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Old 12-22-2012, 12:37 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I will get easier with practice. When I was in college, I walked a collie for an elderly neighbor. Boggie looked exactly like Lassie so when children saw him, they would immediately run up to him screaming "Lasssie, Lassie". Welll Boogie wasn't used to children and he didn't like strangers petting him but he did like to have his paw shaked. If I couldn't avoid the kids, I would ask them to stop - and be quiet, and I had Boggie sit - then one at a time, each child could shake "Lassie's" paw. I was right by Boggie's side and gave him treats for being good. For my Husky who did not like any children at all, I just learned to smile and say -" sorry she isn't used to children" and I would stop the kids from running up by saying, "don't run up to her, she might bite" . I did have parents thank me because they had been trying to teach their children that same thing. My Aussie was a terrible jumper, so I learned to tell people, "sorry, he's not friendly". Sting, my GSD doesn't jump, but does not want people coming right up to him and petting him, he also will lunge if they are carrying something and approach him directly. I curve around people and put myself between the other person and Sting. Joggers have thanked me and also people riding bikes. If people stop to talk to me, I have Sting sit right by my side. When people see that, they do not come right up to me but stop a couple of feet away.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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It can be hard to tell people to leave your dog alone, but you will get used to it. Just tell people that she may bite and they'll be happy to leave her alone for the most part!

Really, I see a lot of dogs who are stressed out by strange people petting them--it's just usually subtle signs that their owners miss. It is kind of weird, when you think about it. It's not like most people are okay with random folks coming up and touching us, so why should our dogs be expected to enjoy it? I don't generally let random people touch any of my dogs, even the very friendly ones. It's just not necessary. I don't know what those people are going to do to my dog (I had one random friendly guy abruptly twist my dog's ears to the point the dog cried in pain, for example--and it happened so quick I didn't even have time to stop him), what germs they might be carrying (did they just pet a dog with kennel cough, for example?), etc.

I mean, if I strike up a conversation with someone and they're obviously dog-savvy and polite and friendly, I'll let them pet my dog. It's not like no one but me is allowed to touch my dogs. I just also don't feel the need to let the random "OMG he's so cute!" lady in Petsmart give my dog a bear hug (also had that happen) and maybe get bit in the face.
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