“My dog has never done that before”….

22 Mar

Today’s Public Service Announcement is brought to you by the letter “S”, as in, we really want people to stop spewing the phrase “He’s never done that before!”  Just stop.  STOP.

We’ve all heard it before, the rage inducing phrase, “He’s never done that before!”, usually following a particularly egregious display of bad dog behavior.  It seems to be the go-to phrase after a dog acts a fool and is usually in lieu of an actual apology.  When we hear this cringe-worthy phrase, we are apt to think one of two things:


1. While technically Sir Fluffykins has never actually shot across the sidewalk on his flexi-leash and bitten a stranger before,  his owner  was either unaware of or in denial about the obvious signals that the Fluffs has been showing.   Let’s be clear.  Dogs rarely, if ever, attack for no reason. We often misinterpret a dog attacking “out of the blue” and “without warning”‘ because we simply missed the signs.  Just because you didn’t see it doesn’t mean that your dog wasn’t giving every indication that he was about to go all Piranhaconda on a passerby.

But he WILL try to eat a passing cyclist

But he WILL try to eat a passing cyclist


2.  Sir Fluffykins has a canine rap-sheet longer than his shitty pedigree and the owner would rather lie about it than admit that their dog is a nuisance, or worse yet, dangerous.  


In the first scenario, as annoying as this phrase can be, we won’t throw too much shade at you as long as you actually acknowledge the issue and <gasp> take action to prevent you from becoming a repeat offender (see #2 above).  Ignoring the behavior or shrugging it off as a freak incident is only going to bite you in the ass (or more likely,  in someone else’s ass) later on.

And for those people who fall into category 2?  Suck it (also brought to you by the letter S). Why on earth would you continue to set your dog up for failure and allow them to repeatedly be an asshole?  There are so many things you can do to manage a dog with a history of dangerous behavior.  Does your dog go after anything with wheels?  Don’t take it to a skate park.  Does your dog dislike children?  Put the dog away when kids come over to your house. And if your dog is a known biter, manage the crap out of them, and if you must be around things that trigger your dog, there is no shame in putting him in a muzzle.  We’d much rather you walk around with a Hannibal Lecter look-alike than walk around acting like nothing is wrong biding your time before you tell someone else, yet again, that your dog has never done this before.  That shit gets around, and by the fifth time you’ve told someone in the neighborhood that your dog has never attacked another dog before, people will be on to you.  You know what happens when you piss off your whole neighborhood? People show up with pitch forks and torches. Or the HOA…..either way, don’t be that person.



**Tired of hearing this phrase? What about any of these others rage-inducing phrases we’ve covered before ?  Let us know in the comments!**

32 Responses to ““My dog has never done that before”….”

  1. Krissy March 22, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    I had my first “OMG He’s never done this before!” moment at the vet yesterday. I didn’t actually say it out loud, but I thought it in my head. He was VERY stressed, more stressed than he has ever been at the vet before… and when the vet tried to put the light in his ear to check it out, he snapped at her. I was mortified. The vet and tech adjusted how they were touching him on the table, but didn’t seem too concerned… it bothered me all day, though. So I guess it wasn’t a “I don’t take the blame, he’s never done this!”… it was a “I feel so guilty that he’s done this, what do I do now?!”

    • Paul Mason March 28, 2014 at 12:43 am #

      I have another one…”We’re just trying to socialize him!”. Spoken at a crowded dog park after Lucky has taken down his owners…twice…and has just started a dog rumble by turning on an elderly mutt.

      You do not socialize an unsocialized dog in a dog park. You socialize a dog in controlled situations gradually. And some dogs will never be comfortable OR safe in public dog gatherings…accept that.

      Lucky is a real dog, a mastiff bully mix. Whenever you approach the park and hear barking, growling and “LUCKY NO STOP” in the distance, you run double time the other way.

  2. CrazyFunDogs March 22, 2014 at 1:36 am #

    Went to a petstore and tried to walk into the store as someone with a little dog was coming out. Woman with her little dog lets her dog lunge at me and my dog, snarling, while she said, “Oh she likes everyone.” UGH! Fortunately I just moved my body between my dog and hers and we walked into the store. Managers inside said her dog did it to another dog as well, all the while saying again, “Oh she loves everyone.”

    • Ann March 22, 2014 at 1:58 am #

      The times I had to body block! Oy!

