
 

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Smiling isn't always good either if your teeth show. Reactive and fearful dogs can interpret that as a sign of aggression.
yup which is why I don't talk, don't open your mouth can't show your teeth or at least that's the idea, unless dogs have somehow developed x-ray vision lol. I also have the dog approach me not me approach the dog. I'll stand or squat down sideways or sit on the floor with my back to it for as long as it takes. I really don't like standing because they can take that as me dominating them especially with little dogs.
 
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