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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:18 PM
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National “No, You Can’t Pet My Dog” Day

I thought this article was pretty interesting.

http://networkedblogs.com/i2gUg

National “No, You Can’t Pet My Dog” Day

In honor of this year’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, I’ve got a post for each day! Dog bites are almost entirely preventable – especially bites to children. What will YOU do this week to prevent a dog bite?

Me? I’m going to tell a small child that he or she can’t pet my dog. In fact, I’ve already done it and here’s how it went:

Barely walking baby toddles in my dog’s direction. Mom smiles, “Is your dog friendly?”

I smile back and say, “My dog needs her space. She’s old and her back is sore today. She won’t enjoy being petted.”

Mom clutches her child and sort of glares at me as she walks off.

Wow, that’s pretty uncomfortable for everyone, but I can get over it knowing my response will not contribute to that little boy being magnetized to dogs. Plus, it made the parents around me think twice about their own children rushing up to dogs, too. Who knows? Maybe I prevented lots of bites by introducing the possibility that people might say, “No, you can’t pet my dog.”

Right there is my issue with the focus on telling children merely to ask before touching dogs — people almost always say, “Yes.” Why is that a problem?

1. Children (and adults!) no longer wait for an answer because they presume it’s going to be yes. Waiting for an answer drops out of the sequence and you often get kids who parrot, “May I pet your dog?” and then they’re moving right in before you can say anything. After all, why not? They asked, didn’t they?
2. Because people expect a “Yes,” they do not know how to respond to a “No” and take it personally or get annoyed. This leads to pet owners giving in to social pressure and feeling like they have to say “yes” when they’d rather say “no.”

(Parents should take careful note of #2! Just because someone says “Yes,” doesn’t mean it’s safe for your child to touch that dog!)

So, here’s my proposal. Pick a day and practice nicely saying, “No” to anyone who asks to pet your dog. Heck, you can even say, “I’m sorry, but it’s National ‘No, You Can’t Pet My Dog’ Day so I just can’t.” Go ahead – blame it on me!

The result of more “no’s” will be more people who stop to wait for an answer and probably less frequent willy-nilly asking because now they’re considering the possibility of a “No” response. I think people will become more discerning and begin to take notice of the signs that someone doesn’t want to let a child pet their dog.

What About Kids That Rush Up Without Asking?

Even if you’re saying “No” to someone asking to pet your dog, please do reinforce that behavior of asking because there are plenty of kid and adults who do not ask.

If you are confronted by a wandering child pursuing your dog, you will need to be very directive. If you have kids of your own, it becomes second nature to boss other people’s kids around, but I know it can feel awkward if you’re not used to it. Expect to use a “stop” hand signal and use very direct language: “Wait. My dog needs more space.” Or, “Stop! Stay where you are.” If you get into the sweet talking, “Wait a minute, honey, I’m not sure my dog is comfortable right now, OK?,” you’re done for.

My rule of thumb is that I will not consider letting a child touch my dog unless he or she is developmentally able to carry on a conversation with me. If all they can do is repeat after their Mom, “Can I pet your dog?,” it’s not going to happen. And, yes, parents are usually annoyed with me, but the more we all set limits for our dogs and children, the more normal it will seem that babies/toddlers should not be experimenting on other people’s dogs.

Below is a series of unused clips I shot for my Dogs Like Kids They Feel Safe With film. The time limit didn’t allow for this segment and the clips are completely unpolished. Watch at least the beginning, though, to see the body posture and words used to dissuade a running child.

