Thursday, March 1, 2012

What every child [and that man in emergency] should know about doggies.

In my intermittent quest to make this blog useful, I've decided to write this post today.

I came across this blog only recently. The lovely lady who owns the blog doesn't seem to comment much at all. But I fear I'm so enamoured of her work, I must remain her fan. By the way, she has no idea I'm writing this and I hope she has a sense of humour, as indicated by her drawings.

Her name is Lili and she has some of the best ever illustrations of dog behaviour I've seen. They're whimsical and rather cool. Perhaps more importantly, I think they're pretty accurate. [Full disclosure, as my American friends like to say : I'm speaking as a layperson. I've had dogs since I was 5, almost *gulp* 50 years, but have no formal education or knowledge of them.]

Below is some of Lili's work. This one is based on her own dog Boogie, who has one blue eye.
I'm sorry this is so tiny, but I had some issues finding the right size to upload. Click on the picture to enlarge.  Alternatively, for a 100% eyestrain-free size, CLICK HERE.

If you're a dogowner, you'll recognise the postures straight off and are probably having a giggle and awww moment.

If you're NOT a dog person, well then, the illustrations are even more for you. 

I live in a tiny suburb with one of the highest dog numbers in the city. Recognising doggie signals isn't just helpful, it's essential as we jostle for space on pavements and in parks.  

I can't count the number of times toddlers have toddled up to Rufus B Thumper, plump little fingers stretched out like tasty meat treats. I could understand why they did it. He was, after all, A Very Gorgeous Fluffy Bear Of A Dog.

But for the life of me, I could never understand why the adults let them do it. And why they got cross when I intervened.

Luckily for the toddlers [and me, The DogOwner Who Must Take Responsibility For The Stupidity Of Others and Rufus, The Dog Who Would Have Copped A Needle If Anything Bad Had Happened] - Mr Thumper was a gentle giant.

I've seen the same thing happen countless times with littledogs. For some strange reason, many people consider littledogs to be harmless though statistics often indicate otherwise.

Once, at a bus stop, I saw a man put his little chi's face right up into the face of a baby so he could say hi to the little doggie. He was just passing by and didn't even know the child. I don't know who was more startled. The dog, the baby or the baby's father. I think my heart just leapt out of my chest at that moment. Fortunately, the baby was not interested, the dog held its peace, and the man moved on.

Not so lucky was the man who bent down to pat an unknown doggie tied outside a pub one night and got his nose almost bitten off. How do I know this? I happened to be at the emergency hospital when he was brought in, bleeding like a stuck pig. I heard him say words to this effect, "But he was a friendly dog! He was wagging his tail!"

That man would no doubt have found these illustrations very useful.

In closing, and while I'm in my naggy fire and brimstone mood brought on by the passing of a gormless summer, why not check out Ms Tonk's helpful list of things we could all do as dogowners to make life better in the doggie community?

I think I might be breaking rule #8 here with this post. As for #6. Hmmm. I suspect Georgia might have something to say about that.

"Ahem. Excuse me Cushion but, are those MY brand new beef liver treats from South Australia you're handing out?"

P.S. If you liked the drawings, please go check out Boogie's blog where there are many more! Don't forget to say "Hi!" [politely as illustrated] to Lili.

As far as I know, she doesn't bite.


More useful reading.

+  A short paper on dogs in society, from the Australian Companion Animal Council

"Dog bites are often a human problem, associated with inappropriate selection of dogs, ignorance of dog care and management and inappropriate behaviour around dogs."

+  This might be a Wiki article, but I found it interesting.

"Like humans, dogs that feel insecure may ultimately turn and defend themselves against perceived threat. It is common for people to not recognize signs of fear or insecurity, and to approach, triggering a defensive reaction. "

+  In case you're wondering what other useful posts I've written, here they are - 1, 2, 3. After only 2 years of blogging too! You can see I'm trying my very best.


houndstooth said...

I love those illustrations! I grew up on a farm where common sense and animal sense were drilled into my sister and me. I agree, dog bites happen because people are stupid!

You asked about the photos today. I used a technique called layering. After I touched up the picture the way I wanted it, I put a picture on top of it that was actually of cracked dirt. I altered the opacity of that layer of the picture so that it was almost transparent and sized it to the same size as the other picture. :)

Berts Blog said...

