Whenever I’ve said something about actions like this in the past to other people, I’ve been met with either indignant amazement (“you don’t like DOGS?”), either through blind denial (“Fido is very friendly” or “Junior is so protective of me”).
For the record, I’m not afraid of dogs – just potentially dangerous unruly behavior. My standards are such: when a living being makes its way into my undercarriage, it is by invitation only; otherwise, it is an assault. If a raging dog did that to me on the street, I wouldn’t hesitate to use pepper spray or an air horn, but obviously it wouldn’t fly from someone.
— Leave my personal space
Exit from my personal space: When I first read it, it immediately reminded me of one of the speeches Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort gave in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, when he said “I was a rich man and I I was a poor man”. because my relationship with dogs had a similar trajectory.
For the first 32 years of my life, I was a person who oscillated between “pure annoyance” and “abject terror” when I encountered dogs. Big dogs. Little dogs. All dogs. But when I started dating (and eventually married) a dog owner, I learned to love his dog, too, and eventually even became a “dog-walking wild” guy. Which is not a good person, I know. I knew Mickey (the dog) was harmless, but not everyone knew that, and not everyone was as comfortable with him and other dogs as I was. Also, “harmless” in this case is a misnomer. Even though I hadn’t seen him physically harm a person, or even bark at a person, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t possible. And, physical harm is not the only possible way to hurt someone. The anxiety that someone may feel upon seeing a raging dog on their way is also a form of evil. I was wrong to do that.
Your request not to be assaulted by a living being is perfectly reasonable and valid. I have a 4 year old son, and if he had a habit of rushing guests like a linebacker sacking a quarterback, I probably wouldn’t be asked to leash him, but I would be expected to i do it Something to prevent him from committing crimes against my friends. If I refused, people would stop coming and wonder if I was training him for some kind of toddler fight club.
Unfortunately, some dog owners aren’t exactly the most rational and objective people when it comes to their pets, especially when it comes to the level of comfort others may have around them. It doesn’t surprise me to read that you’ve encountered resistance simply by asking not to be besieged by a pack of Shih Tzus as they walked through the door.
The next time you plan to visit one of your dog-owning friends, I think you should just tell them, in advance, how uncomfortable their dog’s behavior makes you. I wouldn’t worry about possibly insulting them, because how they decide to receive this is out of your control. As long as your request is clear, calm and concise, you have done your part.
I hope your friends will make adjustments to help you feel more comfortable. And if they don’t want to welcome you, maybe it’s a friend you don’t visit anymore. They will have chosen their dog’s freedom to roam and will rush to your safety. If this happens, perhaps you should also make a choice.