Just say, “No,” and see what happens!
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Old May 18th, 2011, 10:54 PM
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Excellent article, LP, though my reaction, because of my breeds, would probably frighten the sweet little children, it'd be a loud and firm "No, you can't!", leaving them in no doubt at all. They'd risk a bite depending on which ACD it was, or they could freak my sheltie right out as they are not used to children. I had trouble even with adults refusing to take no for an answer, pestering me to allow them to pat a handsome red dog I had, it did get tedious. It'd be "Oh, he's wagging his tail, are you sure I can't pat him?"(No, I just live with the dog, why should I know what he's like, huh? LOL) My short answer had to be "He'll wag it and still bite you". Too much dingo in that particular boy and he was fine if people just let him choose when he had accepted them, once he did they could pat him. He'd give them a nudge with his nose as an invitation. He was actually good with kids, he just kept out of their way. Loved to play ball with them but would avoid contact.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 11:10 PM
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Excellent article, LP, though my reaction, because of my breeds, would probably frighten the sweet little children, it'd be a loud and firm "No, you can't!", leaving them in no doubt at all.
I just got a visual of a confused child's face after that

Because lots of parents unfortunately don't teach their children not to pet strange dogs, this is a method where they certainly won't forget...a little hurt feelings in the learning process maybe but, well worth it if it prevents future injuries to that child.

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...he was fine if people just let him choose when he had accepted them, once he did they could pat him. He'd give them a nudge with his nose as an invitation.
Omd, Lucky is exactly like that! (not the part being good with kids though ) If a visitor he's never met before gives direct eye contact, or tries to touch him right away, that's it, Lucky won't trust them. But ignore him completely, give him a chance to smell you a few seconds, and before you know it, he'll be licking the tips of your fingers and start nudging for pets. Then he'll be glued to your legs for the rest of the visit .
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Old May 19th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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Here's another amazing article by by Dr. Sophia Yin (it's "dog bite prevention week" so I'll likely be posting lots of links here). At the end of this one, there's a wonderful poster you can download. Great for putting up at schools and community centers .

http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/pr...-dogs-properly
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Old May 19th, 2011, 12:24 AM
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I just got a visual of a confused child's face after that

LOL



Omd, Lucky is exactly like that! (not the part being good with kids though ) If a visitor he's never met before gives direct eye contact, or tries to touch him right away, that's it, Lucky won't trust them. But ignore him completely, give him a chance to smell you a few seconds, and before you know it, he'll be licking the tips of your fingers and start nudging for pets. Then he'll be glued to your legs for the rest of the visit .
That is Thorin as well! And people always rush to pet him. I tell people all the time that he's shy and doesn't like people he doesn;t know, so please don't pet him. But... you'd be amazed at the amount of people who totally ignore that and make the dumbest comments like "oh... it's ok, animals LOVE me!" and reach for him anyway
The problem with that is if they get bit, guess who's in trouble? Thorin. People irritate me lol
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:04 AM
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Walking Bailey(not my dog)who is kind of smallish and cute,I always have to tell people not to pet her,she has growled and lunged at strangers approaching.
It's as if people believe she's not a big dog and will not bite

She does not do that to everyone and has never bitten anyone,but I will not let anyone pet her,maybe being deaf the past year,makes her feel insecure..she's a real cuddle-bug with us though.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:18 AM
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What a good idea. I've always done the hand instruction and allowed a pet with my dogs but do have some practice saying NO when out with my sister's last dog. He bit little kids. It's a wonder Sis did not have serious complaints about him, especially when one kid had to go to hospital.

I did politely tell off one parent who told his boy he could pet my dog when the boy was obviously afraid to and didn't really want to. The man actually chastised his son and told him, "you know dogs don't bite." First of all, yes they do, and second, it's ME, the dogs owner, who gives permission, not you. But then I let him pet, darn, shouldn't have.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:13 AM
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So I have an unusual circumstance with my two. The Boston will only allow children to pet her and my manchester is flighty with children mostly because of scooters, back packs, balls etc...... So when children come up to me I tell them to pet the one, but I'm still nervous cause the other is so close anyways they always end up patting him against my wishes. I think from now on I'll say "No" cause I could see my manchester nipping Both these dogs were raised with many many many children as I run a daycare, I never never leave the dogs and kids unsupervised EVER........Dogs see children as unpredictable so they don't know how to react, I see the same with "Cats" too (am I right cat people)?
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Old May 19th, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Any dog has the potential to react regardless of how one 'thinks' their dogs are.
What works for me: I don't look approachable, and therefore it does not invite someone to even ask. Easy enough.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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It's interesting, I find it's the kids who ask permission to pat Byron, but the adults do it regardless. Even if he is wearing his vest, some adults will gravitate to him to pet him. Though some parents are great, when we are working on our "search" (we're training for tracking and finding various things), parents will say he is a working dog, so no one can bother him when he's working. Some people avoid us because I tell him "Search!" and he starts sniffing around, if he finds something off (like tobacco), he alerts me and people seem to see that as a drug sniffer dog, lol.

