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I guess I was rude, but I don't care. ;)


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In my original post, Kiefer was NOT bothered at all by the dog's nose up his butt - at least for the short time it lasted. He was so focused on all the activities going on in front of him that he seemed oblivious to what was happening at his rear. I was the one who was unfriendly with my request to back off. Perhaps I shouldn't have been at the event since I was so unfriendly. :)

 

I prefer to be proactive and prevent incidents rather than having to jump in the middle of some fracas. I have been schooled that specific environments (crowds, dog parks, dog classes, obedience trials, flyball competitions, agility trials) can put a dog on edge - and said dog can react to stimuli that normally would not bother it at all.

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What hardship is it for you, precisely, to have someone else say 'I don't want my dog to interact with yours?' using whatever shorthand they want to keep you and your dog (who is unknown to them, regardless of manners) away?

 

Even with my crazy friendly dogs, I don't want them interacting with strange's dogs! I don't know the dog. I don't know the owner. They may be vaccinated, they may not be. They may be good with dogs, they may not be. They may have kennel cough, they may not. They may dogs who respond well to basic corrections (from another dog), they may not. They may be dogs who's playstyle matches my dog's, they may not. They may have sane owners, they may not.

 

And the words 'not good with' may very well come out of my mouth as a means of convincing you (general) to keep your dog WITH YOU and away from mine. I'm not there for a doggie playdate. I'm there for something else - to work with my dog, to attend a walk, to jog, to do agility, whatever, but it's not for the purpose of doggie meet and greets with random dogs. Just keep your dog beside you and MOVE ON.

 

This post makes me want to throw up my hands and shout "Amen!"

 

I used to frequently walk my two dogs with a friend who also has two dogs. Tess and one of her dogs are not very friendly. They don't appreciate other dogs bothering them. However we were able to walk, with all four dogs side by side most of the time with them only giving the occasional glance at the other dogs from time to time.

 

It's completely possible and not all that hard.

 

 


Tommy Coyote wrote (quote function is messing up): "I kind of agree with you, Nancy. If your dog really isn't good with people and kids and other dogs it probably is a lot safer to go where you can be alone. Because if you are out people and children are going to come up to you. They just do. Children especially will just run up to see the dog. But that's my opinion."

 

Why should I just have to accept this? As a child I can promise you that I never ran up to strange dogs and if I had so much as dared I would have been immediately corrected by my parents. Why should I not be able to go somewhere with my perfectly well behaved dogs because other people do not know what manners are?

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All I see in these posts is cultural differences. Some people like to see their dogs interacting with other dogs, some people don't. Those who are not of your persuasion are not necessarily idiots or meanies, and it's the assumption that they are that causes friction, IMO. The same impulse that causes Person A to try to protect his dog from unwanted attention from strange dogs is going to cause Person B to try to defend his kid from unwanted confrontation from strange adults.

 

If Kiefer didn't mind being sniffed and if both dogs were on leashes, I would have reacted in a more friendly way toward the girl, because why not? I would have said something like, "My dog gets nervous when another dog comes up behind him -- would you mind keeping your dog from doing that?" Everybody's different in their likes and dislikes and manners and cultural assumptions. I just don't see why that has to lead to so much hostility on either side.

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Tess'S Girl: I agree with you that you should be able to go anywhere you want with your dog. But that just isn't the reality when you are out in public. There are always going to be people who don't know anything about dog etiquette and they will probably continue to make you crazy.

 

I don't want to deal with it so my dogs stay at home.

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Everybody's different in their likes and dislikes and manners and cultural assumptions. I just don't see why that has to lead to so much hostility on either side.

 

I think it is the wear and tear (on the nerves) factor. If 8 out of 10 people you meet on the street can't seem to respect a request, politely worded, you get testy after awhile. Having had various of my dogs, over the years, pushed off a curb into the path of an oncoming bus, viciously attacked by a large, leashed, German Shepherd Dog, put in a hammer-lock around the neck by an ungoverned toddler, and had a brownie crammed into the mouth by an adult who did not ask if it was OK, not to mention being slimed by dozens of out-of-control retrievers and beset by dozens of biting, shrieking toy dogs - I get testy. Yes I do.

 

Yes it is always better to make your intentions and wishes known in a polite and respectful way. But what if that has no effect on the other person? Walk away? Yes! I do that whenever I can. But even that is not enough for many people. So then what? It is hard, for me at least, to answer that one without getting rattled and not infrequently being rude.

