Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Is that too much to ask?
Imagine a scenario where your child runs off to say hi to every stranger that they come across whilst on a walk with you – and attempts to ask for a cuddle or tugs at the skirt of an unknown person.
Now imagine your dog running off to say hi to every person it comes across during your walk.
Both are the same scenarios but for some reason, most humans have set different personal boundaries when it comes to dogs and children. It is NOT acceptable for a child (or anyone for that matter) to run up to strangers without consent, and the same should apply to your dog.
My recommendation is always the same:
Be polite, ASK the owner if you and your dog can say hi to their dog. It is just basic manners.
Be considerate to other owners. Your dog may be friendly but most dogs do not like random strangers rushing into it's personal space.
If you encourage a habit of letting your dog ‘socialise’ by allowing your dog to say hi to all humans, dogs, birds, flower, or stones on the walk (on its own terms) – that is a habit that you are cultivating. You will find yourself being dragged in whichever direction your dog deems interesting - not fun when you have a 30kg dog at the end of the leash. However, it also does not mean that a 3kg dog should be allowed to drag it's owner around.
If you teach your dog to seek your permission before it is allowed to say hi or go off to sniff something, you will find your walk to be a much more pleasant experience.
Some scenarios where another owner would appreciate you asking for permission
The other owner is training their dog and would prefer not to be disturbed
Dog has a disability eg blind or deaf and does not want to be shocked by a sudden intrusion
Dog was previously attacked by another dog and takes time to warm up to new dogs
Dog is generally anxious and does not like people or dogs rushing up to them
In summary, just as you were taught as a child –
Teach yourself AND your dog to ask for permission.
If you would like to start your children right, this is the perfect book to guide them with
Click here for information