Do you let strangers play with your dogs? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Do you let strangers play with your dogs?

We had a barbecue with about 15 people and I had both dogs along, one by one. Nice, relaxed behavior among strangers and somewhat aloof like they should, even my 6 month old Griff (so proud of this pup) I did some fetch with Deja and one guy somehow had the ball and was about to throw it for her. As a reflex I told him "no" or else she would learn that strangers play and would lose her aloofness and possibly focus on me in groups. I can't believe my opinion on this popped so fast into my head as I never before had thought of this situation. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 03:38 PM
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I would let the guy throw the ball for my dog. I let the guy at Quickstop play tug with my dog. I can still keep his attention ok.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 03:43 PM
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If the guy had thrown the ball you called her to bring it to you it might be a good for training under distraction. She would still be focusing on you. I've had little girls hold the hula hoop while Inga jumped through it. Everybody is happy that way.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 03:59 PM
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If I had an issue with keeping my dog focused on me, then yes. If it is not an issue for the dog and it was not a "working" context, then I likely wouldn't care. Now if I was training/working my dog and someone wanted to play with my dog I'd probably say no so my dog did not learn that random people may initiate play during those times.

I don't think random interactions with people will cause an aloof dog to suddenly switch into one that is seeking attention from strangers because they might throw a ball. If it did then I'd see it as a relationship issue and try to work out why my dog thinks strangers are more likely to produce a reward than I am.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 04:25 PM
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I may have missed it, but I don't remember ever being at a barbecue and having a spontaneous obedience trial break out, so I tend to think there's a pretty select few reasons for taking a dog to a barbecue and expecting them not to interact with the people there. None of them have to do with a pet or even a sport dog. Things are pretty situational with dogs. Obedience is always obedience, but if they have the temperament to be out with people at a barbecue, I can't see that as anything that's going to hurt your relationship.


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 04:42 PM
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@wolfy dog I can understand your reaction. I tend to be a little like that as well. My female WL should probably be a therapy dog, because she is very people friendly even though I don't particularly care for it or encourage it. But I have done quite a bit of OB with her and have noticed she still listens very well to me even if a friend of mine is over and interacting with her.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 05:17 PM
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It depends on the context and the dog.

All of my working dogs did double duty as pets and were sometimes included in get togethers. Why include them if I am going to then isolate them? I saw no indication that it ever affected their work ability, and these were dogs that routinely assisted with crowd and access control.
In addition never did my dogs refuse or question a command from me in a social context. Nor could I escape their attention. So if I happened to wander towards the perimeter of their line of sight they would adjust or follow without me needing to say a word.
Ace was highly aloof by nature but willing to accept pets and scratches as long as no one actually restrained him or tried to block his access to me. We did have an issue with guy friends grabbing at me or picking me up, but easily resolved with a warning to not do those things. Billy loved that the guys would throw a ball all day, but would leave the game to follow me.
Now if I tell someone not to touch my dog and they ignore me, then I have an issue.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 05:35 PM
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I have always allowed it in that context. Dogs know the difference and it's not as if this is happening daily. So am occasional play with a new person should not be a big deal.

My working dogs go to campfires, BBQ, wine festivals, lake cabins. In these situations, if they are off leash(like a campfire or friends house BBQ) I don't even mind if one of my friends corrects one of my dogs for being rude. That said, I trust my friends and know they would never do something I wouldn't. And fir the most part it's a "Hey-get away from the hamburgers"

But my dogs have always been pets. Even when they were working SAR dogs. So they are a part of my day to day life.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all! Will take your views in consideration. The only thing that would worry me is how they would throw the ball. Deja is intense and I always makes sure that the ball is out of sight before releasing her to retrieve so she won't break her legs when she reaches the ball if she sees it ahead of time.
An exception is beach sand as it cushions that crazy halt.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2018, 07:54 PM
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The reason I don't like strangers throwing the ball for my dogs is my older girl must have been a soccer player in a previous lifetime. She likes to 'head' the ball, and when she does that, it becomes a menace to bystanders and any breakables within range. She's taken out a priceless porcelain antique lamp shade as well as the glass front of a china cabinet.

Other than that, I don't have a problem with it...
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