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If Kiefer didn't mind being sniffed and if both dogs were on leashes, I would have reacted in a more friendly way toward the girl, because why not? I would have said something like, "My dog gets nervous when another dog comes up behind him -- would you mind keeping your dog from doing that?" Everybody's different in their likes and dislikes and manners and cultural assumptions. I just don't see why that has to lead to so much hostility on either side.

I definitely agree that your suggestion is much more tactful than what I said - but sometimes my brain doesn't work tactfully when I have a split second to figure out what to do/say. And that is the reason why I posted - to get suggestions on handling the situation.

 

I am still bothered that the parent allowed that child to walk around the event site with the dog free-roaming at the end of a 6' long lead. Yes, leashed, but not under control.

 

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I think it is the wear and tear (on the nerves) factor. If 8 out of 10 people you meet on the street can't seem to respect a request, politely worded, you get testy after awhile. Having had various of my dogs, over the years, pushed off a curb into the path of an oncoming bus, viciously attacked by a large, leashed, German Shepherd Dog, put in a hammer-lock around the neck by an ungoverned toddler, and had a brownie crammed into the mouth by an adult who did not ask if it was OK, not to mention being slimed by dozens of out-of-control retrievers and beset by dozens of biting, shrieking toy dogs - I get testy. Yes I do.

 

Yes it is always better to make your intentions and wishes known in a polite and respectful way. But what if that has no effect on the other person? Walk away? Yes! I do that whenever I can. But even that is not enough for many people. So then what? It is hard, for me at least, to answer that one without getting rattled and not infrequently being rude.

 

Well, but in the case posed here, it was what to say at the outset that was in question. To a happy young adolescent girl at a dog-friendly event who was walking her dog on a leash. No imminent danger. No threatening behavior by her dog, no freaking out by the dog her dog approached. Many if not most dogs, unless trained otherwise, like to greet dogs they meet, and that greeting involves sniffing (cultural differences!). The girl has probably observed this. If you don't want your dog greeted or sniffed, wouldn't it be nicer (better manners, better etiquette, whatever) to tell the kid so initially in a friendly way rather than a snippy way? In the situation as described, my guess would be that the odds of the girl ignoring you or defying you would be fairly low, much lower than the odds that she will be hurt and not understand why.

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I am still bothered that the parent allowed that child to walk around the event site with the dog free-roaming at the end of a 6' long lead. Yes, leashed, but not under control.

 

What do you mean by "not under control"? A 6' lead is not a very long lead, and a 12 -14 year old girl is old enough to walk a dog. Was she trying to keep the dog from sniffing Kiefer and unable to control him, or was she just okay with him sniffing Kiefer?

 

I do understand that it can be hard to be tactful in a split-second situation.

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In the situation as described, my guess would be that the odds of the girl ignoring you or defying you would be fairly low, much lower than the odds that she will be hurt and not understand why.

 

Fair enough! :)

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And there wouldn't be a single cultural clash to be seen if 'ask first' were standard before allowing dogs who don't know each other to interact, instead of the expectation that it was okay. I'd be less cranky, their feelings wouldn't be hurt by me having to defend my dogs, and no one would be playing silly guessing games.

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I'm sorry. I didn't realize 'ask before assuming that your culture/way of doing things is the only way was a culture of its own.


Instead of being self-centered and shortsighted.

 

Asking/not asking or a isn't a culture clash. It may be ignorance to the idea that there could possibly be people out there who don't want their dogs interacting and not realize there's anything TO ask, but that's as far as you can stretch that one. And at that point the only solution is a gentle 'ask first, please'.

The onus is STILL on the people who want contact. Since the people who don't are *avoiding* the contact these people are seeking.

 

ETA: Saying that asking is a cultural thing on its own is like saying you go into someone who is from a home where shoes commonly come off indoors - but for you, shoes always stay on. If you KNOW there are some people who don't like shoes worn in the house (and this is a cultural thing), you stop and you ask and the issue is resolved.


If you DON"T ask, you're going to be told/corrected and at that stage, well, consider yourself educated, rather than having your feelings hurt and ranting about how you shouldn't invite people over without wanting shoes on the carpet.

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ETA: Saying that asking is a cultural thing on its own is like saying you go into someone who is from a home where shoes commonly come off indoors - but for you, shoes always stay on. If you KNOW there are some people who don't like shoes worn in the house (and this is a cultural thing), you stop and you ask and the issue is resolved.

 

If you DON"T ask, you're going to be told/corrected and at that stage, well, consider yourself educated, rather than having your feelings hurt and ranting about how you shouldn't invite people over without wanting shoes on the carpet.

