Why Michael Bloomberg Has Dogs Shaking Their Heads
A recent incident on the campaign trail has people questioning methods for petting and playing with dogs.
Democratic presidential candidate and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg starred in a viral video this week that captured him greeting a dog in an unorthodox manner during a campaign event in Burlington, Vt.
After being approached by the dog, Bloomberg grabbed its snout and, with his fingers inside of its mouth, proceeded to move the canine’s head up and down in a motion similar to that of a handshake. The video was soon viewed millions of times and caught the attention of news outlets and voters alike.
However, social media users were divided over the interaction. While some people criticized Bloomberg and said it was disrespectful and uncomfortable for the pup, others defended him, claiming that he was simply trying to engage with the dog through mouthing play.
When news outlet Gothamist reached out to Bloomberg’s team regarding the incident, campaign spokesperson Stu Loeser responded, “You know that he's playing with the dog, right?"
He then referenced an ASPCA article about mouthing and nipping, noting the line, "When you play with your dog, let him mouth on your hands."
However, while the article says that mouthing is normal play behavior, it also provides tips on discouraging the action, as some people find it to be uncomfortable and dogs can sometimes unintentionally bite too hard. The article is also focused on engaging with your own dog, rather than that of a stranger.
When interacting with a dog for the first time, the ASPCA recommends asking its owner for permission to pet it before allowing the dog to sniff your closed fist. You should then pet its chest and shoulders, avoiding the top of its head. The article advises against startling a dog by petting one that is eating, sleeping or chewing on a toy. Using these tactics can help prevent dog bites.
The day after the dog petting controversy, Bloomberg’s campaign released a video of its own that gives voiceovers to dogs that express support for the candidate. It ends with the phrase “#DogsFurMike.”