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I guess I was rude, but I don't care. ;)

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Attended a dog-friendly event today. The GoFest (Go Outside Festival) is a wonderful 2.5 day event that promotes the area's extensive outside activities. It includes great food trucks (best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had!), a lot of outdoor equipment vendors (bikes, clothing, slacklines, emo hammocks, etc.), music, booths for conservation groups, hiking groups and others, fly fishing demos and a space for people to try out a fly-fishing rod - and so much more. The best part is the set-ups for agility, flyball and dock diving. People are encouraged to let their dogs try any activity they want. (Torque did agility and Kiefer did dock-diving!!)

 

Lots of dogs, but the organizers had designed wide spacing between the various booths and demo areas so there were very few places where people and dogs had to crowd together.

 

DH and I are walking, in a fairly open area, between one group of booths and another. He has Torque (older, less squirrely) and I have Kiefer (~19 months old, who was positively vibrating with all the awesome activity around). They were doing well. I saw a youngish female (12-14 years old?) walking towards us with a white pitty-looking dog. Dog seemed fine, just wanted to smell everything and everybody. She had a big smile on her face as her dog investigated everything. I could tell we were right in her path so we altered our route to avoid the dog, but she just let the dog keep coming at us - and I look behind me and she is following us while her dog has his nose up Kiefer's butt. Smiling broadly. (OK, I realize that she is young and is just enjoying the fact that her dog is friendly and having a good time.)

 

I say 'Please take your dog away. Thank you' and keep walking. [i was probably somewhat gruff, but how do you say that more tactfully?] She did, but then her older brother? father? (I couldn't tell since I was walking away and only saw him out of the corner of my eye) came up and asked her what had happened. She told him, and then he starts shouting at me that I shouldn't be bringing my dogs to this event if they weren't friendly.

 

I probably could have handled it better (any suggestions?), but I just felt that it was better to keep moving. I feel sort of mean for crushing the young girl's enjoyment of letting her dog be "friendly".

 

Luckily that dog didn't put his nose up Torque's butt who will deal with rude dogs in an unfriendly manner.

 

I must say, that most people at the event were keeping their dogs separate and not allowing the nose-to-nose greeting that tends to start trouble.

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I had an encounter like this with Kylie, of all dogs, this summer while we were on vacation (so not around here - Northern Michigan, touristy area).


Some little kid came running up to Kylie, clearly intent on grabbing her. Parents trailing behind just smiling. I body blocked the toddler and gave a really brief explanation that amounted to 'Kylie isn't familiar with small children, don't.' Got an earful of almost exactly the same kind of thing. "If your dog isn't friendly, they shouldn't be out in public."

 

I'm sorry. I didn't realize that the criteria for having my dog out in public was their willingness to be entertainment for other dogs/people. I kind of thought the criteria was under control and safe, not creating issues for other dogs or people. Which is what I was doing, in stopping a toddler grabbing two handfuls of fluffy Kylie and hoping she didn't decide to correct - or more likely be miserable and shut down and develop a deep hatred of children.

 

I can't even suggest being less gruff/more polite. If you try to avoid offending people that way, they *just plain don't listen*.

 

As an aside, I intended to go to GoFest with Kylie and Thud but ultimately didn't. Next year.

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You know what happened to me. I was out in one of my customer's back yard with her lab something big dog. Her neighbor came out and dangled his toddler over the fence. I told him Sammy had never been around kids and not to do that. He just looked at me with this blank stare and then dangled him some more. I was pretty sure wouldn't hurt the kid but I couldn't believe what he was doing.

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The only thing I may have done differently would have been to use that as a teaching moment for that young girl and said "you should always ask the other owners before letting your dog approach other dogs" which may have been even ruder.

 

I'm pretty over people thinking that their "friendly" dogs are the only ones allowed out in public, and can go up and greet other dogs whenever they want.

