Dog Encounters of the First Kind

I am not a dog person. I don’t really have anything against dogs, I have had them in the past, but I would rather spend time with my cat than with a dog. Strange for a guy I suppose, but true nevertheless.

I am not afraid of dogs, but I really don’t like dogs to jump on me, especially large dogs. Many of my friends own dogs, and I sometimes run into them on the street or visit them at their houses.

If their dog is in the back yard I often acknowledge it (wow, Rex is sure getting big!) but I don’t go outside to play with it. I think that bothers a few of my friends when I choose not to play with their dog. Hey, it’s not like it’s their kid.

Sometimes, when meet the owner on the street or come over, the owner lets the dog in the house. The dog immediately runs over to me, (dogs seemed to be attracted to me, perhaps because I smell like a cat?) and I try to stand perfectly still hoping they will find someone else to play with.

Almost invariable the dog jumps on me because, I suppose, it wants to play. I gently push it away, and of course it thinks this is a game and bounces right back and onto me again. It’s a no win for me, if I ignore the dog it jumps on me and if I push it away it comes right back. I tried simply turning my body away 90 degrees, but the dog just follows me around. All I can do it just stand there until the dog gets bored and wanders off.

If it was my dog I would scold it for jumping on ANYONE and if it tried to jump on me I would humanely knee it in the chest so that it learned not to do that. I’m not suggesting that you ever hit, choke or kick a dog, just raise your knee so that if it jumps on you it feels it. I have been to dog obedience school before and I know this technique works. I have even used it successfully on my dogs in the past.

So the question is, is it okay to knee someone else’s dog or should I just stand there and take it like a man?

If it were my dog and I somehow failed to notice he was jumping up on you, I’d want you to knee him in the chest (gently, as you describe). You may even be doing the dog owner a favor if you do this, since the dog learns that it has to behave with everyone, not just when its owner is looking. In a similar vein, if I somehow fail to notice my child doing something obnoxious, I’m grateful if someone else admonishes her (also gently, no obscenity or hitting, please).

People are responsible for controlling their pets. If they’re failing to do so and the pet is bothering you, it’s completely reasonable for you to take matters into your own hands (again, within reason).

My favorite ones are the people who yell “he won’t hurt you” while there German Shepard is running toward you growling! That dog is going to get kicked.

Also something that happened to me…these guys were playing basketball with thier huge menacing looking dog running after the ball. I walked up to go past and all of a sudden this dog charged towards me. I screamed (I was bitten by a dog as a child and am terrified to this day with a couple of exceptions). Do you know what these jackasses response was? “Man, haven’t you ever seen a dog before”. While I was threatening to kill the dog (I wouldn’t have…would have called the police) the owner came up and apologized and put the dog on the leash. All his friends were like “why dude, she was wrong”.

I also saw a dog hit by a car. I cried for an hour.

Keep your dog on a leash or in your yard and it won’t get hurt.

I think that if you are uncomfortable with the dog jumping on you, then you should politely tell that to the owner.

Most dog owners I know tell their dog not to jump on me without me even asking. I don’t really care if dogs jump on me, but the owners are just being polite.

I instinctively tell my dog to get away, even if she is just sniffing their feet. I know some people are just uncomfortable around dogs.

I personally think that if the owner is seeing you trying to push the dog off, and not doing anything about it, they are being kind of inconsiderate.

I guess I should correct myself, I DO mind if it’s a big dog, and I would hope owners of big dogs would understand that a lot of people don’t like big dogs jumping on them, and try to correct the behavior.

I’ve read that dogs jump up like that because it’s their way of familiarising themselves with you (your face, instead of your clothes), so you might avoid the problem by getting down to their level and letting them say hi at canine altitude. Of course if you don’t want your face or fins licked, this is not desirable.

