In a world where social media has become such a large part of our lives, commenting on our friend's dog photos can become not only a habit, but an addiction. Here are some examples of what not to say, no matter how well intentioned we think we are!
While choosing a dog based on its personality traits rather than its appearance is definitely the right thing to do, this comment can often be misconstrued to the owner. Rather than telling the owner that their dog is, in laymen's terms, ugly or disheveled; simply rephrase your comment to say "Boy, does Henry have a great personality or what? He is so awesome!" Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all!
Typically, any comment that ends with the phrase "for a _____" will end up hurting someone's feelings. It's the same as someone saying, "You sure do throw well, for a girl!" or, "He doesn't bark much, for a small dog." A general rule of thumb is to skip the qualifier completely. If a dog is great, he's great - end of story!
While this type of comment might not seem offensive upon first read, we're here to tell you why it hurts. When someone implies that they "couldn't do it," more often than not it really means that yeah, they probably could - but they don't want to. Saying you couldn't adopt a senior dog to someone who has, and has likely prepared themselves for the inevitable heartbreak that follows, is basically like telling them you "wouldn't want to look for a new dog in a couple of months." It also reminds them that their dog is closer to its last days than a puppy. While this may be true, and they have probably prepared themselves for this, it's not nice to remind them.
This one is a toughie. While the comment itself isn't exactly harmful, the mentality behind it is. It implies that those who adopt rescue dogs do so because of the cost and that if they had the money to do so, they would purchase a "higher quality" dog from a breeder. It also perpetuates the notion that rescue dogs are less valued. Lastly, knowing that you could save the lives of three dogs in need for the cost of one but choose not to, may seem irresponsible to the owner of a rescue dog and leave a bad taste in their mouth.
Similar to the old "breast-feeding versus formula" debate when it comes to raising children, the topic of raw food diets has become a hot button issue among dog owners. The reality is, that every dog owner believes in their own school of thought. We all have a way of doing things, and we all think we're right. The important thing to learn here is to not to put down other owners' methods, but rather, keep an open mind.
Some comments are not born backhanded but become backhanded with the wrong tone of voice. If you've ever heard the phrase, "it's not what you say, but how you say it," then you know what we're talking about. The word "fearless," for example if said in the wrong tone of voice could imply to the owner of a more energetic dog, that their sweet pooch is somehow disobedient, or a trouble maker. If your friend has a dog who is more on the wild side than others, we suggest commenting on his playful nature instead.