If only people were polite to dogs, the world would be a much easier place for dog owners.
We often take the simplest actions for granted. People think they know how to say ‘hello’ to dogs, but invariably get it wrong.
How many ‘doggy’ people do you see who rush up to a strange dog and overwhelm them, often waving their hands at a frustrated owner declaring, “it’s fine, all dogs love me!”
No they don’t.
Meeting a dog should be treated in the same way as you would meet a new person. You don’t rush up to them and invade their personal space. If someone did that to you, you’d feel intimidated and ‘on the back foot’.
If you add to that the feeling that you’re being restrained by a lead – overenthusiastic people can be quite a claustrophobic experience for dogs.
But if your dog reacts, brace yourself for a barrage of “you’ve got a dangerous dog”, “that dog should be muzzled” and other unpleasant comments aimed at your best friend.
But if a stranger rushed up to them, cornered them and starting touching their head, you can be certain that they would react.
So why do we, as human, expect animals to know our rules of etiquette and manners, and then ignore them ourselves anyway?
It’s very simple to work out: “How would I like to be greeted?”
If everyone gave dogs the sort of space and respect they would with other human beings, a lot of problems could be avoided and would never have started first place.
Every dog we meet is unique, every one of them is an individual who needs to be greeted with respect while you get to know them. So if everyone followed these rules…
1) Never touch a dog without asking the owners permission first.
2) Never touch a dog without letting the dog know that you’re there!
3) Don’t overwhelm and crowd a dog.
4) Don’t loom over a dog.
5) Don’t give them a treat without asking the owner. You have no idea if this dog has any special dietary requirements, intolerances, or worse problems like epilepsy which can be brought on by additives often found in commercial dog food and treats!
6) Don’t start ordering them around and try to ‘demand’ they sit. They don’t know you, why should they listen to you?
These things all seem rather obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people do just rush up to a dog as though they’re an old friend, and should just be pleased to see them.