 

I just had some people give me a hard time after I asked them to leash their dogs on a leash-required-by-law hiking trail. Their response was "What? Is your dog not good with other dogs?" "He's not great, and he was attacked by another dog on Monday, so I'm trying to limit the unfamiliar dog interactions until I get a good feel for how he's reacting to other dogs, plus leashes are required in this park"

 

They did leash the dogs, but gave us an earful about the dogs being under voice control and we shouldn't bring our dog out there if he's not good with other dogs, etc. I'm sorry, 90% of the dogs that are "under voice control" aren't, I have no reason to believe yours are any different, and my job is to protect my dog, not make you happy. We don't go to off-leash parks, because that's not his scene, and I'm not asking you to leash your dogs where they aren't required to be leashed. But there's no reason we should not be able to enjoy the miles of on-leash hiking in our neighborhood because you don't want to follow the rules, and walking in our neighborhood has proven to not be safe from off-leash dogs either, so does my dog have to just stay inside all day because you don't feel like following the law?

 

This is long and off topic so in sum, you weren't rude, your priority is your dog.

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I tell them that my dog doesn't like other dogs and might bite. It's possible, if not probable. But how you say it has as much to do with it being polite as anything. Some people refuse to hear anything polite, so I get between them and my dog and say, "SHE BITES"

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Grrr grr grr. My recent post about a very similar encounter in our local park is just more of the same.

 

You can't do anything but BE rude. These people put you in that position. They put you in the position of managing YOUR in-control dog and THEIR not in control dog. And for all this nonsense about the dog's being under voice control, I call BS. I know an in control dog, and these dogs are NOT.

 

I'm trying to develop a "teachable moment" discussion for these owners to explain why their dogs can't be allowed to charge at other people or dogs... but I don't think it can sound like anything but the criticism and correction it is. ::Sigh::

 

Same park for me again, today. I was walking Cricket. Crossed paths with another woman without a dog, so I put Cricket on leash. A husky came running down the path. This other woman - a complete stranger - said, "I heard some people complaining about off-leash dogs. I'm usually OK with it, but where is this dog's owner?" I pointed waaaaaay back on the path and said, "There they are." Random lady said, "That's way too far."

 

I picked up Cricket to avoid the husky jumping on her. This other woman was so disbelieving about the husky that she actually held the dog's collar to keep him away from me. When the owner came, the other woman - who LITERALLY HAD NO DOG TO WORRY ABOUT! - said, "Your dog is way too far from you." The owner said, "Oh, he always comes when he calls." The woman said, "You shouldn't let your dog approach people." The owner said, "He's only ten months old."

 

I didn't say a word. I was stupefied at how clueless this woman was! Immediately after she moved away from me, a jogging man with a leashed ridgeback came along, and the husky ran at the ridgeback, who snarled and growled and lunged at the husky. The jogging man continued running and pulling his dog as the husky owner called "Oh my GOD" and tried to get her dog to come to her. He pursued the ridgeback for a bit, then finally came, and was leashed... but I saw nearly the EXACT same encounter repeat as I was leaving the park.

 

IT IS UNBELIEVABLE HOW CLUELESS PEOPLE ARE!!

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GCV-border- I have no way of knowing this, of course. But it is entirely possible that not only did you not ruin her enjoyment of having her dog out and about, she might have in no way agreed with the assessment of the man who was angry with you. People that age are used to being told what to do, and are often more open to a new idea like that than the adults around them!

 

Besides, if she then sees her dog doing it at another stage and pulls them back, she could avoid an accident which has much greater potential to ruin her enjoyment of bringing her dog out- and her dog's enjoyment too.

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People are clueless about dog behavior :/

 

I was at a local dog specialty store yesterday. I had my 3 y/o niece who is very polite around dogs and has excellent dog manners. There was a smaller mixed breed dog with an "adopt me" cape on. So we walked over, asked and my niece was given permission to pet it. She takes a few steps forward and reaches out and the dog starts growling and snapping at her. Argh!!

 

We moved away quickly. And a minute later I hear the dog growling at someone else. Do they take a hint and leave because the dog is obviously stressed and unsuited for the environment? Nope. They continue to keep it there and try to soothe it. And the store was busy - Saturday with a special event going on in town :/

 

I'm probably going to call tomorrow and tell the owner what happened and strongly suggest that they encourage the animal shelter to better train their volunteers.

