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The dog is not the problem...You are the problem!

I have a 200 pound St. Bernard named Bear that my husband had before we were married. He is a big beautiful teddy bear and a very gentle. Unfortunately for some people, they think that he is dangerous because he is so big.

I was at the park yesterday with my cousin and her two and four year old girls and my eight month old. We also had Bear, my Border collie Tess, and my cousin's Standard poodle, Garcia, all on leashes, of course. The kids were playing and I was sitting on the bench, talking to my cousin, and Bear was sitting calmly beside me, tied to the bench. It was before school let out so it was only little kids. A little boy, probably about three years old, who was already playing with the other two dogs, came up to me and asked if he could pet the "Biiiiiiig doggy". I told him that he could but, before he could pet him, his mother came and snatched him away, screaming "Don't touch that dog!" I asked the mother what was the matter. "I don't want him touching that dog. St. Bernards are dangerous animals! I can't believe you have him here at the park with all of these kids!" I calmly explained to her that Bear was not dangerous. He was a loving family dog and he would never hurt anyone. "You don't know that. You can't guarantee that. Dogs like that are dangerous."

She told her kids to stay away from us, which kind of left our kids out. She went around to the other parents and told them all that our big dog was dangerous so the other parents told their kids not to go near him. There was a walking path around the play ground so we got up to walk around with the kids and the dogs. When we got back, the woman came back to us and said "You should just leave. All of the kids are afraid of your dog."

"Because you've told them all he was dangerous when he is not. They were all playing with him earlier."

"You should just leave or I will call animal control."

"Go ahead. There is no law against leashed dogs being at this park and he is not hurting anyone. We have as much right to be here as you do. The dog is not the problem. You are the problem. If you don't want your kids to be around my dog, you are welcomed to leave." A couple of moms took our side but most of them just told their kids to stay away from Bear. This dog is so gentle that the two year old was walking him and he wouldn't even pull on her. He wasn't running loose, he wasn't tugging at the leash, all he was doing was sitting there and wagging his tail when the kids petted him. He is a very loving dog and, though he is protective, he is not aggressive and certainly not aggressive with children. We stayed at the park until after she left because there was no way we were leaving before she did but that woman had the parents keep their kids from us and, ultimately from our kids too because we didn't let them just run all over the park.

What would you have done if this happened to you? I try not to let these things piss me off so bad but I can't help it. Of all the dogs to think was dangerous, why Bear? I understand he's big but he is the most docile, friendly, loving dog on the planet. My eight month old climbs all over him and he wraps his paws around her and cradles her.

Answer Question

Asked by Cowgirl_Coyote at 12:32 AM on May. 2, 2013 in Pets

Level 13 (1,027 Credits)
Answers (22)
  • i dont think i could have held my tongue. At all.

    Answer by dimples2k13 at 12:41 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • I might have told her that it isn't healthy for her to project her fears on other people and that she should speak with her therapist about that at her next session.

    Answer by QuinnMae at 12:43 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • People are idiots. I would have done exactly the same thing you did, seriously. I've gotten that reaction now and then with my black Lab service dog, too. She's not barking or jumping or doing anything except standing at my left side like she's supposed to, and guide dogs are among the most highly trained animals in regular contact with the public, but people will occasionally still freak out and say she's dangerous and shouldn't be around their kids. Hopefully you won't meet that nut job at the park again.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:45 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • Some people look at big dogs and immediately see something dangerous that could snap at any minute. I can't talk too negatively about these people because I feel that way about small dogs. Don't trust them. I'm sure I've made people mad when I won't let DD pet a Chihuahua, but I have never pushed my feelings onto others trying to change their views.

    With that said, I believe you handled yourself very well. I'm sure I would not have been so nice about it if it involved my Huskies (and they are nowhere near what one would consider "calm").

    Answer by AllAboutKeeley at 12:48 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • i am not an animal person, i dislike the pet we have...but St Bernards are super nice dogs! why else would they have been used as rescue dogs? i understand ppl being fearful of aggressive breeds, but even then its wrong to assume a peaceful dog is going to snap at any moment just cause he's big.

    i would NOT have been able to keep my mouth shut and would have told her off...something about her being the aggressive one, not the dog. she was being a bitch and hopefully you dont have to deal with her stupid butt again. gees...ppl who feel like the whole world should cater to them tick me off!

    Answer by okmanders at 12:54 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • Bear is very calm and well behaved. He doesn't pull and he doesn't jump up and barely even barks. The worst he does is jump on the couch or the bed to sit with me and, for the most part, that doesn't bother me. He's a big baby. If she didn't want her kid to pet him then fine. That's up to her but to get everyone else to turn against us like so that she could bully us into leaving? WTF is wrong with her?

    Comment by Cowgirl_Coyote (original poster) at 12:54 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • We have a St Bernard next door to us, and she IS aggressive, but I blame the owners. They're never home, she's crated for hours, and then they leave her out to bark and bark and bark. She is destroying THEIR fence, but in doing so pushing all the pieces into OUR yard!
    When my dog is outside she head butts the fence and tries to nose thru. My dog (a pit/boxer mix) just pees herself and comes inside.
    It all comes down to who the owners are, how the dogs are raised, and so forth.

    That lady should have just left if she didn't like it. I grew up most of my life terrified of dogs, and that is because my mom was scared and instilled those fears in me. If I was around a strange dog in a public place I wouldn't accost the owner, I'd just get the hell out of there.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 1:11 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • Large dogs do not do well crated or kept in small pens. We have no fence and we have farmland and livestock so all six of our dogs have the run of the place. They get plenty of exercise so even the border collies and the Australian shepherd are pretty calm. We have working dogs (except for the useless basset hound) so they get plenty of activity.

    Comment by Cowgirl_Coyote (original poster) at 1:47 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • I would have called the police for harassment, I would like to deck her out but rather not go to jail. I have NEVER heard about St Bernard being dangerous. That woman is on something.

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 9:09 AM on May. 2, 2013

  • When I was 3, my uncle's rottie ran me down. So until just a few years ago, I had a seriously intense fear of dogs - mostly big ones, but even small ones would give me pause. People could tell me until they were blue in the face that their big dog was nice and wouldn't hurt me, but when you have an intense fear of dogs, that doesn't reassure you.

    The difference between me and this woman, though, is that I never felt the need to run around and try to convince everyone else that a dog would hurt them. I just kept my own distance, and if asked, would simply explain that I was afraid of dogs and would prefer to keep my distance. I would keep my kids away, but I keep them away from all strange animals that they don't know. What that woman did was just ridiculous. She could simply have said that she didn't feel comfortable with her or her child being near the dog.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 9:24 AM on May. 2, 2013

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