"Perfecting the Pack Between Mankind & Dog"​

My first lesson in actual canine behavior was when I was 5 years of age. A neighbor had a wolf/German Shepherd Dog mix that was being teased and psychologically abused by some kids, who had been throwing rocks at him. I felt bad for the dog, so I took my best friend with me to see him, not having a clue what was about to occur.

When I approached the dog run, on the side of the home, the dog allowed me to pet him through the chain link fence and even licked my hand (my friend didn't pet him, she was most comfortable in the observer position). His appearance of "accepting" me got the best of my curiosity. Yep, I opened the
gate, closed it behind me and stepped inside with the dog. He was a big boy to begin with, so at only age 5... he was huge!

After being in his dog run for only moments, I started to feel intimated by his size and the fact he was slowly taking a few steps closer to me, so I began stepping backwards away from him. I accidentally tripped over his food bowl, he jumped and knocked me down instantly and almost ripped my left ear off. I feared right then and there that if I didn't act quickly, I might not make it out alive. So I kicked him in the stomach with both legs as hard as I could and said nothing. My friend was in full panic mode as she had started screaming but for some reason or another I didn't really hear her; I was focused on survival and HIM.

At this point he let me up off the ground and allowed me to walk right out of his territory, even after being sucker kicked in the gut by me. I asked my friend, who was crying almost uncontrollably, if my ear was bleeding. By her facial expression and the noises coming out of her mouth, I took that as a yes. The owner had rushed outside, locked the dog in the garage and called my parents.

My parents were furious at the owner for not having the dog in a more "secure environment". My older brother entertained me with a stuffed monkey while the doctor sutured my ear back together. Even at 5 years old, I knew what had happened was my fault and not the dog's. Nothing happened to him and he got to spend more time indoors with his "pack" and walks as a result, which also put a stop to the cruel abuse by the mean and abusive kids in the neighborhood.

Many people do not realize dogs can read our emotions and body language pretty much better than any human. This is why two dog's "aggressive behavior" towards each other almost always escalates when one of (or both) owners express fear, panic, anger, loss of temper, etc. Remaining calm and in control is vital when interacting with animals. This definitely applies to dogs who have
either endured their own trauma or lack the understanding of boundaries.