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I had a dog blow-up in a pet store, much like you describe (not at a child). I pulled her out of there and apologised profusely. She was never taken back.

 

MBC1963- fair play to the woman without a dog!

 

CptJack- just remember the magic response: "If you can't control your child, you shouldn't be out in public. Your child could hurt themselves or someone else. We are beside a busy road/a pond, you should have an eye on them."

 

Okay, I have never had occasion to use it since I decided it would be my response in that situation. But someday...

 

"And that is the story of how Simba got punched in the face by an angry parent"

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First thing: As a kid, I remember that when "reprimanded" by a stranger (telling me gruffly not to do something would fall into that category), especially when I didn't know I was doing anything wrong, I would feel like I had been punched in the stomach. It sucked. And I know I wasn't the only kid like that. Even as an adult, someone getting irritated with me (as far as I knew out of the blue) would still be a bit upsetting.

 

Second thing: Even now, having had Aed for over a year and considering myself decently knowledgeable about dogs, I still am often unsure how to read other owners. They all have different opinions about what they like and don't like their dog to do. Something I might see as completely normal and reasonable between two dogs, they might be uncomfortable with, and vice versa. It's difficult to tell when someone who's standing there with a strange expression on their face is unhappy and trying to hint at it, or is just focused and I'm being oversensitive. Point being, even when you think your hint is obvious, it can be hard to tell, especially for someone younger and who doesn't know much about dogs.

 

So...I don't think it's unreasonable that a young teenager be walking a friendly dog on their own. I also don't think it's unreasonable that she didn't take the hint. I DO think it's unreasonable that a parent would react that way, obviously. But, I don't think it's unreasonable to make an effort to be more polite with kids, as they are impressionable. Turning it into a teaching moment is a great idea, and generally just being more clear. All it takes is an "Okay Kiefer have a sniff. -pause- Alright, time to go now! Bye bye." or, if you don't want him to interact, say something like "Aw, cute dog. Sorry, Kiefer here's pretty over-excited already, maybe he can say hello a different time? You two have fun though." and walk away.

I'm not saying you did anything wrong, but if you want to avoid conflict it's usually worth being sensitive with kids, or anyone really. It only takes a second. I understand that it would be ideal if everyone was dog savvy and observant, but unfortunately it's not the case, and assuming they are is just going to frustrate you.

 

 

 

P.S. As far as people saying if you're dog's not friendly etc., I've never had someone say that to me, but my answer would be something along these lines:

 

Long Form (What I'd ideally say if they didn't interrupt):

"If your dog's not friendly he shouldn't be out in public!"

"Just because my dog and your dog have different pet peeves doesn't mean my dog is less friendly than yours. My dog is perfectly friendly. But just like any friendly, civil human, he does not have infinite patience and tolerance for things that scare, upset, or irritate him. He's no more likely to snarl at someone than you are to walk up and randomly start yelling at me. But if I walked up and started pulling your hair, or dropped a spider on you, I wouldn't be surprised if you were angry. Because those things are irritating or scary. Well, he's the same way. That doesn't make him unfriendly. It makes him normal."

 

Medium Form (what I'd more realistically have time to say):

"He's perfectly friendly, like I imagine you were a minute ago. But when something upset you you got irritated. He's the same way. Neither of you are dangerous or shouldn't be allowed to be in public. You're just typical beings that react when they're scared, upset, or irritated. It doesn't make him unfriendly, it make him normal."


Short form (What I'd say if I were particularly pissed off):

"If he's not friendly he shouldn't be in public."
"You're out in public, aren't you?"

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First off, I don't want you to take this as a chide or patronizing - just a bit of information you might find useful.


After a couple/few years around dog sports and dog activities, I've learned to ask before:
A-) Feeding someone else's dog

B-) Petting/touching someone else's dog

C-) Allowing your dog and someone else's dog(s) to interact at all.

 

People are going to vary in their preferences with these things and they're often informed by the DOG's preferences/temperament, or where they are in training and what they're working on.