If the owner knows you don’t like dogs jumping on you, and can’t/don’t do anything about theirs, then I don’t see why you shouldn’t gently knee them (the dogs, but maybe the owner too?)away. If you try commanding the dog off you, make sure you assert authority in your voice, don’t try and sound nice and playful for the owner’s sake, as that’ll confuse the pooch (and maybe check with the owner if the dog even understands “down” or “off”).
Mostly, try bear in mind the dog is just being a dog, so don’t get angry with it - any behavioural problems are most likely a result of owner ignorance/laziness. Like my dog’s :frowning:

I don’t think you should knee someone else’s dog, talk to the owner about your problem, see what he suggests.

i wouldn’t suggest kneeing the dog. i’d say that has a 99.9% probability of honking off the owner.

what i WOULD do is yell DOWN!

a) it reinforces the (theoretical) training the dog ought to have about not jumping on people, at the best and most appropriate time for emphasizing it

b) lets the dog know (by your tone of voice) that you are NOT someone who wants to play; nay, rather are someone to be respected and obeyed

c) properly embarasses the owner into doing a better job of training their obnoxious pet.
of course, © is a theoretical outcome only, in most cases. :: sigh ::
but you are perfectly entitled to not having your personal space invaded by someone else’s animal, regardless of whether it’s by being jumped on or having a wet nose stuck in your crotch or butt.

Any dog owner who permits his animal to jump up on people has not sufficiently trained his pet. Zen never jumps up on people. When he was young and tried that, I merely held both of his paws and kept him up on two legs until it was uncomfortable for him. After a while, he purchased a clue and no longer does it at all.

Most of your friends’ dogs are attracted to you because you smell different, period. Smelling like a cat is just added bonus points. Acting afraid in any way is just going to stimulate their prey instinct. Standing still is good, but you’d discourage these unruly animals a lot more by using a loud voice to say, “NO!” Personally, I’d intercept the animal and hold its paws, like I described above. Even a friendly animal is put off by someone else controlling their forefeet and general movement.

A final note, it is extremely rude to allow your dog to jump all over people.

We are still working on this with our dog. As a puppy I diligently trained her not to jump up and she doesn’t…on us. Visitors are another matter and she is so, so excited I think she forgets herself. I try to keep her down but if someone were to knee her I would not mind, in fact I would encourage them to do so (or hold her paws up like Zenster suggested, if they are comforable doing that). After a few reprimands she remembers and then stops jumping up, and goes on to running madly around and around in frantic circles until finally coming to an abrupt stop in a final flying leap on the couch.

So no, I don’t think it is bad to knee a dog to keep them off you (if it is done in the way you described and not in a mean or hurtful way if the dog is not threatening to you). Go ahead - it’s your body.

I also use the hold-the-paws method which works wonders on my part billy goat, part Boston Terror. Yes, I am a terrible trainer. Yes, Dogzilla (IRL) jumps on people. The reason I haven’t been able to train her is that she doesn’t do this to me. I walk in and she’s bouncy and excited, but does not jump on me.

Apologies for the hijack, but I wonder what people would suggest for poor Dogzilla, who does not get enough visitors for consistent training.

And, for the record, I would not mind if you very gently kneed her in the chest to knock her back down. But I would prefer you ask me to control the dog, put her in her crate because you are uncomfortable, or ask me which method I would prefer you use. Holding her paws does work. Much of my training problem stems from not being able to get visitors and guests to take exactly the steps I am recommending. She’ll listen to me, and only to other people who give her commands in the same way I do. She might respond to “DOWN!” but I know she’ll respond if you hold her paws. So my final answer is, tell the owner you’re uncomfortable and ask them how they prefer you handle it.

And I agree, any dog owner who is oblivious to the fact that their guest(s) is/are uncomfortable probably has bigger problems than that, stemming from their obliviousness. (new word!) I bend over backward to accommodate guests, because that’s what a decent hostess does. That includes crating the offending dog until the guest is either more comfortable or leaves.

Any dog that jumps on me gets kneed. I don’t need to be scratched or slobbered on, or have my clothes ripped and dirtied by other people’s dogs. Yes, these things have all happened to me from other people’s dogs jumping on me. It is not a good thing to let your dog jump up on people. This goes for ALL sizes of dogs. People who refuse to train their smaller dogs are one of my top peeves.

