Kids freak Grace out. Their quick and aggressive movements scare her; she doesn’t know what their intentions are. Based on her street experiences as a pup, kids were known to torment dogs so she’s wary for good reason. In order to protect herself, she growls and bares her teeth hoping to get them to back off. We saw this play out last night when good friends were over for dinner and their active and adorable toddler tried to pet Grace a tad too harshly. It’s nerve-wracking to see Grace expose her teeth and the child gets an impression that Grace is a mean dog—understandably! She’s really not mean-spirited but she’s acting out in a mean way, for sure.
I see this within organizations all the time. Well-intentioned people sometimes do unkind things. If they feel threatened, they might do something to protect their own interests. I’m sure you can think of a number of examples, things like stealing a great idea you had or gossiping about a mistake you made on a project.
If that happens, what do you do? Give that person the silent treatment? Let your frustration fester? It’s certainly a natural reaction to get angry and pull away. But you need to address it constructively. Have a calm and respectful conversation, letting them see your perspective on the situation. Then the chances are greatly increased that similar occurrences won’t happen in the future. If you let it pass, you’re part of the problem. Be a part of the solution.
We do see progress with Grace handling stressful situations with more confidence. About an hour after snarling at the precious toddler visiting us last night, Grace was peacefully napping in her bed. Clayton was running through the living room and unintentionally fell right into her bed alongside her! But instead of snapping, she opened one eye and looked over as if to say: “Watch out next time, would ya?” Then she closed her eyes and went back to her nap. I guess she decided it wasn’t worth getting scared about.