 

My default when out and about or even at a dog activity is that if I don't know the owner and dog and I'm not DANGED sure about their 'rules' I ask. More often, I just ignore the other dogs utterly. Even if I'm neck deep in dogs at a dog event, I maintain distance enough so that the dogs can't make contact, don't try and pet, don't introduce myself, and don't feed treats.

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Short form (What I'd say if I were particularly pissed off):

"If he's not friendly he shouldn't be in public."

"You're out in public, aren't you?"

^^Love that.

 

gcv-border, I don't think that you were rude. Maybe abrupt, but the response from the parent was what was rude and uncalled-for. JMO.

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You were not rude.

 

Why do people think dogs don't deserve their personal space?

 

My GSD is really mellow and he is very good with small dogs. I can't tell you how many times some uncontrolled little dog has come rushing up to my dog barking its fool head off and the owner scoops up the tiny pooch and glares at me. Seriously? If you think my dog is going to eat your dog why are you letting it run wild?

 

My 13 year old daughter knows not to let any strange dogs anywhere near her when she is with one of our dogs. My kid isn't perfect. At one event I caught her hugging a strange dog. The owner looked a little alarmed and I said calmly, "I don't think he wants a hug". Later that day I discussed with my kid that she wouldn't hug a strange human so she shouldn't hug a strange dog.

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That could've been a great learning experience before the parent got involved.

 

Imagine if instead you were telling us the story "I went to a fun dog fest, Kiefer was pretty excited. A nice young girl was following a bit too close with her dog, so I asked that she stay back a little. She learned and continued with her fun day."

 

I don't think you were in the wrong at all. I think, given her age, I might have gone to the effort to explain a little why it'd be better for her to stay back. I've given up on most adults, but I think kids are still pretty maliable. I, like Chene, took criticism very harshly as a kid. If it were me with the pitty, I would never have forgotten the time I was asked to give someone their space. If someone took the time to explain to me that their dog was very friendly, but that they were trying to teach him calm behaviors out in public, I would have taken that extremely well. Perhaps the parent of the kid would have been a little less upset if it were phrased that way.

 

But. Parents seem to really get a nerve plucked by anybody giving precious little Johnny directions. Johnny is a brilliant, talented, passionate child who will not be treated like anything but a prince. I don't care if he's being "disruptive in class", he's just expressing himself and he will not take any teacher putting him down.

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Short form (What I'd say if I were particularly pissed off):

"If he's not friendly he shouldn't be in public."

"You're out in public, aren't you?"

Love this too ^^^.

 

That could've been a great learning experience before the parent got involved.

 

snip

 

I don't think you were in the wrong at all. I think, given her age, I might have gone to the effort to explain a little why it'd be better for her to stay back. I've given up on most adults, but I think kids are still pretty maliable. I, like Chene, took criticism very harshly as a kid. If it were me with the pitty, I would never have forgotten the time I was asked to give someone their space. If someone took the time to explain to me that their dog was very friendly, but that they were trying to teach him calm behaviors out in public, I would have taken that extremely well. Perhaps the parent of the kid would have been a little less upset if it were phrased that way.

 

 

I remember being incredibly shy as a kid, and would have been very embarrassed too. Probably would have wanted to crawl into a hole. But it would have been a very strong, and not soon forgotten, lesson.

 

Yes, it was the 'parent' who injected the incident with nastiness - and I don't think did any favors for the kid. Just gave her the wrong message IMHO.

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I rarely take my dogs into public anymore because of people being ridiculous. I mean, take any other item that you have out in public and the logic people apply to dogs make absolutely no sense,

 

"Oh what a pretty purse you have, may I hold it?"

"Umm, no."

"Why do you have your purse out in public if you don't want people touching it?"

 

I mean that conversation sounds absolutely absurd but sub dog for purse and that's what we deal with every single day. I just do not get the fanaticism about dogs in public. I even get aggravated when people ask me if they can pet them. No, leave me alone, I don't go around asking to pet you or your children, don't bother me and ask me to pet my dog. And no, my dog does not want to be friends with your dog, and your dog really doesn't want to be friends with him. If we pass without letting them sniff each other and go on about our day they will be both be fine and will not pine for each other, promise.

