Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Can My Dog Say Hello?
What I wasn't prepared for when telling people that my dog can't say hello - the nasty owners. God forbid you say 'no' to someone who wants their dogs to greet yours. The looks that I get! One woman on our walk yesterday actually huffed at me. I was worried people would think it was a breed issue so I started telling people she isn't allowed to greet on leash.
Here's how it goes:
Overenthusiasticmydogmustsayhellotoeveryoneperson: "Can he/she say hi?"
Me: "No. I don't let her greet on leash."
Nowpuzzledperson: "Isn't she friendly?"
Me: "She's friendly. I just don't let her greet on leash."
Cue nasty/confused look.
I have men run right up to me with their little white fluffy dogs at least once every other walk. It's like they need to prove their own dog is 'man' enough to not be scared of my 'pit bull'. Don't laugh. I'm convinced that's what it is. If I cross the street, they do too. It's crazy making stuff. I try so hard not to get annoyed, but what do you do when you just want to be left alone? I want a nice, quiet walk with my well behaved and friendly dog. She can greet people. She just cannot greet other dogs. My rules.
Another aspect of it is the training issue. Walks are still training time. I want to be Lily's focus. If she's allowed to greet, it's like she's got ADHD and is hyperalert to every dog. She can't focus on me because she's too excited about the dog coming down the street that she's going to get to greet and maybe romp around with. Since I stopped letting her greet, I am the sole focus. This is great for training. I like to throw in extra things, like running on walls, then jumping off to my command and performing a few tricks before moving on to the next wall. (I don't have an agility dog so we pretend - it makes Mama happy and it tuckers Lily out) It's nice to know that she's focused 100% on me and ignoring that barking dog at the end of the flexie leash!
A trainer once asked me, "Do you like every person you meet?" In light of my Living Humanely post on Monday, I feel terrible admitting that no, I do not like every person I meet. There are people in my own family that I'm not fond of. She followed my response with, "Then why should your dog like EVERY dog she meets?" Hmmmm, good point. "Do you say hello to every single person you see on your walk?" No, I gave that up a long time ago. Not many people say hello back. "Then why should your dog be expected to say hello to every single dog she sees?" Another good point. If only every other dog owner out there were to ponder those two questions!
There is a wonderful new group now - Dogs In Need of Space (DINOs). You can find them on Facebook. Here is their take on the My Dog Is Friendly!
Is your dog friendly? Do you let him or her greet on walks? Or does your dog need space?