Sure - knee the dog, and you don’t have to be gentle, you won’t kill the dog. Course if you would rather be pissed off instead of the owner; well just take it.

Also, I am a dog guy but owners are suppose to train and control dogs, if they don’t - you can.

But, I am not in favor of killing the dog (or even maiming)

Actually to most dog owners their dog is their kid. I have ni human children of my own but consider my dog a sort of surrogate child. Of course this does not make bad behavior any more acceptable and jumping on people is bad behavior (unless they are playing with the dog and coaxing it to jump on them).

Certainly if the dog is jumping on you then you have every right to try and stop it and there are several ways you can do that (the knee, grabbing the paws, grabbing the collar, etc.). As mentioned there is no need to be rough…just firmly pull the dog off of you. Of course if the dog is small the knee won’t work so well and some dogs don’t like having their paws handled (which could mean trouble for you) while other dogs thinking dancing with a person is great fun and may be encouraged. As mentioned before I think the best method is to intercept the dog. I go for the collar/neck and push/pull them away. I don’t grab the neck…it’s open palm on their neck/chest just under the head. This is actually a difficult position for a dog to bite you from as they have to tilt their head sideways and then angle the head down so you are actually fairly safe (dogs can make the move I described but it isn’t easy and gives you time to avoid the bite if it is coming [which it almost never is except in play]).

Beyond that I most definitely would tell the owner, politely, to control their dog.

You’ll be happy to know my 95 pound German Shepherd NEVER jumps up on people. This was one of the earliest things she learned as we realized that a dog of this size and breed jumping on people would be frightening. Some friends of ours have a lab that is VERY excitable and was very prone to jumping on people. They spent a lot of time training her to stop the jumping. Now it is funny to watch. When you come over the dog runs up and sort of bounces up and down on her front paws (the paws maybe getting an inch off the ground). You can see her exuberance and desire to jump running headlong into her training and you always wonder what will win this time (she probably stays down 95% of the time).

Oh yeah…most dogs know the sit command. If you pull a dog off of you but it persists you might try a command to sit. Most dogs will respond. Just make sure the command doesn’t cmoe out as [sub]“sit”[/sub] but rather “Sit!” or “SIT!!”.


For many dog owners, the dog IS their kid. I’m one of them, but I do have the manners to make my dog behave.

There’s your problem.

Dogs are very attuned to body language-- it’s their primary means of communication. To a dog, a strange man who stands stiffly and studiously avoids eye contact is suspect, and should be sniffed carefully. Then the dog will try to engage the person in play, and if rebuffed, will try to make up to the person in order to appease what appears to be an offended human, not realizing that their approach is actually making the situation worse.

The best thing to do would be to greet the dog with a relaxed posture, pet him briefly, allow him to smell you, and then order him to leave you alone.

First of all, how rude of your friends. I own a rather large dog myself, and I can’t imagine thinking he were welcome in a friends’ home just because I was, especially if it were obvious they were not a dog person.
Regarding the knee thing, dolphinboy, when a dog is jumping on you, bringing your knee up to block it is both effective in that it makes the dog back off, and, over time, teaches the dog that he won’t sucessfully get attention by jumping. And obviously, it doesn’t hurt the dog at all. This is what I was told when working at a dog obience clinic. You shouldn’t have to stand there and get jumped on if you’re not comfortable with it. If my dog were to jump (which thank God he doesn’t) and you reacted in that way, I would have no problem (granted, I woundn’t have put you in the position in the first place). Your friends are the ones who have overstepped the boundries already. So I say, hell yes, use it. But also, I’d talk to them. Say that while you know they love their dog, you’re just not comfortable around dogs–any dogs–and that you’d appricate it if they kept that in mind. Hopefully they’ll shape up and realize how uncomfortable they’re making you.

You can also GENTLY step on their rear feet and they will drop to all fours. They catch on rather quickly.

Welcome aboard(s), spingears. Excellent suggestion there.

Thanks for all the great replies. I will try the approach of trying to keep the dog off of me (physically) while mentioning it to the owner.

Sometimes owners are pretty oblivious to it since they like it when their dog jumps on them for some odd reason… can’t explain that one.