Totally excellent post. When we do demonstrations in the schools for the search and rescue dogs, we teach a portion on what NOT to do when coming across dogs.

She did an excelletn job in the dog behavior chard and the other one.

Thank you so much for bringing her to my attention. I am heading over now.

Kolchak Puggle said...

I love her work too. The Mama wants to order some of her posters for the shelter.

What Remains Now said...

Very good information. A nice reminder even for us that try not to be stupid. Yeah, Georgia didn't look too pleased about sharing her treats. The picture of her misery was amazingly cute though.

Anny said...

This is a most informative post. thank you very much. I now have a almost "wild" child running all over the house and he is sometimes going too fast on his plasmacar in the house. My mistake for borrowing the car from my friend.. LOL!

Dom's been banished to my room.. under the bed and he's been there whole day yesterday.

There are some silly people who will bring a child up to a dog's face.. and a jumping child will excite a dog to bits too.

As Dom is on thyroid meds.. he is sometimes a bit snappy in the late evenings. Our wild child here is still trying to get too near him...

Lili said...

Aw! Thank you Georgia! I am blushing. I feel bad that I don't comment... I am a terrible blog commenter. And by the way, I just realized that you are in Australia! I am from Sydney!!! Back then I was a cat person. Moved to LA about 9 years ago and became a dog person :) - Lili x

melf said...

Amen! Great post! I'm a big fan of Boston Terriers (have a very favorite client who was one) and I love the pictures! The whimsical ones are cute and the poster is very useful and worth sharing with everyone.

One of the things I am grateful for is all the years of being a volunteer at an animal shelter and for being exposed to so many things about dogs, including behavioral cues.

So many people don't recognize the signs. Children are especially a concern. I have had to warn many a child away while at the dog park because they all think Daisy is so cute (which she is) they all want to touch her.

Great post and great materials included. Hi Georgia!

melf said...

I think I screwed up and left the page before my long-winded comment took. I hope it came through. If not, awesome post!

Loved the whimsical pictures of the Boston and the poster. I wish more people understood dog behavioral cues.

georgia little pea said...


I'm so glad you swung by. I know you're from Oz. You mentioned it at the bloghop ;)

Thank you for not throwing a dummy spit! I'm SO bad about getting permission BEFORE doing things. You're very generous to make so much of your work available for downloading. What a great resource!

Hooroo for now, and maybe forever. It's okay. You have more important things to do like draw more posters :) x

verobirdie said...

Very good post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Fab post GLP. So pleased you put a link to Boogie's site, I love it when you find a new blog that you really like. It's kind of like finding change down the back of the sofa, gives you a good feeling! :)

georgia little pea said...

I never find change at the back of the sofa because I don't clean there. But yes, I know what you mean :)

Patrice and Higgins said...

My mom laughed when looking at the illustrations!! Great post!!


Anonymous said...

Those drawing sure are uber cute! I completely agree though; way too many people get bitten because they don't know how to interperate a dogs posture and they don't know how to properly approach a dog.

My children are still very young (1 and 2) so I don't have to worry much yet about them approaching strange dogs. Thankfully though, Kyuss is a great muse and puts up with a lot while I teach them the correct way to approach and stroke a dog.

I think I might have to print that poster from Lili and post is around this area LOL

Kristine said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing this hilarious and very accurate illustrations. I may only be a layperson as well but I think she does a great job of explaining the basics of dog language.

I find most parents are pretty savvy but the odd few that seem not to care if their toddler gets his hand bit off are the ones we remember the most. Once a child ran up to my dog out of nowhere and I had no time to intervene. Shiva started barking and the kid started crying. Nightmare, right? Amazingly, the mother came up and scolded the child. "That's why you have to ask first," she said and then apologized to me. I was stunned!

PS. Thanks for the linkage! I am sure Georgia won't mind sharing her snackies as long as she gets her cut! ;-)

Jan said...

Our volunteer group went to schools to educate children on how to behave around dogs they didn't know. Wish we had had these visuals to help us explain.

Helen P. said...

Those were so cute! I knew from a very young age to always politely ask to pet a dog. And I did it all the time, to pretty much every dog I saw.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Good job, Georgia:) I've seen Lili's drawings around the place for a while but never investigated. Boogie is beautiful. I'm a fan of Boston's. The ones I've seen on Youtube seem to have a wonderful sense of humour and get so much joy out of life.