  3. Susan G. March 22, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    Last last year I was walking my 2 dogs when a dog came flying out of a yard and attacked my old Chinese Crested dog. Jake was bitten on the shoulders and shaken. Luckily the injuries were not too serious. I found out the same dog had bitten a neighbor. When I went to have the dog’s owner pay my vet bill, I asked her about the previous attack and why the dog was not leashed. The owner said “well he never bit a dog before”. I had not called animal control to report the incident yet, but you bet I went right home and reported the incident.

  4. Susanne March 22, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    So love The Dog Snobs! Seems like you write what I’m thinking. Often.

  5. Ann March 22, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    I am happy to say I never, ever kicked anyone who gave me that line as their ball of fluff ran snarling towards my dog, whose mild demanor and regal looks hid her true nature ‘death in a dog suit’. Her majesty was muzzled when I was evaluating her on walks to see how manageable her prey drive would turn out to be and I was learning her cues as to what she considered prey. I learned several things:
    1. Prey drive through the roof.
    2. I could see and manage it. (By manage I mean short leash and repeated leave it commands/distractions)
    3. People, for reasons I will NEVER understand, think muzzled dogs are ravening killers and give them huge berths.
    Ummm….the dog can’t bite with the muzzle on idiots. See how nice I’m being? I am proud of myself and I earned a piece of chocolate. But I digress. I learned her body language very well. I don’t pretend it will be the same as my next dog of the very same breed. His highness will show me his quirks I am sure.

  6. Joy March 22, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    The scariest line I hear at the vet clinic I work in is “Oh, he doesn’t bite”.

    • RowanVT March 23, 2014 at 2:00 am #

      “Don’t worry, s/he doesn’t bite” is just about the quickest way to get anyone in a vet hospital to be reaching for the muzzles. It’s a pavlovian reaction at this point I think.

      • Chris Loverseed March 25, 2014 at 5:09 am #

        To True!! its exact same as people who ask “Is your dog friendly” then their dog latches onto yours

  7. Rebecca H. March 22, 2014 at 3:21 am #

    I had that moment too. The first time Floyd went after a husky. I still can’t figure out why he did it as the husky was one he had been around before (I used to work at a daycare and he went to work with me) and the husky wasn’t doing anything to provoke it, no food or toys were around, no aggressive body language at all (I read and study dog body language, my job depends on it). It steadily got worse, spanning to other huskies. Then a couple years later he went after a leashed husky who was posturing. We don’t do off leash anymore, which sucks ,cause we love fetch. But someone else’s controlled husky (leashed or not) should not be accosted by my asshead of a dog. I suspect that Floyd had a bad experience at daycare, with a husky, when I wasn’t around. Then my 90hr weeks, stress and emotional wear, lack of time off, and constantly changing/contradicting rules, started to effect us both. To this day, I think Huskies are just his trigger (scapegoat) related to all things negative that happened at the daycare we were at. PS Floyd had been going to that daycare longer than I worked there. After I adopted him, owner kicked him out for barking, something they inadvertently taught him to do by giving into his demand barking! I don’t recommend dog daycare for anyone!!!

    • Christine Vezina March 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

      It’s possible he did have a bad experience with the daycare Husky, but a lot of dogs have a pathological hatred of Huskies because Reasons Very Important to Dogs. As far as I can tell it has to do with their upright, forward-pitched posture, freaky eyes, bizarre vocalizations, and the fact that a lot of them really do look (and act) like wild animals. But I’m not a dog, so I don’t assume I’ll ever know for sure.

      So, you’re not alone, anyway. The first thing I ask people who want their dog to meet mine is “Has s/he ever met a Husky before?”

      • Christine Vezina March 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

        Heh, ironically in the context of this article, due to Huskies being relatively uncommon around here I often do get “I’m so sorry, he’s never done that before!” And it’s true.

      • Denise March 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        My muttly mutt loves huskies, he’s in heaven when he finds one who will play with him. Though I’ve often seen a fair number of huskies are “breedist” and only want to play with other huskies/northern breeds.

      • houndsofgrey March 25, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

        You’re exactly right, Huskies (and other breeds with high tail carriage and upright ears) are frequently misunderstood by other dogs. While we think of their posture as adorable, in any other breed that exact stance reads as “asshole looking for a fight” and dogs respond accordingly. I’ve seen it countless times, though my female greyhound thinks she *is* a husky and finds that posture adorable and endearing… she’s just special like that, lol. Fortunately, the notoriously cliquish huskies generally recognize her as one of their own.

