Vladimir Putin brought a dog with him to negotiations with the German Chancellor because she had a fear of dogs.
In case you don’t know, Vladimir Putin is the current President of Russia, and since 1999 has been either Prime Minister or President on multiple occasions. While it’s common for many presidents to own dogs (you may recall there was quite a lot of buzz about the Obamas’ dog selection) Putin’s use of his wasn’t very common.
Putin has a black Labrador Retriever named Koni (who may or may not have been named after former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice). Koni often attends staff meetings with him and is usually present when Putin greets world leaders.
She is also somewhat famous for escaping her holders to join Putin on many occasions. In the past, Putin has had a reputation for dealing harshly with political opponents- sometimes with Koni. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, has an apparent fear of dogs from when she was bitten as a young girl.
Putin was aware of this from when he met Merkel during the time she was leader of the conservative Christian Democrats. During discussions with Merkel, it’s believed that Putin tried to gain a psychological edge by bringing Koni, who visibly unnerved her. The funny thing is that Koni is really just a typical, food obsessed labrador who couldn’t harm a fly, so it really was just Merkel’s genuine fear of dogs that made her nervous.