Big dogs get a bad rep

I AM a dog lover. Official member since 1988.

Before I had kids, I was the kind of person who showed off pictures and videos of my dogs (“Look! This is him sleep talking!”) and proudly referred to them as my fur kids.

I still love my pooches – really, I do – but since having actual babies, they’ve slipped down my priority list just a little.


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As has my tolerance for other people’s pets. It has become, shall we say, shaky.

Case in point: my friend’s dog, Odin. To say he is ‘a bit of a handful’ is the understatement of the year.

He’s friendly and loveable, and he has the most unbelievably blue eyes you’ve ever seen on an animal or human.

But he also has absolutely no social skills. Zilch.

There’s no question in this puppy’s mind: people simply must be jumped on and licked to death.

Which would be fine, if he was a cavoodle or small terrier. But he’s a 30-kilo husky-shepherd mix, so his enthusiasm carries a different weight – and I mean that quite literally!

I handle it by wearing jeans and other hard-wearing clothes when I visit.

But Odin’s lack of social skills have become troubling for my friend, when people mistake his desperate excitement for aggression.

She’s received her fair share of stink-eye during evening walks. She’s even been told she should train him properly – a comment that was made immediately after she said, “Please don’t pat him because he’s still in training.”

Odin’s spirited enthusiasm gives him a bad rep, and it’s one he probably wouldn’t get if he were half his size.

Small dogs are generally accepted as having bad attitudes – usually attributed to the fact that they’re a little spoilt – and no one really minds.

But bigger dogs don’t get cut much slack.

I guess it’s because a small dog pawing at your knees while he jumps on you is not going to hurt very much, whereas as a 30-kilo pooch pawing at your chest can leave a bruise!

“He’s just being friendly,” my friend reminds me, when Odin collides with me when I walk through her front door.

I’m only half-cross when I swat him away. Yes, sometimes his greetings leave a mark, but seriously, look at these baby blues.

Who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with a pooch as cute as this?!

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