Please Don’t Pet My Dog
Would you just walk up, pick up, and start handling a stranger’s child or hand them a bunch of candy? So, why do the same with a someone’s dog?
No, our dog is not our child, but she is our responsibility. One we take very seriously and work hard it. We get a lot of nice compliments about our dog when we’re out with her. From how disciplined she is, to how well she walks off of the leash.
Onetime, she sat perfectly still on the porch of a local brewery while I was inside getting a beer. People around were kind of in disbelief. Most of this behavior comes from a consistency we’ve built up during our walks and training of her. If she was the opposite, we would rightly get all the blame.
To that end, I have to make a PSA, please don’t call out to, pet or reach out to engage a dog without asking first. The training is mostly for her safety. So she does not just dart out at other people and dogs. Or cut off a cyclist while on the Beltline. Believe it or not, every time you reach out your hand or make another gesture, you break her attention span and the interaction between her and us to enforce an expected behavior.
Look, there is no unspoken rule, standing invitation, or right to pet mine or anyone else’s dog. I don’t disturb other people’s dogs and I would appreciate the return in favor. To be fair, about half of people are considerate; even while there hand shakes nervously at their side so desperate to reach out pet LuLu. But they restrain themselves and give a verbal compliment or a head nod. It’s the rude and colonizing other half that don’t think they need an invite first. Here are some reasons why you don’t want to be that guy.
- Don’t assume a gentle disposition. You assume the risk of being bitten if you approach.
- The dog is an extension of my personal space, please respect it.
- ‘Know how hard it could be to get the dog settled down.
- You wouldn’t go and just start swaddling someone’s child.
- The training never stops especially when I am out with my dog.
- It’s not that hard to ask.
Those reasons aside, there situations were unsolicited interactions are acceptable. If we are at the dog park like Fetch, dogs are just going to run everywhere; they are supposed to. Or if you are at our home, then it is ok; but please no rough housing with her. Lastly, if you have been introduced before and we come across each other while out, and we let her come up to you, then it is ok. We all love dogs and need to respect an owner’s right to manage their dog their way.