The phrase “don’t pet a burning dog” usually refers to the idea of not wasting time on something that will not yield any benefit. Using a burning dog as an example, if you are petting a burning do, you will probably get your hands burnt as well.
It’s a phrase used in the last line of the “A burning Dog”, the 5th epistle in the Generation Kill series. The phase has been existing for a long time. It is used to show that anyone who tries to correct something that has already been condemned or someone that doesn’t want correction can end up hurting themselves in the process.
In this case, the burning dog is an unredeemable situation. Petting the burning dog means that you are getting your hands into something that looks bleak and unredeemable.
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Don’t pet a burning dog can be applied in different scenarios
“Don’t pet a burning dog” also means that you should not try to fix a situation that is already broken. In other words, you cannot fix a broken bottle. Once it’s broken, it’s broken, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. If the person tries to fix the situation, they may end up hurting themselves in the process, while the situation remains unfixed.
Again, “don’t pet a burning dog” also means not to jump into situations without thoroughly accessing the risks involved. You could try to comfort someone. But the comfort may be counterproductive if the person you are comforting is extremely angry. There are situations where someone you want to comfort would even get angrier and even turn against you for your comforting efforts.
A burning dog is a burning dog, and if you try to pet the dog, you may get hurt in the process, either from the reaction of the dog or from the fire itself.
Don’t pet a dog on heat
Another meaning to this phrase is the idea not to pet your dog that is on heat. The heat period of the dog is usually the most uncomfortable. Generally, the heat circle of dogs lasts for about three weeks. It’s often characterized by bloody discharge and the swell of the vulva.
Your female dog in heat will likely show her more aggressive sides with other pets in the home when she is in heat. So, this is not the period of petting her. She will display certain domineering behaviors like humping, shouldering aside other pets, or showing pushy attitudes.
It’s normal for most female dogs on heat, but it’s a temporary problem that would go when she passes the heat circle.
It’s not a good idea to pet a burning dog, which in this case, could be your female dog in heat. Female dogs in heat are easily agitated and may sometimes want to act like a bully. It’s not in your place to pet them when they are like this, because the change of attitude is natural and you may be wasting your time taking the petting route.