But anyways, I got off topic, I will be saying no more often. I know I personally always ask to approach a dog, I see too many people assume that animals are a free for all and can do as they please.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 02:25 PM
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I tell children all the time not to pet Shadow, but Halo would love their attention. Occasionally they don't like that and they seem to focus on Shadow so I have to be more aggressive in my responses with them. Shadow did kids and now she's done with them. She doesn't bite, she just tries to hide, but she will snap loudly if they push her. That will usually deter the kids too! And their parents!

Reminds me of the one about the fellow standing outside a store with a dog sitting beside him. Somebody approaches them and asks the man "Does your dog bite?" The guy says no, so the stranger reaches out to pet the dog. The dog bites him. The stranger says to the man "You told me your dog doesn't bite!" The man replies "That's not my dog."
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Old May 19th, 2011, 02:40 PM
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Seeing as I am new to all this doggie stuff this to me sounds genius....I am always shocked at how many people approach V with their hands out without even acknowledging me first....even when she has her muzzle on! I learned very quick that I have to watch everyone around us and be very aware of what they are doing. I even used a similar line on a lady out gardening the other day saying something like please ignore my dog or something and she says 'oh I'm not affraid' and continued to approach us...to which I answered a little snarkily 'well you should be'.... I got quite the look, but also got my point across. Most of us here are smart enough to know that you always ask first, but I can't get over how many people out there were never taught that....so the more kids we teach that to the better I think!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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I left work yesterday and approached a cute little BT. I asked his owner if he was friendly. He laughed and said he sure is. He loves everyone. This as his "loving" doggie jumped up and started humping my leg!!! Yep, he was friendly all right!!!

Great idea though LP. Thanks for sharing!
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Old May 19th, 2011, 02:46 PM
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I tell children all the time not to pet Shadow, but Halo would love their attention. Occasionally they don't like that and they seem to focus on Shadow so I have to be more aggressive in my responses with them. Shadow did kids and now she's done with them. She doesn't bite, she just tries to hide, but she will snap loudly if they push her. That will usually deter the kids too! And their parents!

Reminds me of the one about the fellow standing outside a store with a dog sitting beside him. Somebody approaches them and asks the man "Does your dog bite?" The guy says no, so the stranger reaches out to pet the dog. The dog bites him. The stranger says to the man "You told me your dog doesn't bite!" The man replies "That's not my dog."
LOL That sort of happened to us. We walked to the store from my Mum's house and picked up a big loose GSD along the way. He sat outside the store and while we located our milk and bread I noticed a man who had paid as we entered was hovering near the door. I caught his eye and he said, indicating the dog, "That's OK, I'll just wait till you're ready to leave." He was afraid to go out. Poor man, he looked even more worried when I told him it wasn't our dog, it had followed us. I did go out and talk to the dog so the man could get into his car. And escape.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 02:52 PM
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If I am walking the entire pack at once, I do not allow children to pet them. Not because I am afraid the child would get bit but the child would get swarmed and that can be just as frightening. My dogs love children, and I gauge which children can pet my dogs by their energy. So if I see a hyper out of control kid coming with parent chasing, no that child isn't coming near my pack. I will firmly put out my hand and say "no, you can't come near my dogs". A calm relaxed child, yes I welcome them to pet my dogs. I want them to know that my Pitbulls aren't child eating monsters.
So for me I take each "child encounter" as they come and decide by the childs behavior if it's right for my dogs.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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I really don't see the problem. I walk 5 dogs. I walk briskly and look ahead. I make no eye contact with anyone. No one approaches, no one asks to pet the dog(s) and no one gesters that they want to. This goes for one dog or all 5.
When I am walking and see people, I move my pack to the opposite side of the street so again avoiding any contact with people and their stupidity.

