It's a common issue that sadly so many of my owners face. They're taking their dogs out and suddenly someone is stroking their dog without permission or trying to. Heck, some people even ignore requests not to. This is beyond frustrating for owners. Many may have a nervous or reactive dog they're desperately trying to build confidence with, or they have an over excited dog they are trying to teach manners to.
I totally understand that people's desire to fuss someone's dog comes from a good place. After all, who doesn't love dogs? But I think it's important everyone can understand that this can be detrimental to the dogs and owners trying to work together to reduce their dogs stress. Did you know it's better to keep your hands off until you know how the dog & owner team might need you to do? I have been in the shoes of the shy reactive dog, desperately trying to fend people off my nervous dog, keeping everyone safe and happy. As well as this I am currently living through people encouraging my young Whippet Puppy Arkle to jump up. It's so hard to teach your dogs to engage with you or to feel safe when someone is pawing at the dog! Below were quotes from friends and clients that I received within 48 hours of posting about this blog. It is really worth taking a read and understanding people are not trying to stop you stroking their dog to be mean, but they're thinking of their dog and everyone involved with their dog, even just passers by.
"I would prefer people not to fuss my dog because he is very excitable and sees a lot of value in people. He is a very lucky boy and has only known love and humans to be loving and kind towards him. Therefore he wants to meet everyone he sees and as jumpy puppy this can be at your height. When people fuss my dog it takes away from me trying to train him. When people give me no warning or don't ask it doesn't allow me to teach him the right way of being calm and not launching at people. Also, I'm trying my best to train him and teach him to make good choices. These people will be the first to complain when a 20kg dog bowls at their face but the allure of stoking puppy fluff proves too much and this really undermines me trying to train him at the influential age. Also, it make me worry because he isn't well socialised with children that he won't know his own strength and will bowl them over unintentionally. So please don't fuss my dog. I am a crazy dog lady who was without a dog for many years before getting my boy and I always managed to just smile and coo from a distance or ask if the opportunity arose."
"Twiggy was so cute as a puppy, her ears were ridiculously large and everyone was immediately attracted to them, but she was a nervous pup and with the unwanted attention she quickly became head shy. It took a long time to teach her that she could choose to greet or walk away, and I often had to step in on her behalf to prevent people from touching. I am her advocate, her safe place, she trusts me and looks to me for help. She now asks for and loves ear massages, from me." "Booty now diagnosed with a brain disorder that causes exaggerated fear responses and epilepsy. Fear caused by arousal could trigger a seizure. I know I'm carrying her (very likely) but (musical notes) Can't touch this (musical notes)" "Please do not stroke my Bella. Yes she's very cute and fluffy, and she looks like she'll be your best bud. But she is a baby. She doesn't understand people. At the moment she only likes HER humans. She is frightened. She will bark at you to tell you no. She can't control herself. If you keep invading her space, she'll likely not be as cute and best buddyesque! She's scared of your dog, she only understands her elderly "big sis" at home...and she bullies her! If you keep bringing your dog closer when I have said no to "get her used to other dogs" you'll make my job harder in the long run because she will never trust other dogs. You're backing up her view that the world is a scary place. I know MY dog, you don't." Some reasons owners may need you to keep your paws off are: -Their dog is over excited and learning manners -Their dog is a rescue who needs time to explore -Their dog is nervous or reactive, so needs space to build confidence -The dog is under training to be an assistance dog -The owner may have anxieties themselves and also appreciate space when out It only takes seconds to ask and a no is never personal. BY keeping your Paws Off Peoples Pups, asking first, and following any instructions from owners you will be helping dogs and owners HUGELY.