All of us, humans and dogs, have spatial needs. What I like to call your “bubble”. When someone invades your space or bubble, it makes you uncomfortable. It is the same sensation for a dog. Just because you have a furry friend on the end of your leash, does not give anyone the right to stick their hand in the dogs face, or allow their dog to greet without asking.
I am not sure why two leggers always think all four leggers must like each other. Just like you and I, a dog can have an instant dislike to someone they meet for the first time. Body language, scent, color of hair, the energy emanating from them…… who knows why they get that feeling. I know I have met people for the first time and my hackles go up and I think to myself…wow….I don’t know what it is, but I do not like this person. Please respect the dog and respect the owner for taking care of their dogs needs first.
I have had people tell me they are embarrassed to ask someone to please not pet their dog. Or to show someone a more respectful way of greeting their dog. Do any of us really care if a stranger likes us or what they think of us? I know I don’t. My first and foremost responsibility is to the furry one on the end of MY leash. I will protect them with everything I have. And I am sure you will too. I always try to be polite, no matter what. And ALWASYS thank the person for asking first. I appreciate common courtesy and I try my very best to always have that when I am out and about with my dogs.
When meeting other dogs in public, please ask the human if you or your dog can “greet” their dog. If the person says yes, good for you!!! If they say no, please respect their request. It is nothing personal, and it is no reflection on you. The human part of the equation is trying to keep their dog AND your dog or you, safe. As long as you smile and politely tell someone yes or no, and thank them for asking, or you smile politely and tell the person you understand and respect their “no” response, you will be pleasantly surprised at how your answer is respected. No need to be mean or harsh.
In keeping with this thought, I ran across a terrific blog , Stand Up for Your Dog, about being your dog’s advocate and making sure your dog is safe no matter what anyone else thinks. This blog puts into writing, the same advice I teach in all of my classes.
As the saying goes, you always get more bees with honey.