Is Your Dog Friendly?

As I was walking Arthur again this morning, I was met with a large saluki cross bouncing around onlead as we walked down a very tight cycle path. I u turned pretty quickly as the owner shouted “Oh is he friendly?” I carried on walking away until we had more space. As she asked again more insistantly “Is he friendly? This one is”

I fumbled over my own words before deciding on

“Oh he is a mardy bum onlead”

Before Arthur exploded in lunging right on cue!

Then came the judgemental expression from the owner of the friendly dog with “Oh.. I can see”.


Sigh. Arthur is friendly. Arthur can struggle with face to face greetings onlead, but he is a sociable dog and loves to play. Arthur does NOT like dogs who are bouncing around onlead like maniacs, however. It makes him anxious as he’s been bitten on the nose more than a few times by “friendly” dogs.

As is typical of people who are desperate for their dogs to have onlead meetings, this dog was bouncing and staring Arthur in the eyes as the owner was clinging to the lead. This feels like an everyday occurrence these days.

Someone who has an over-friendly, undertrained dog asking me if Arthur is friendly. Usually, because I am trying to continue teaching him he doesn’t need to meet every dog we see, so have him to one side or am actively feeding him for good behaviour.

The reality is the question isn’t “Is your dog friendly?”
The question is “ Will your dog tolerate my dog pulling over to yours and jumping all over him and being very pushy?”

No one would ever even question anyone for punching another human who came running over to them screeching wanting a hug when they never met them.

Yet somehow we expect that dogs should all enjoy being pounced on by others! It’s “socialisation”.

I don’t expect any of my dogs to tolerate being leapt on and lunged at by dogs. I want my dogs to know they can feel safe onlead. And onlead with me.

Don’t get me wrong, Arthur used to leap around like a loon on sight of every dog we met, the solution wasn’t meeting more dogs. It was teaching him to engage with me.

If your making a big effort with your eager beaver enthusiastic greeter of a dog, keep it up and carry on! You will get there! Just consider if you think the other dog will equally enjoy the encounter with your dog when asking if they’re friendly.

I will continue to respond “No he isn’t friendly” and being judged because it is a bit more polite than explaining the fact their dog needs to learn to play it cool!