When I take my dog for a walk, I’m really tempted to wear a sign around my neck that says, “Don’t pet him.”
I would follow this up with a second sign that reads, “Our dogs are not friends – don’t act like they are.”
But, signs around the neck are a little overboard, so I thought I would explain this to you, my readers. Then, it is your job to tell your friends so that they tell their friends, and the friends tell their friends until the whole world knows not to pet my dog. Or, for that matter, ANY dog.
One thing COVID-19 put to a halt was being approached by strangers while out on walks. Sometimes it would be somebody who decided to pet my dog without asking permission. Other times, it would be somebody who allowed their dog to run up to mine without permission. But during COVID-19, keeping a six-foot distance prohibited that.
However, more than a year into the pandemic, fewer people are religiously abiding by the six-foot rule. Thus, the return of my frustration.
You should never, NEVER go pet a dog without talking to its owner. And you ESPECIALLY should not let your dog approach it without seeking the same permission.
I’m going to use my dog as a classic example of why forgoing permission is a problem. I rescued him when he was picked up off the streets, and while I don’t know his background, I do know his triggers. He hates being approached suddenly, dislikes tall men, and gets really aggressive with big dogs. All probably for a reason, but for a reason unknown to me.
Aside from just being rude, people and dogs who approach my dog without asking could cause someone to get hurt. My dog doesn’t have teeth (again, no idea why!) but still has the ability to clamp onto a person or a dog pretty painfully. And, if he does that to a dog that responds aggressively in turn, my little dog could get really hurt.
Some people may be okay with you and your dog visiting with their dog – that’s great. I’m not one of them. Either way, here is your public service announcement for the day: Always, ALWAYS, ask permission for you (or your dog) to approach another dog.*
*Obvious exception being dog parks. Go crazy there.