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F3AR and H8 [***]

August 7, 2009 Leave a comment
What happens when an animal is confused and cornered? I found out many years ago when my family and I house-sat for a friend of ours. Besides watching the house, we also watched the friend’s dog, a Cocker Spaniel. He was a friendly dog, but he wasn’t really sure what to make of us. Instead of seeing his owner who he was familiar with, he saw only us strangers for several days. He never fully adjusted to us being in his space. He did eventually accept that we were responsible for feeding him and letting him in and out of the house, but I wouldn’t say that he was ever comfortable with us. 

Being as young as I was and having grown up with several dogs of my own, it seemed natural to me to attempt to pet the dog, which he hesitantly let me do. My own dogs were always comfortable with me and so I could get away with things like wrestling, pulling tails, barking at them, and getting in their face. Well, this dog naturally was not that comfortable with me, and so when I put my face right up to his and made silly baby noises like “goo goo” and made silly faces, he didn’t know how to react. He tried to back away but since there was something behind him he couldn’t. I didn’t notice it in the moment, but the dog quickly began to panic. As much as a Cocker Spaniel can, this dog had an expression of fear on his face and in his physical demeanor. He started to freak out, and yet I persisted with my nonsense. So, the dog did what virtually any creature would do in a similar situation: He struck my face with his fangs and then ran away! He got me pretty good. There was blood but no long term damage.

Years of experience, starting with this incident, have taught me that neither dogs nor humans like to have unfamiliar people up in their face or in their business. Read more…

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