It is no petting animals at no time.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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See with me I often have the opposite problem. Both my girls LOVE people. Shadow will often spot somebody coming up behind us on the sidewalk and will actually sit down and refuse to move until they get close enough that she can greet them. I can usually judge by the people if they're interested in saying hi to her or not, and go with my gut on it. Many people will go wide of us, and others don't flinch at all and then we'll often talk a bit and I'll ask if they'd like to say hello to the senior there as it really makes her day. But she doesn't do that with kids as I said, just adults.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 06:55 PM
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I like it when I can allow children or other adults meet my dogs, I think it can be a benefit in someways. Pitbulls are demonized and people are afraid, and I would like to think that meeting mine and seeing just how gentle they are can help people see they aren't these big bad monsters that eat children.
I am very selective on who does meet my furkids tho, as I stated in my previous post.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:21 PM
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BenMax, I think your method of just walking briskly ignoring others is a fantastic approach if your aim is to just take your dogs for a walk. It's what works best for us as well (just not while we lived in the suburbs because there were often people at stop signs and lights at intersections). Sometimes though, I like to take my dogs out front to practice what we've been doing in the house and yard...just to build up the distractions. I do all sorts of stuff with them without really taking a walk. My biggest problem is that I'm super social with my neighbors and ppl walking by when I'm not with the dogs. But when I'm out with them, folk get a little surprised when I tell them to stay away. They continue advancing cuz they're so used to being able to do that when I'm alone, kinda like they're on automatic and can't process my telling them to stop.

One thing I'm getting from the responses here is that all of our dogs are different. Some love the attention, some love it from particular ppl and not so much others, some can't be approached, and then some can but there's a specific way for it to be successful. How is a stranger supposed to know those facts? I just prefer they err on the side of caution, both for their own safety and that of the dog.

And when it comes to children, they really don't know any better and I feel horrid for those who've gotten hurt. They don't intentionally greet dogs inappropriately. It's up to us who know better to teach them.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:06 PM
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It's great to socialize your pets LuckyPenny but it is also very important to know their limitations and one must have realistic expectations for the pets that they own.
I remember you well when meeting you with your dog...you knew me and I knew you and you had no trouble advising me about your dog and how not to approach. If I did not take offence to the warning, then why should anyone else. If they don't understand..then just avoid them.

Also...there is no such thing as just taking a dog for a walk. Infact, as you know, it is a very important tool for dogs to keep them mentally challenged, moving forward and experiencing new surroundings. Throwing a dog out in the back yard is just that. There are many things that a walk teaches a dog(s). It is one of the most important things you can do with your pet to connect, interact and explore.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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People seem to forget that anything with a mouth can bite. Regardless of how cute or sweet a dog looks, they may not be comfortable with you petting them. I wish more people would get that, but sadly, they usually do not.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:17 PM
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People seem to forget that anything with a mouth can bite. Regardless of how cute or sweet a dog looks, they may not be comfortable with you petting them. I wish more people would get that, but sadly, they usually do not.
I agree. I like to think that people would exercise safety and caution over anything else..for all parties concerned. It just takes one small something out of the ordinary to cause a well mannered, socialized dog to react differently or out of character.
For those that use their dogs for zootherapy...they know very well all the time, work, energy and also caution to use under these 'social' circumstances. It takes alot of testing and commitment and a certain type of dog that will react well in all settings..whether that be controlled or uncontrolled settings. I highly doubt that many of our dogs here on pets have all this testing and training behind them where we would feel comfortable enough to expose our dogs to strangers and their well intended yet ignorant gesture(s).
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:23 PM
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So very true. I know Byron likes everyone, but if there is food involved he becomes quite focused on it, so he has almost nipped someone trying to pet him while I held a treat (he goes to grab a treat from the person trying to pet him, even though they have no treat). I have to remind them to wait until I say they can pet him.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:44 PM
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I remember you well when meeting you with your dog...you knew me and I knew you and you had no trouble advising me about your dog and how not to approach.
Yes, but you're a lot smarter than most of the folks I know . I remember that day well and, if we could meet only one person a day to greet the way we did it that time, I'd be so fortunate.

