Now that I think about it...

...I very nearly got mauled by an Alaskan Malamute (they look like huskys, are often mistaken as huskys). This dog was so sweet but there was 4 of us around her at first brushing her. Usually there aren't this many around one dog because I was waiting for my 'assigned' dog to turn up and go work with that dog and another student. This dog was watching everything we did and would turn to look. Someone was brushing it's back end while I was up front and it didn't like being brushed there, as you'd imagine, so it turned to look at what was going on saw my hand and 'mouthed' me. It did not bite, it mouthed, as in it just put its mouth around my hand, it wasn't aggresive and didn't put any pressure on my hand (dogs know how much pressure they are applying) but the more I think about it the more I think PHEW.

But what bugs me now more is the way the other students are with the dogs. Instead of just brushing them etc they make baby voices and a fuss and stuff and of course I want to do this too all the time but part of me thinks maybe this was the reason why it mouthed me. It's stressful for most dogs but with 4 people in its personal space, stroking and brushing and making this stimulating (don't laugh!) noise which could maybe be rewarding it for its nervousness, so maybe it mouthed me for reassurance, or as a nervous warning!? Really I should ask the dog trainer I know about this, I'm not there to analyze or train the dogs at college I'm there to groom them but I am a safety freak now a bit when it comes to dogs. I like that I understand dogs and wish others dealing with them did too or at least showed some professionalism, I know we're students but this is when we are supposed to be learning stuff by habit. A fuss when the dog comes in and when the dog leaves and a 'good boy' when it does something for you is enough I think, or the dog won't calm down! Really, I shouldn't have been stroking it either, but I get caught up in the atomosphere though I am always aware that I shouldn't really be making a fuss and don't as much or as strongly as the others.

It sounds like a bit of an over reation but its not just about my safety, its about theirs too and the dogs and if they don't understand a dogs reactions and get bitten one day who's fault will it be? they might blame the dog!

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8 replies since 25th April 2009 • Last reply 25th April 2009

It was being a good dog. It was warning you that it didn't like what you were doing. Good dogs usually do that first, then growl, then nip (bite but with out breaking anything.) And then will bite you.

But your right there was probably too many people around and to much over stimulation.

Dogs are just like kids aren't they? I never noticed until I worked as a kennel person at a vet. Just exactly like kids. hehe.

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my friend has a Malamute, they are very gentel, and hardly bite, I think he was a bit annoyed. but overall he was doing good. He was just showing you that he didn't like it much

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I think the dog was giving a warning. Star (my dog) will go crazy if you talk to her like a baby...she will jump and everything...a good girl once and awhile works...but if you sit there and baby her...she will feed off the attention...and then get too excited. Same when there are too many people...she doesn't know who to give all the attention to...or who to focus on.

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well with all yhose people around, they get confused

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oh I know why she mouthed me and know it was a warning. Yep it usually goes eyes, ears, tail - then if you don't get what its saying it will growl and if you still don't know its getting annoyed thats when you get bitten apart from with terriers where it happens so fast you just think it bit you randomly. It was a young dog so perhaps it was looking for reassurance and wanted to see if it could get something to chew. I can never really blame a dog for its reactions when some of it is pure natural instinct it's the other people I'm annoyed about because if it had been an aggresive dog I'd be typing one handed right now.

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I guess when you're working with other people's pets it can be difficult because you never know how they behave and what sets them off because you're not around them on a daily basis so you can't get to know them. And there are some people who think "One animal likes this so every animal must automatically like the same thing", but it doesn't work like that. Even something that the owner does that the animal likes can't necessarily be done by another person they don't know, because they're a stranger and anyone would react weirdly if a stranger just came up to you and started babying you or whatever haha.

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Yeh and even the loveliest dog in the world could turn nasty in a grooming situation. They probably treat these dogs the way they treat their own which just isnt appropriate when you're actually grooming it cuz again, it could just snap. I feel like I'm being a complete snob about this because of working with a trainer but its annoooying me lol!

Thanks for the responses people Happy

On the brighter side the lab I was working on for most of the time was lovely and enjoyed being groomed, when I lifted up his paw to hold it up while I dried it and under his legs he just gave it to me Happy

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aww that is sweet

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