 

Note, this post may be slightly colored by the ridiculous weekend I have had, but I stand by it in sentiment.

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"Oh what a pretty purse you have, may I hold it?"

"Umm, no."

"Why do you have your purse out in public if you don't want people touching it?"

 

Love this.

 

Everyone want to pick up my Papillons because they are little and furry and cute. They really don't like being picked up by strangers. They like to be petted but not picked up. People are surprised. I often get asked "oh were they abused?" Umm, no. Why would it be weird they prefer to not have strangers manhandle?

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Dear Doggers,

 

Every few years we've had doggy fandangos at home. My road rules are simple: no dog fights, no bites. Ever. In 30 years and lord knows how many miles/cities/countries/farms: no fights, no bites. To this end I avoid other people and their dogs - on or off leash - (mine are almost always off) by timing and design.

 

I will embarrass myself (and others) if I must to achieve these goals. I try to arrive at hotels/motels early (before 5) when room selection is still pretty good and the lobby is uncrowded. But I remember once when I arrived late, Fly was still nipping (which counts as a bite) and though I'd checked in I had to bring her (on leash) through twenty/thirty children and adults. In a loud voice I announced, "Would you please step back a bit so we can pass? This dog is unreliable!" Embarrassing but nobody got bit.

 

Sheepdog trials are usually no problem. But sometimes: At Montpelier once I was walking June and a woman approached with a couple kids. "Can they pet the dog?"

 

June was bulletproof. "Sure."

 

Whereupon, one of the kids announced, "I think I'll kick her."

 

I replied, "Do and I'll kick you."

 

He didn't. His mother was offended. Tough shit.

 

My first duty as leader of my little pack is to keep my dogs safe. My second duty is to keep others safe. If I can be polite about it, I will. But I will not, not once,not ever, fail in my duty because I might hurt someone's feelings.

 

Donald McCaig

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As a kid if I even tried to touch someone's dog (let alone threateded to kick one) without asking I got a smack upside the head and my mom would apologize to the dog's owner. I get it kids will be kids because they don't know better, but I also believe it is up to the parents to make sure their kids are respectful of others. Not offended that you would correct their child for being a brat. I work at a school and live in my school's district, so I get kids trying to pet my dogs without asking because they 'know me' from school. My dogs are unpredictable with kids and I don't want anyone to get hurt and blame the dog so I have forcefully stepped in between kids and my dogs and told the kids not to touch them. Usually saying they are scared of strangers works with the younger kids, however adults are another story. Since I have 'cute fluffy dogs' adults also often try to pet them if I move them off to the side of the sidewalk to let other people pass and work with my dogs on stay. They assume I stopped to let them get petted I guess. Something tells me if I had a pitbul or GSD they wouldn't try the same stunt.

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Whereupon, one of the kids announced, "I think I'll kick her."

 

I replied, "Do and I'll kick you."

 

He didn't. His mother was offended. Tough shit.

 

OMG! I can't believe it; I once had exactly the same scenario play one day at a library! Bodhi and I were there for a therapy dog reading event.

 

OK, I guess it wasn't exactly the same. What I said was, "If you kick my dog, I'll kick you." But the mom was quite offended -- and surprisingly some of my therapy dog handler colleagues were pretty surprised I would say that as well.

 

Like you though, my reaction was, tough shit. The kid needed to understand the consequences of doing something so brutal.

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My first duty as leader of my little pack is to keep my dogs safe. My second duty is to keep others safe. If I can be polite about it, I will. But I will not, not once,not ever, fail in my duty because I might hurt someone's feelings.

 

Donald McCaig

This is my policy as well. My dogs count on me, as they should, and I will not let them down.

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My first duty as leader of my little pack is to keep my dogs safe. My second duty is to keep others safe. If I can be polite about it, I will. But I will not, not once,not ever, fail in my duty because I might hurt someone's feelings.

 

This is a great way to think of it.

 

Also what possesses a kid to announce to the owner of a dog that s/he's going to kick said dog? That's got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

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