 

Except that there are absolutely cultures where no one does ask; everyone just leaves their shoes on and no one sees anything wrong with that. I think that's sort of the point.

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One of the very first thing my trainer does in his classes - and my last one was all adult rescues, no puppies! - is explain to the owners that when two dogs are meeting for the first time, BOTH owners have to keep their dog back. Only when both dogs move forward does the greeting go on. And if one dog backs up later, because he got uncomfortable, then the other owner takes his dog and walks on.

 

That should be universal in human dog culture. I'm sure dogs have much more subtle ways of saying "don't approach." My old Buddy was reactive, and I've seen dogs start to veer out of his way from 100 yards. Whatever "Don't mess with me" signals he was giving were strong and obvious to a lot of other dogs. (Young labs and goldens not so much?)

 

If I from shoe-on culture visit Korea (always shoes off), it's on ME to realize that my cultural expectations are no longer the norm, and that I need to take my shoes off.

 

In my experience, people who get dogs are often told the equivalent of "shoes off" (please keep your young/bouncy/stupid dog from approaching), but then continue to say, "Shoes off is a stupid rule! My shoes are clean! You're crazy! Why should I have to take my shoes off? I don't like taking my shoes off!"

 

In my previous post here, I described this exactly. Woman, young husky: woman told clearly by park sign, then politely by stranger and then also, husky told CLEARLY by ridgeback to stay back, and yet she continued her walk, letting her dog off leash and continuing the same exact behavior. When I first got Cricket, I ran into jerk-with-pitbull. Told him "no" quite clearly, said that if my dog wanted to meet his, she'd come forward. (She was pulling hard away from the other dog, end of the leash.) Jerk-with-pitbull decided to override my VERY direct request, and let his dog charge at mine. I turned and walked away. J-W-P was all hurt feelings and tender pride; I heard my friend saying, "Oh, her dog is scared." He said, "She should have said something."

 

GRRRRRR!!!

 

So, while I agree that it's delightful to keep it polite and make "teachable moments" whenever possible, I must say that I find people very rarely having "learnable moments." How much more clear can you make the cultural lesson than a sign that says, "NO SHOES ALLOWED!?" ("Do not allow your dog - even if friendly - to approach other people or dogs, who might not want to be approached.")

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I think as responsible dog owners, we need to expect and set the cultural expectation that you ask before letting your dog greet another dog, and children should be taught to ask before petting a strange dog. You don't walk up to strangers and start shaking their hands without giving some sort of verbal greeting beforehand, and maybe "hi, can they meet?" should be the equivalent of "hi, I'm Chris with hand extended". Not a perfect analogy, but it's a safety thing, and it's reasonable for some sort of verbal exchange before dogs just meet each other.

 

Also, dogs should be free to exist in the world with their humans without having other dogs coming up and sniffing them. I don't think the requirement for being out in public needs to be "is super friendly with all other dogs and wants to greet everyone" but "can tolerate being near other dogs and maintaining focus on their handler".

 

Not to mention all if this is part of a larger cultural issue where people think their "friendly" dogs can just go up and greet whoever they want, even in places where leashes are required. We hike daily in a leash-required park. This one obnoxious Golden just barrels up to whoever she wants, and completely ignores corrections by other dogs. Her owner NEVER has her on leash, and I'm not really sure she can control her on leash, so she trained her off leash with an e-collar. The dog's recall is spotty at best. I asked the woman to leash her dog the other day and her response was "I don't know what you want me to do".....so I repeated "Put a leash on her". She ultimately did, and I was kind of surprised, but it shouldn't that hard. We're not going to the off-leash park, because that's not a good place for Gabe, but there has to be some places he can exist in the world without dogs running up in his face.

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Except that there are absolutely cultures where no one does ask; everyone just leaves their shoes on and no one sees anything wrong with that. I think that's sort of the point.

 

Sure - and as I said, that's a case of it not even occurring to people to ask, because they don't know it's a thing. But when you run into those cultures where shoes come off, you can expect to be told that, well, you need to take your shoes off to come in and deal with that.

 

Not be upset and offended and pitch a fit about inviting people over if you don't want shoes on your carpet. Even if you think it's weird. Learn something, because ultimately it's their carpet.

 

Some awareness that there are other cultures on both ends would be nice, but at the end of the day the person who owns the carpet controls that decision and the person who *doesn't* want contact (be it human or dog or on behalf of the dog) controls whether that happens.

