First off, as a nod to my incredibly clever title, I’d like to show you a picture of one of our all star former doggos Lou.
And then a picture of Dustin from the Netflix smash hit Stranger Things.
SEPARATED AT BIRTH, AMIRITE? It didn’t hit me until I came up with the pun for the title but Lou blindly smiling with just his lower teeth showing is extremely Dustin from Stranger Things. No offense to Dustin. It’s a very charming look and he is a brave dude that sticks up for his friends, which is more than I can say for Lou, whose main character trait was barking at every delivery person on the block. In fact, that peccadillo of Lou’s dovetails nicely with my ACTUAL topic for today’s Dogwalking 101: dealing with strangers on the street.
People love dogs. People love petting dogs. What people often do not like is asking to pet dogs. This is often fine, but with some dogs (like good ol’ Louboy), this unwanted petting stresses them out and can result in some cacophonous barking or worse. You need to ask the person with the dog if it’s okay to pet the dog AND THEN WAIT FOR AN ANSWER BEFORE PETTING. I cannot stress this enough. Here’s an example encounter:
Stranger: “OMG your dog is so cute can I pet him?”
Me: “First of all, how dare you gender my do–”
Stranger: BEGINS PETTING DOG
As I said, with most dogs the only issue will be aggressive licking and hugging/humping, but the worst case scenario is bad enough to require a grace period between asking and petting.
While we’re on the topic, here are some stranger archetypes that I’ve come across:
Person dressed like your wacky aunt or uncle that always has a big bag of mysterious dog treats that they want to give your dog
Person that asks a strangely aggressive question about the dog, eg: “IS THAT A FUCKIN’ SHAR PEI?” (real question I’ve been asked)
Person with dog that they say is nice but ends up freaking out and either nipping at or humping my dog
Person that sees you and dog from roughly half a block away and turns on their heel and walks the other way, even if it’s a puppy or pug
Person jogging down the sidewalk directly at you and dog who does not waver at all and gives you a dirty look
Normal person (exceedingly rare)
So in closing, always remember this rhyming couplet I just thought of:
When you see a dog you haven’t met
Ask before you give a pet
Thank you and have a wonderful dog-filled afternoon!