Allowing people to pet your dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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Allowing people to pet your dog

If this is in the wrong forum, please let me know, or relocate the thread, and forgive me!

What are your opinions on allowing strangers to pet your dog? Elsa is more fearful than most I think (she's 4months). She barks at anything different in her environment, and our first state park visit was met with constant barking LOL. Her second visit was MUCH better after my revised training plan. We are socializing her so that she hopefully becomes better about different places and people but I did not want strangers to physically touch her. For their safety as well as Elsa's (she hasn't DONE anything dangerous yet and I dont' want her to). I do take her to obed classes, she is fine now that she knows the people and the dogs. I am letting her get to know friends and family as well. I do want her to be fine around children (which she barks at them too).

On our first park trip, a couple of people stopped to talk to me about her but did not ask to pet her (which is fine by me).

On our second trip to the pet store, a child ran up to her and petted her and I about had a coronary. She didn't bark but she growled we had finished class and she was tired but still. Her mother apologized and I really didn't know what to say. She reminded her child to ask first and I said, nicely to the child, that she needed to ask because some dogs aren't used to people yet and I didn't want any one to get scared or hurt, even though she just loves dogs. She was ok but I just wasn't sure how to approach that, I know what it's like to be a kid and just love animals.

Anyway, I'm just not sure if by not allowing people to pet her that will be a problem?

Oy, thanks,

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 10:48 AM
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I like when people ASK to pet my dog. He is very, very, very friendly. He loves absolutely everyone and he has never met a stranger, haha.

I brought him with me on saturday to the Scoop the Loop (it's a big car show, they close down the whole street and park classic and ghetto rigged cars so everyone can see them and then they drive up and down the street with their cars bouncing, squeeling, and blaring their loud music.) It is always VERY packed, lots of people walking with their dogs and people selling food, jewelry, and T-shirts. Everyone kept staring at my GSD. I had several people walk by and could hear them say "That looks like a big black wolf." I actually had 4 different people ask if he was a black wolf and one person asked if he was a black Lab

Alot of people came up and asked if he was friendly, AS THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR HAND IN HIS FACE Well if he wasn't friendly I think you would be missing your hand right about now. I absolutely hate that!

I mean how dumb are you to stick your hand in some dogs face before asking
1) If he is friendly
2) If you can pet him

Well no one lost their hand that day, Sin was the life of the party. I showed alot of people that day just how wonderful GSD's can be. I also informed all of them that GSD's do in fact come in other colors and gave them some info on how the breed really is and that they are not vicious dogs. I also got alot of people saying how big he is and that they want a big dog too and I told them that even though Sin is beautiful he is bigger than the standard.


Sinister ~ black male GSD 3.11.09
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 10:56 AM
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With Lycan it's not an issue. He tends to throw himself at people so they can adore him. He loves to be petted, and if I don't have him on a tight lead he goes right up to people and shoves his head under their hand. He is SUCH an attention ****.


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 11:13 AM
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Zaidy has been well socialized; but for some reason when a person comes up talking in a high pitched, goo goo gaa gaa voice and reaches to pet her she runs away, and her shackles come up; this is the reason why if someone comes up talking in that voice off bat, I will occasionally let them pet her, but not usually, I keep her close to me and if someone asks, I'll have her sit and allow her to be petted, if they don't, and they just reach out and attempt to, I remove her away from them and remind them that this is MY dog, and they're welcome to pet, but they need to ask. Things get tricky when I'm listening to music and someone creeps out from behind me hand already ready to pet.... Kinda hard to move her in time, I tried doing the high pitched baby talk with her, just to get her used to it, but honestly, I couldn't even get used to it!
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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 11:39 AM
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From personal experience, I think sometimes as owner's we make decisions based on what WE would like our GSD to enjoy; rather than really looking at whether or not it is something THEY can accept. There are some dogs, mine is one of them, who simply only allow that very close personal space to people and animals they know. It isn't always about what the owner's about what the dog can accept. Now, this does not include unsocialized or untrained dogs, I am talking about those dogs who have been exposed to all areas of society, but it is in their personality (some say temperament, I don't). My dog did not have good experiences with people as a pup (he is a rescue) and he has had poor experiences with off leash dogs (not his fault). He is trained to accept people and dogs as being "there" but he does not like strangers in his face or invading his personal space in any way. So, I don't let them. I have found my non-verbal (and when required verbal) behavior is important when I am out with him. I am not rude, angry or otherwise, but it is VERY clear we are training and I am not interested in people approaching. People still praise his behavior, speak to me and comment on how beautiful he is while walking, but it is rare someone gets into his face. You may want to consider a vest of some sort indicating "training" or otherwise while you are out, until you get through your socialization, if it becomes a problem for you; I found that it keeps people at bay and makes them consider their actions first.