      • Rebecca H. March 26, 2014 at 2:56 am #

        I totally agree with this. I’ve hypothesized this possibility too. I often tell other people, the same thing, who say their dogs hate huskies, Akitas or others breeds that have upright, forward ears, tails that naturally rest in a up position, and have overly forward, prominent stance. I’ve seen otherwise naturally social savvy dogs, get frustrated or confused by these breeds. I think for Floyd and I, he had been around Juneau, Aiden, Xena, Kodiak, Elsie and a handful of others. Juneau always postured and entered playgroup hackles up, then one day after several months, Floyd decided he didn’t like it. Juneau had been in group a while, was relaxed, wasn’t even facing Floyd. I wasn’t in playgroup that day. Just saw it from the front office camera. Then it went to Elsie, who also wasn’t doing anything at all. Then we met Raiden who was literally laying down, minding his own business and super mellow. That was the day I realized Floyd just has it out for them despite having been around them without issue for years. The scariest one was when we were at a park, he had always been off leash, and huskies never seem to be around, there was a semi blind corner, thank god Floyd is dumb as rocks. He went after the husky without dropping his ball. Floyd’s eye’s were freaky intense. I didn’t even pretend to tell the people he has never done that before. Thankfully everyone was okay. And now we are back to reworking recall, management and long line fetch where I have 360 degree sight only!

  8. Tam March 22, 2014 at 3:50 am #

    The other sure to set me off phrase…”but he always does ____(insert whatever behavior) at home! I don’t know why he won’t do it now!

    • Jaime March 22, 2014 at 6:05 am #

      Completely agree! Along with “Oh, he knows ___. He is just stubborn and won’t listen.” It seems like 95% of the time this is spoken by someone who expects the dog to know that “SIT” and “sit?” and “siiiiiiiiit” and “sit down” and “sit, I said, sit, sit now, sit sit sit” all mean the same thing.

  9. Lisa C March 22, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    My pup was attacked and pinned to the ground by a dog that flew out of it’s open fence as we walked by, that had been left open on purpose while the owners were packing their car. The owners had to pry the damn dog off my boy as it refused to let go, “He’s never done anything like this before”.
    We then find out from neighbours later that the dog rushes at the fence line and growls at everything. You would think if you had a dog that did that you would NEVER leave the fence open!

    Thankfully my boy is so fluffy it mostly got hair and he hasn’t been too affected by it behaviourally.

  10. DJ March 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #

    “Once I bring out the shaker can, he behaves perfectly!”

  11. lz March 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    One time at agility school, after my Cardi was done with her run, I walked her past this other dog’s soft crate in order to get to our treats. My dog was looking up at me expectantly the whole time (because oh boy time for treats!) when an Aussie suddenly lunged out of the crate and bit my dog about half a dozen times on her back. I couldn’t tell the crate door was open since it was a black mesh hanging down. The owner said she always leave her dog’s crate open because the dog never leaves it unless told. Why bother using a crate then if you don’t shut it?

  12. Laura Anne March 22, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

    Love this post. I was at a 75 acre (!) dog park once while traveling. We were headed toward the parking lot after a lovely, very solitary romp, when I first heard and then saw a ruckus underway about 3 acres away. (open land, very visible and audible) Saw a beautiful, buxom young thing with a rottweiler male who was lunging and growling, while she was saying to the several very interested young men surrounding her, “I don’t understand. He has never acted like this before!” Put my dogs away in the car, “happened” to wander closer, but not too close. (Ok. I was traveling and bored.) The lovely young woman wasn’t doing a single thing to get her dog under control, just letting him lunge against the 6 foot leash while the men stayed just out of reach. “I’ve had him for two years, since he was a puppy, and he has never been like this.”
    The stunning thing was that no one told her, “Get you and this dog out of here and get thee to a trainer” , nor did a single one of the slavering young men move away from the scene.
    Testosterone: the stupidity hormone. The Rottie was un-neutered, but I know several of un-neutered Rotties that don’t act like this because their owners have TRAINED THEM. So, guess whose testosterone I am referring to?
    It is only fair to comment on estrogen being the cluelessness hormone in this particular case.

  13. Kitten March 22, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    Krissy’s post reminds me of a cat story. My 6 1/2 lb cute little cat went to the emergency vet for a lodged bone. As the vet went over her, I saw “The Signs” and warned her, “You need to watch it, this cat is lethal and she WILL hurt you.”

    The vet smiled at me with the slightly weary, patronizing look of someone who deals with idiots, daily. “We see animals like this all the time, it’s an emergency hospital,” she politely reminded me, and advised “We are very experienced with stressed animal behavior.” She assured me they could, indeed, take very good care of my cat (missing my point completely), then informed me that she would be taking the cat into the back for an xray.