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Also...there is no such thing as just taking a dog for a walk. Infact, as you know, it is a very important tool for dogs to keep them mentally challenged, moving forward and experiencing new surroundings. Throwing a dog out in the back yard is just that. There are many things that a walk teaches a dog(s). It is one of the most important things you can do with your pet to connect, interact and explore.
I do agree with you. I hope my words didn't come across as if I was minimizing the importance of walking, running, cycling, etc with dogs. It makes a world of difference for us, especially for Lucky.
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Last edited by luckypenny; May 19th, 2011 at 09:58 PM.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:31 PM
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Yes, but you're a lot smarter than most of the folks I know . I remember that day well and, if we could meet only one person a day to greet the way we did it that time, I'd be so fortunate.



I do agree with you. I hope my words didn't come across as if I was minimizing the importance of walking, running, cycling, etc with dogs. It makes a world of difference for us, especially for Lucky.
It could have come across that way if we did not know one another. As I train so many dogs, I keep driving home the importance of walking a dog as it teaches them so much including curbing behaviour, socialization, exercise both mentally and physically and also teaches them more about appropriate behaviour..not to mention how to walk properly on leash (not those darn extended leads). The interaction between handler and dog is crutial and it actually builds an incredible bond between human and dog. Having 5 dogs now, we do take them together, but we also have our one on ones to teach the individual dog and also use this time to reconnect.
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Old May 20th, 2011, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BenMax View Post
It could have come across that way if we did not know one another. As I train so many dogs, I keep driving home the importance of walking a dog as it teaches them so much including curbing behaviour, socialization, exercise both mentally and physically and also teaches them more about appropriate behaviour..not to mention how to walk properly on leash (not those darn extended leads). The interaction between handler and dog is crutial and it actually builds an incredible bond between human and dog. Having 5 dogs now, we do take them together, but we also have our one on ones to teach the individual dog and also use this time to reconnect.
You can do all that showing your dogs too, BenMax. Dogs that misbehave there are reported. I had one woman stand in the way, dog on a long lead, letting it lunge at other dogs, so the second time it did it to my big red dog I just told her, "Let it do it again and you'll be reported". Didn't see her after that. That is called getting the message accross.
I like your attitude when out walking dogs . You aren't out there to entertain the public with your dogs. I know I certainly am not either. I would actually not want to give the impression that my breeds are approachable for fear people , or children, ran up to the wrong sheltie or cattle dog. Shelties bolt. I can recall a friend's sheltie escaping out of a car on a busy road and the fright in her voice when we tried to catch it . She said leave it, then opened the car door and it did a lap of the car and dived in. I know now, with my own, just a stranger calling to them can spook them. As for cattle dogs, the opposite of course, so making myself seem unapproachable when out with them works for me too.
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  #27  
Old May 20th, 2011, 04:45 AM
reanne reanne is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Vancouver Island
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I often say no, because my girl is still nervous of children, as well as most adults. I do find it very frustrating when I tell people "Don't approach her, just let her come to you" and they rush her with pets anyway. Ugh.

I'm proud to say that my older niece and nephew (5 and 8) have learned to wait for permission to pet dogs, and even offer up Whistler for pets when we are hiking and stuff "It's okay for you to pat Whistler, he is the BEST dog!"
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  #28  
Old May 21st, 2011, 03:03 PM
Etown_Chick Etown_Chick is offline
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Location: Edmonton
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Scary stuff. At the park, a toddler actually rushed up to my dog and grabbed both his cheeks in his hands and stuffed his face right up by Scruffy's muzzle. Scruffy's great with kids but I am still surprised that kid didn't get bit. Parents did nothing. I have no use for oblivious parents.
Now I just grab Scruffy's collar when I see kids. If they can't get to him, they can't pet him.
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