She is very young remember, so she has a lot to learn still. She does need to be socialized, including with people, but it should be very structured. As you go through these experiences together, you will both gain confidence.

Good luck

Dexter-male, sable GSD, 2 yr. old rescue

"My impetus is an unfulfillable debt to animals
entrusted to my care before I recognized the extent of our advanced industrial and societal hypocrisy (i.e. the extent of my own ignorance and participation)."

-Euan Fingal


Kato- 12 yrs, GSD, forever my friend
Kelsey- 15 yrs, GSD, an inspiration
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 11:44 AM
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Stosh still looks like a big fluffy puppy even at 5 mos and I understand people wanting to pet him but there are times when I just don't want him to be touched- when I'm working on his focus towards me, obeying commands when there are distractions, stuff like that and I have actually told people that do ask that I appreciate them asking but he's in training at the moment and it's just not a good time. He's so big, 65 lbs already, that most people have asked first.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 12:04 PM
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Honestly, that is one of the reasons I like utilizing the Halti. Non-dog people think it's a muzzle and won't approach Hondo. People who know dogs can tell it has nothing do to with bite control and they'll stop and talk about Hondo first. Then they ask if they can pet him.

If you approach Hondo, he'll stare at you. Some people are worried that this is a sign of aggression, and they'll stop in their tracks. With Hondo, this is not a sign of aggression. Because he is big - some folks run their hands down his back as we walk by - Hondo doesn't care. Hondo has never been the waggly little puppy that is over joyed to have your attention. He is more of the , "Yeah, I'm handsome, you may bask in my Glory". In fact, he has just started to turn his butt to you as if to say, "If you must scratch, please scratch my butt."
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 12:05 PM
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I got my current foster at 4 months - she's almost 6 months now - and she was very fearful of people. I took her everywhere and walked around asking everyone I could find to pet the puppy. I just about put up a sign for people to come and pet the puppy. She was less than thrilled about it - not that I cared - and I picked her up and dumped her in their arms. I asked them to be very physical when petting her; to be as rough as possible without hurting her all the while praising her.

She will always be a crabby a$$, not aggressive, with people she doesn't know, but her fear has lessened to the point where she would just prefer people leave her alone and I'm still working on that too.

Babying and stifling a fearful puppy is the worst thing you can do. Get them out there confronting their fears while being encouraging and supportive will go a long way to teaching them their fears aren't as scary as they thought.

Elaine and the herd
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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 12:24 PM
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I let anyone pet Sigurd, I prefer if they ask, but a lot of the times they don't, which is okay, it doesn't really bother me. Sigurd is really socialized and loves getting petted, so he soaks it all up! I also like it because I always get a comment on how gorgeous he is !

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-29-2010, 12:29 PM
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I let people pet Max, but I have a pretty strong preference for them to ask first. LOL... he doesn't have a mean bone in his body yet at 17 weeks, but I sort of hold him back as if he is "vicious" when people approach. That's usually enough that they pause as if thinking, "hmmm, he's holding the dog back for a reason." That seems to work pretty well.
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