I'll often come out of a shop and see people patting Frankie through the open car window. He would never bite anyone but they don't know that! And he looks more like a dog who would protect his car with his life, he doesn't solicit pats from strangers when he's in the car. Why are people so stupid? I'd never pat a dog I don't know when it is in it's car. And I'd also never pat a dog I don't know without asking permission.

Hope you're enjoying the 2nd day of Autumn. (duh, I think I said Spring in my comment on your last post? Wishful thinking!) We're hoping to get to the beach this afternoon:)

georgia little pea said...

What a mum. You're right of course. There are many very sensible ones. When an incident like that happens, I mostly worry that the child might develop dog phobia. I ty to end the encounter with a fuzzy feeling by holding the child's hand and placing it correctly on the dog.

Georgia is actually very good at sharing. I sometimes give her friends a treat before her. She's learning how to be A Lady you know ;)

georgia little pea said...

That's scary. What were they thinking? I find most people to be quite respectful of pigdogs. They look powerful I guess.

Autumn. Sigh. It's pissing down right now. According to the news, 3/4 of NSW is in danger of flooding this week. Evacs everywhere :(

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Yay--two things we desperately need: education on dog body language + humor!

yuki and rocket said...

ooh, yes we didn't know about this blog until one of our blogger friends gave us the link a few months ago, to help us out on behavior issues. her drawings are helpful but so darn cute too!!!

georgia little pea said...

That's great! Yes, I saw some interesting training ones too :)

Pamela said...

I love Lili's posters. They're cute and educational. Thanks for sharing the word.

Here in the U.S. a tv journalist was recently bitten in the face by a stressed out dog on a morning program. It caused a lot of hysteria. And I certainly feel horrible for the woman who was bitten.

But here's one example of a responsible response you might appreciate:

georgia little pea said...

I saw that incident on CNN, Pamela. It was horrible. She really got lucky. I don't put my face up to any dog, big or little, my own excepted. You would think that's common sense.

Thanks for the link! I'm glad most people think the reporter is to blame. It would have been awful if the dog had to be put down right after being saved!

Life Student said...

It's hard not greet a pretty fluffy thing. The worst is when the *owner* doesn't face facts about his/her dog. My Middle Child got bit by something small, years ago, whose owner was sure my daughter did something to provoke the damn thing. If she had, I'd cop to it.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I recognize those postures for sure. How funny, and thanks for sharing.

jet said...

I've seen those pictures on facebook!! thanks for posting the source! I will start following her now and post the original blog on facebook too :)

Ellen said...

First of all thank you for sharing the blog site with those great little drawings. So cute and I saw Stewie in a few of those poses.

Dogs and kids and even adults...I always try to be careful with the dogs and any kids that come visit us. However I have found that even when you tell children not to pet or not to corner the poochies, that kids forget. After the holiday party we had I have decided I will crate the poochies when kids are here. I just can't trust the situation since the kids are still too young.

I am very grateful for a child who "gets it" and asks to pet your dog before reaching out. On the whole Stewie is good but any dog can feel threatened if their hair and skin are being yanked. Or cornered were they can't get away. Stewie so much wants to be with us all and I would feel bad not letting him be a part of the event but I would rather not have something happen.

Elizabeth said...

Lili is a fantastic artist and her one-blue-eyed dog is a fantastic model.

I wish I knew dog signals as well as I know the cats (I've had like 10x more cats in my life than dogs). But I'm learning. The hardest thing for me is not greeting a new dog face-to-face. And I always want to hold out my arm (with closed fist pointed down) for the dog to sniff. Although, if a dog looks nervous to me, I probably wouldn't approach it at all.

I'm glad none of those toddlers with sausage fingers ever lost any. :-/

Swati said...

Ah, looks like something I need to forward to some of my relations. Many of them are experts at doing the items from the Don't-Do List. (And when I've finally caught up with my internet stuff, I'm going to love exploring Lili's blog.)

chandra said...

Those illustrations are fabulous! I have a similar list from the Oregon Humane Society, where I learned how to properly greet dogs ... That was about two years ago so how I managed to not get chewed on during my three decades of inappropriate greetings (guilty BIG time of head patting) proves that I am a lucky gal. That all said, nothing NOTHING could have stopped me from accosting Mr. Thumper on the street for a hug if I'd even been lucky enough to see him!

-c at ddy.