PSA from Manchester Animal Shelter (FB):
Is this a cute picture? Do you see “cute” pictures of your friends’ kids on FB? No it isn’t cute, it’s an accident waiting to happen. That is not the look of love in that dog’s eyes, it’s the look of stress. Everything about this dog’s body language says he wants some space. The wide eyes (known as whale eye), the ears back and the tense body are all indicators that the dog doesn’t like what’s being done to him.
A relaxed dog would have soft eyes, ears in a neutral position and body would be loose. Placing your dog and your child in situations like these are not only dangerous but setting your dog up for failure - it’s not just “aggressive” dogs that bite. Even non-aggressive dogs can get scared or lose patience.
Let’s be clear this can be ANY breed dog.
As ambassadors of bully breeds it is our responsibility to protect our dogs (and the children of course) from situations that could affect their livelihood. One bite regardless if accidental only adds to the stigma we all fight so hard against. Teaching children how to respect a dog’s space is the first step in teaching bite prevention. Remember all dogs have their limits, why test it?
As someone very good at reading canine body language, it amazes me how many times I’ve had to warn adult friends and family that their dog is really stressed out. You’d think if you had a pet you’d learn that animal’s body language.
Once pretty much the exact situation listed above happened, and I warned the family that their dog was stressed and should be left alone for a while. They laughed it off and assured me that he was a, “Good people dog” and didn’t do anything. Literally a minute later the dog snapped at someone. I’m quite happy I was there, because I’m not sure what they would have done to their dog if I didn’t convince them he had been warning them with body language and didn’t “just snap” or something.