It is never a good idea to tease a dog. Teasing is different than play…
It is good and healthy to play with your dog every day. Fetch, tug, hide and seek, swimming, new toys are all good for your dog. However, teasing is something different. Teasing is purposely engaging in activities that frustrate, provoke or threaten a dog. Eventually, time runs out on that clock, and something bad happens.
I encountered more than one of these situations this week. Both resulted in aggression.
The first was a teenaged girl that played “monster” with the family dog. She was creep up on him, posture like Dracula coming in to pounce, poking at the dog’s face with her hands, and getting the dog to growl. Now the dog can’t be safely examined by the veterinarian. In the second instance, a pre-teen boy also would hover over the family puppy while it was chewing on a rawhide, which provoked a bite to the face.
In the first instance, the mom had asked the teenager not to do it. But the request was ignored and the teenager ignored the mom. I told the mom to quit making excuses for her, and lay down the law, because someone was going to get seriously hurt. The dog would visibly stiffen if you touched its ear or neck. In the second instance, they just didn’t realize that what the child was doing was improper, and I explained that dogs don’t like to be laid on top of by a child while chewing a toy. We discussed rules for the child in these circumstances.
As a parent, you have to set some rules and there need to be consequences for disobedience. We all know that parents can’t just be friends with their kids, they have to set boundaries. When it comes to dogs and kids, the urgency is even greater. You have to wonder how many innocent dogs have been put to death because they were trained by someone to be dangerously aggressive through teasing.
The lesson? The teasing has to stop. Now. Period.