The Litmus Test For Dogs

Cover of "Scary Dog (Starters)"

Cover of Scary Dog (Starters)

I am afraid of dogs.  Not just big ugly ones either, although they’ve been freaking me out in nightmares since childhood.  Perhaps I was Little Red Riding Hood in a former life.  To me, big black canine type creatures are terrifying.

I am also afraid of little dogs.  I was riding a bike once and got chased by a yappy little terrier who jumped up and nipped at my ankles.  I suppose if I had stopped I could have kicked him halfway across somebody’s yard, but that thought didn’t occur to me until much later (once my heart beat had returned to normal) and I probably could never have done such a thing anyway.  I just rode faster to get away from him.  Which made him like his little game even more and try even harder to bite my foot off.  It seriously scared me.

Where this fear of dogs comes from is a mystery.  I have never been viciously attacked or bitten by a dog.  We grew up with dogs for pets, and with friendly familiar dogs I’m fine.  It’s the strange and unfamiliar ones that make me uneasy to the point of panic.  Somebody told me once to calm down because dogs can sense fear.  So of course ever since then I’ve been twice as apprehensive thinking I’ll be attacked simply for being such a wimp.

I’m not a dog lover, but I’m not a dog hater, either – more of a dog tolerater. There are dogs I like okay, some I like less, and many I don’t care for at all.  Sorry to all my family and friends who love their dogs so much.  I like your kids and your cats – I hope that makes up for it.

So if you want me to like (tolerate and not run away screaming from) your dog, here’s my deal breaker.  He can’t look scary.


growl. (Photo credit: kunkelstein)

Plus it’s also good if he doesn’t growl at me, drool on me, smell bad, jump up and knock me over, bite me or lick my face. Or crap on my floor.

This blog post was inspired by Rarasaurs’s Prompts For the Promptless, Ep 8:  The Litmus Test is a test in which a single factor (as an attitude, event, or fact) is decisive.  In other words, it’s a single question test, not necessarily related to the information that is gleaned from the test.

17 thoughts on “The Litmus Test For Dogs

  1. I really like this post. As one who works with an animal sanctuary, what you request is simply common courtesy. I take in older animals, dogs and cats, and it has been my experience that the animals who live with me prefer not being forced to acknowledge every human being, meaning a relationship should always be mutual. I try to make that happen for them as well as for the humans. Again, a really great post.



    • I truly admire you and all the people who are so incredibly tuned in to caring for animals of all kinds. I guess it would be for the same reason I admire nurses and other care givers, knowing I’m not a good one myself. I think I’m doing well if I’m not inflicting harm! There are all kinds of relationships – we don’t all have to be madly in love with eachother, right? lol Thanks for all your wonderful comments Karen.


  2. Aw, my dog doesn’t look scary, doesn’t bite, doesn’t smell bad, doesn’t even shed, doesn’t growl, doesn’t drool, but she will jump up against you (though very gently, so as not to knock you over; she just wants to hug) and given a chance she will lick your face. I would still wager that you would learn to love her if you met her, though.


  3. Even though you’re afraid of dogs, kudos to you for even trying. It’s okay. Not everyone loves dogs. I love my dog enough to make up for your not wanting to be around her. 🙂


  4. I’m with you on that one – used to be terrified of dogs as a child, have grown into a tolerator now, especially if they are well-behaved and at a distance. Funnily enough, I’m beginning to think it may be genetic, as my children are scared of dogs as well, even really small ones.


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  7. I have scars on my face from a dog. He didn’t mean to hurt me, but that makes it all the more scary– I mean, if a dog not bent on attacking could rip my face, I can’t imagine what a nasty dog could do. But overtime, that fear has mellowed into a dog tolerance, as well.

    And as far as no poop on the floor goes, well, that’s my rule for everyone! 😀


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