    A few minutes later, the vet returned, covered in blood. “Looks like your cat doesn’t want an xray after all,” she said as she handed horrified me back the cat, minus a bill for an xray, and sent me on my way.

    Sometimes, this story goes the other way.

    • RowanVT March 23, 2014 at 2:07 am #

      That vet was an idiot. As a tech, I positively adore owners who tell me when their animals can become little shits, for any reason (fear, pain, simply a shithead).

      I did make a vet think I was an idiot though with my cat who is normally a holy terror. I took him into emergency because he was gagging/swallowing a lot, and his meow was suddenly different. In the past he has had to be sedated for x-rays, and will hiss and growl during exams. But that night, after I told the vet all that? Nooo… Bur is prancing around, purring and giving head bumpies. Jerkface cat.

  14. Chris Loverseed March 25, 2014 at 5:05 am #

    Haha great quality as always!!

    As a professional trainer, if had dollar for every time I heard that I would be a rich man!

  15. lexy3587 March 26, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    My favourite is the repeat offenders. The ones who will try and pull the same ‘oh gosh, he just, like, never reacts like that! your dog must be (insert attempt to blame my dog for your dogs behaviour)’ any time they run into me on walks. My strangest conversations with fellow dog walkers go along the lines of me hustling to cross the street while they follow eagerly behind me in hopes of a meeting, me shouting “Your dog doesn’t LIKE mine!” and my dog doing his best to keep me between him and the big bad.

    • TheDogSnobs March 27, 2014 at 6:39 pm #

      Ugh! The owner of the dog who attacked Mr. T a few years ago, in addition to saying “he’s never done that before” also insinuated that something about Mr. T set her dog off and it was somehow his fault that he was attacked. Um, no. My dog ended up with staples, drains, and multiple punctures and your dog didn’t have a single mark. Nice try, jackass.

      • lexy3587 April 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

        oh god! no, I haven’t had anything like that – your jackass wins. There’s a guy whose dog really despises mine, and who, the first time he tried to take mine out, commented, “it’s probably because your dog is an unaltered male”. 1 – he’s a boy, but he lacks the equipment, and 2 – maybe you should have checked BEFORE bringing your dog near mine? If you’re sure your dog doesn’t like xxx and yyy in other dogs, don’t say ‘he’s friendly’

  16. organictroll March 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    “Oh, fast, barking Border Collies just make her want to play”, was the comment explaining the loose dog that ran up into my leashed dog’s face at an agility class, growling and snarling and winding around me while I nearly choked my dog trying to keep myself between her and the interloper.

  17. Lucky Dog March 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

    We own a small pet boutique in San Francisco, Best in Show, and sometimes a dog will come in and pee on the leg of a table or somewhere near our collar and leash wall. I often get the comment “Oh, my dog has never done that before,” and offer to clean it up. Sometimes we get, “Some other dog must have pee’d there first, otherwise my dog would not have pee’d there.” The rudest is when they know their dog has pee’d in the store and simply walk out without saying anything.

  18. Selena Garcia Guerrero April 4, 2014 at 4:18 am #

    Most terrible thing happend to me and my benny I have a gsd german show line obviously gsd are protective I was walking him and I realized I dropped some thing I was with my little brother so I tied him to a bench while I turned around to pick up watever I dropped a lady came up to me with her small yorkie and my dog snaped out of his leather belt harnest and went after the small dog it completely took me by surprise because we have a Pomeranian and we all usually walk togeather with my neighbors mali and boxer and weve never had a problem like that before he didnt hurt the little yorkie but a minor wound no blood but the lady freaked out shoot so did I. I was completely embarrassed and shameful of what happend I apologized and gave her my number let her noe that I would take all responsibility for my dogs actions and for any vet bill she wasnt mad at me but just got startled . She said she followed me cuz her dog wanted to see my brother wich was kind of weird but anyways she told me if I new he was aggressive why was I walking him in public I explained to her that its in thier instinct but that hes a show dog and about our other dogs and friends dogs that come over .. well I just think benny took it as an offense that her dog came near us but it still wasnt right next im just glad nothing worst happend I just want her to call me and let me noe everythings ok ..


  1. People tell me "Sorry, my dog's never done that before!!!" - March 22, 2014

    […] thought you were posting this article I read yesterday! . | The Dog Snobs So I agree that it's probably not quite true their dog has NEVER done that before. Depending on […]

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