The Hidden Shame of Dog Bullying

March 1, 2012

in Guests

Guest WriterAmy from Kid-Free Living is the guest today. She is a funny, talented writer I love to visit regularly. While she is happily kid-free, today she ‘outed’ herself as being a mommy to a furry little guy. What we learn is this dog just might have her wrapped around his little puppy paw. It’s a hilarious story about how to protect your precious furry child from human and canine bullies. Enjoy!

Newspapers are bursting with stories about children being bullied; but rarely is the phenomenon of Dog Bullying broached in polite company. It’s possible this is because when I hang outside polite parties with my ear pressed against polite windows I’m mishearing polite things, but I think polite people (my friends) just don’t discuss it.

My dog is a frequent victim of bullying. While my husband and I take pains before walks to be sure his kerchief is tied at a perfectly jaunty angle, other dogs repeatedly approach him in an aggressive manner.   My mother-in-law’s mutt so intimidated our beautiful boy that he became one with the furniture, slinking around the room in the shadow of Lazy-Boys, terrified that mangy shelter-trash might notice him. We practically had to BEG him to come out from under the bed for his evening massage.

We whisked our baby away from that hostile atmosphere, only to have him double-teamed by a brother-sister terror squad during an otherwise peaceful beach walk. Jealous of his charm and poise, they menacingly circled our boy, forcing me to go Crouching Mommy Hidden Dragon on their furry asses until their cigar chomping owner finally put them back on their Hell Hound restraints.

Following the attack, my sweet puppy, Lord Underfoot, stared at me from behind one perfect curl flopping attractively over his left eye.

“Why?” said that beautiful, terrified gaze. “Why, Mommy, do they taunt me so?”

I’ve given that question a lot of thought and tried to learn from our mistakes. Attire is one area where I feel we’ve erred.  We know now never let our dog wear a retractable key chain on his collar. It makes it much too tempting for other dogs to pull on the keys and snap them back into a dog’s face. Just hide the house key for him in one of those plastic rocks.

If you have a boy dog, it is important in the dog world for him to appear manly. If your dog smokes, insist they pinch the cigarette between the thumb toe and index toe and flick with the thumb toe, in a casual James-Deany style. Do not let them smoke 100s.  If at a bar, never let your dog order ‘tinis. Particularly, apple ‘tinis.

Bandanas are cool. Cravats are not. White collars must not be worn after Labor Day. It’s an old rule, but still stands true, particularly in the South.

If your dog has friends over, always let him do the barbecuing. If you live in the Southeastern United States, never name your dog “Sherman.”

Never let your dogs say “I laughed, I cried it was better than Cats!” about anything.

If you have a female dog, during play, ensure she doesn’t accidentally pull out another dog’s weave. Next thing you know, the dog park will look like a herd of Tribbles.

Never let your dog admit they know what a Tribble is. Never let your dog argue that “Star Wars” was better than “The Empire Strikes Back.” Don’t let your dog hang M.C. Escher posters in his room after the age of three.

Some behaviors encourage trouble.  When threatened, be sure your dog doesn’t assume the “Crane” pose, as all dogs have seen The Karate Kid and will not be fooled. Never let your dog pretend he is tough by picking on very small dogs, like Chihuahuas. Any interaction with those ankle sharks will end badly.

Never let your dogs tell Joe Pesci he is “a funny guy.”

In some instances, having your smarter dog take quizzes for the dumber, tougher dogs will endear him to the larger dogs, who will then offer protection. In other cases, the fact that your dog knows what a quiz is, will actually make him a target. Use your discretion.

If your dog is wildly overweight, teach him how to be a defensive linesman for the local football team. Or, if he is a white dog, an offensive linesman. If your dog is overweight, but has no athletic ability, teach him how to do improv comedy. 

Teach your dog that other dogs can appreciate “barky,” but nobody likes “snarky,” except poodles, who can be quite sarcastic.

Finally, don’t let your dog be Molly Ringwald’s platonic boy friend. Socially, it is the kiss of death.

While I cannot promise success in every instance, these tips can keep your dog from ending up with his “I love mommy” tee pulled over his head. Though no matter how we try, we can’t seem to break the Svengali-like hold Molly Ringwald has on our pup.



Amy Vansant is a freelance writer, nerd, and shameless Labradoodle mommy. Tweet her or read the blog Kid-Free Living. You can also buy her book:


Brett Minor March 1, 2012 at 9:49 am

Those rules seem like common sense stuff once they are laid out like that. This should cut down on canine violence.
Brett Minor recently posted..I Have the Best Friends in the WorldMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress March 1, 2012 at 10:12 am

Ha! Great point Brett.

David March 1, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Very helpful stuff really. This gave me pause and reflection on why some of the local hounds treat my own dogs with a little conversational distance. They have tried hard to blend into the Texas landscape of course but coming in from Georgia and sporting the names, Shiloh and Savannah they just naturally stand out in the canine culture here. And yes, of course we tried the custom made lizard skin cowboy boots for Savannah but that sassy Jack Russell bitch kicked them right off and began to chew them. Pups… what are you gonna do?
David recently posted..A Boy Named TansyMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress March 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I am so sorry your pups are being ostracized in Texas. I think you would not have this issue if Savannah would have sported the cowboy boots thought. It would show the local dogs she was making an effort.

Brook L. Dame March 1, 2012 at 8:43 pm

A butch collar with studs and an “I Love New York” t-shirt works; it’s rather intimidating on a pooch! :-)
Brook L. Dame recently posted..Lock ‘Em UpMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress March 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Ha! What a great idea! I think Amy has a sissy dog though. He might not be able to pull off the look.

{Whatever you do, don’t tell Amy I called her dog a sissy. Our secret}

Amy March 2, 2012 at 8:05 am

HEY!! My dog is not a sis—
Yeah, yeah… he is a HUGE sissy. Never mind. He got an acorn in his paw yesterday and just stood there with his paw up looking at me until I came over – and saw it had actually already fallen out.
Amy recently posted..The Flu DiariesMy Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress March 3, 2012 at 8:03 am

I rest my case.

Jen March 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

Love it! Amy is hilarious as always. For those of us without kids, it’s all about the canines. I constantly try not to be a helicopter mom.
Jen recently posted..It’s A Cat’s LifeMy Profile

iampisspot March 2, 2012 at 9:23 am

I once dressed my cat in a gay-pride, rainbow t-shirt.

She has never lived it down, the local neighbourhood cats now shun her.

Not only does she have the ‘two Mommies’ thing to contend with, she is also ignored and intimidated on a regular basis for a clothing faux-pas that was YEARS AGO.
iampisspot recently posted..My weekend, in photos.My Profile

Naked Girl in a Dress March 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Oh, you and Amy are ruining your pets’ chances of having a normal life. Crazy pet owners. :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: