Have you ever had your dog accused of being aggressive just because of his breed or his size, even though the dog was behaving as he should? You’re not alone. In a recent AITA (am I the a**hole) post on Reddit, one woman asked the internet if she did anything wrong by “threatening’ a creepy neighbor with her Personal Protection Dog. The internet mostly sided with the woman, but the situation was hardly a foregone conclusion given how so many cast judgment on particular breeds.
Reddit user mydoghatesyou917 wrote about her encounter with a neighbor after moving into a new neighborhood. While out for a run with her Dutch Shepard one night, she was waved down by a man on a bike. He told her that he had dropped his keys and asked for her help finding them, then began chatting her up to get her to stay. Not scary, but annoying with a definite hint of creepy,” she wrote. But later, he changed his story, saying he had lost an AirPod.
Sensing an uncomfortable situation, the woman tried to get out of there. “I moved to leave and he stood in the path and started asking about Oaken,” she said in her post. “Oaken wasn’t doing anything aggressive at this point, no hair raised no growling or barking, he was doing exactly what he was trained to do and every time the guy would move to get closer to us he would just stand between me and him.” The man asked to pet Oaken, but the woman declined. As she tried to leave, the man grabbed Oaken’s leash. According to the woman, Oaken made a “low growl, showed his teeth. Didn’t snap, didn’t bite.”
The woman thought the encounter was strange, so she posted about it on the Neighborhood app. However, the man’s wife saw the post and began complaining about her “aggressive attack dog.” Even though she thought her dog’s behavior was “appropriate and controlled”, she wrote that she got “a letter from the HOA and apparently the next homeowner’s meeting has breed-specific bans on the agenda.”
It’s easy for some dogs to get a bad rap, especially when they’re acting as protection dogs and it seems that this is what was happening with Oaken. Fortunately, Reddit users aligned with the woman, saying Oaken had only done his job protecting the woman.
“What is the benefit to him for exaggerating to paint OP and the dog in the ‘worst possible’ light to the neighbors. Since she nor the dog didn’t do anything wrong it’s his best chance to deflect,” said user slipshod_alibi. “It’s not like the dog just attacked or became aggressive for no reason, rather the dog was alerted because his training taught him to respond this way,” said user Wearealreadyhere.
Others agreed it felt unusual the man tried to grab Oaken’s leash. “At best you’re trying to steal someone’s dog, at worst you’re trying to provoke the dog to attack you,” said user Runaway_Angel.
The police sided with the woman, too. In a follow up to her original post, the woman said, “The officers gave him a pretty extensive talking to on how inappropriate his behavior was, and how lucky he was he didn’t actually put his hands on me or get the leash.”
But even with most details of the story seemingly favoring the woman, it’s still telling about society’s view on certain dogs when one complaint can get breed-specific bans placed on a town agenda. However, it is discussions like these that can further spread awareness and acceptance, at least, that is my hope.