 

Maybe the more basic issue here is people just need to stop being offended if they hear 'no', instead of taking it as a personal attack. and, yes, some politeness in saying no would be good, too, but even a blunt (not rude not mean not screaming crazy but blunt) 'No, I don't want to' is something people should be able to handle, and sensitivity on the part of the person does not make rudeness on the part of the person saying no.

 

and I say that as an incredibly shy, self-conscious, anxious and thin-skinned person.

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I'm talking about people who bring a dog into a large crowd, then tell me to keep my incredibly polite dog away because theirs doesn't like other dogs. That was Fergie, who would even sit and wait for the other dog to come to meet her!

Nancy,

Did it ever occur to you that people just don't want to be bothered by you or your dog, no matter how polite your dog may be? There's no rule that says if I take my dog out in public I have to allow every nice dog out there come up to us. I don't know why that's so hard to understand? Is there a reason you feel you HAVE to be able to go greet everyone else's dogs?

 

J.

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I take both of my dogs to all dog events in my area. Lyka my BC/mix falls into the loves everyone/every dog, but I still don't let her meet every dog or person I see. I do let other dogs greet her if the owner asks or if Lyka is particularly fixated on greeting a dog I ask their owner of it's ok and if they say no I thank them and move on (she LOVES little dogs, so I know that makes some owners uncomfortable as she is 50lbs.).

 

Lily falls into the other category of not enjoying being pestered by other dogs or people. I usually tell the kids that she is a scared sometimes, but I usually have a treat she likes that they can toss to her from a comfortable distance. With other dogs I usually just block their path to Lily as it's my job to protect her. She won't bite but she will shut down. If the owner of the other dog asks why they can't say Hi (which they rarely do) I just tell them she is in training, so we can't say hi right now and then I refer them to Lyka if they really want to greet a dog.

 

For the record I don't walk both of them together at dog events because Lily makes Lyka go into protection mode and Lyka will block other dogs from Lily by force if necessary or hide from humans and bark. I usually walk one and DH walks the other.

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Our older collie hates strange dogs in his face and his outings in public are limited to places he can cope with. Even so we can be in the middle of nowhere and occasionally someone whose dog could do with some recall training will happen by. Very few don't respond to a polite request to remove their dog (if they can). Polite from me, that is, my dog not so much which may get the message across. Very rare though.

 

Because he is as he is my super friendly and polite youngster has been taught from day one only to approach if I say so in case someone else has the same problem as I do.

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I wonder why people don't seem to have a concept of a space bubble. It's not just with dogs. Try being in public with a baby, toddler or pregnant belly.

 

I don't think it's too much to ask people to respect a person's (or dog's) personal space bubble. If I'm in public people may brush up against me. But I don't expect strangers to intentionally touch me, hug me, grab my purse or water bottle. If I'm at a park playing one on one basketball with a friend I don't expect a random person to but in, grab the ball and run around with it.

 

Just ask! Make eye contact, ask permission, something that establishes a connection before assuming that you're welcome in that person's space.

 

And give them the freedom to say no. That's just healthy boundaries. I don't understand the offense some people take at a person establishing some personal boundaries. "No" isn't a personal insult, it's am autonomous person making a decision.

 

Yup, you can/should be polite in saying no. But the person asking needs to realize that they're *asking*, not assuming that they're welcome in your space.

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From reading these very interesting posts it's apparent that those in the "don't let your dog go up to another dog (at least without asking first)" culture feel that it's a manifestly superior culture, and that everybody should conform to it or be educated to conform to it. I get that.

 

For two years I lived in an African country where, if two strangers met walking along the road, it would be unthinkably rude for them not to greet one another and ask where the other came from and where they were going. Parents would be judged remiss if they didn't teach their children to observe this courtesy. It was the natural and expected order of things. This seemed to be true in the other African countries I visited -- not in the cities, of course, but in the country. Here in the US, it's quite the opposite in general -- you're taught growing up not to speak to strangers, and the assumption is that you are not interested in them and they should not be interested in you. And if they ARE interested in you, that would make you uncomfortable and you might well see it as "a safety issue."

 

So the prevailing norms are different in the two countries. You might have an opinion about which is "better," but if you were in village Africa you would probably (I like to think) adopt the greeting presumption, whereas if you were new to the US it wouldn't be long before you adopted the no-greeting presumption.

 

The difference with the issue in this thread is that both cultures exist in the same country. One group of dog owners (perhaps the majority, judging from some posts) inherently see dogs as social creatures who enjoy meeting other dogs, who see that as a potential happy experience for both dogs, who see it as the goal of a dog park or of bringing their dog to a place where this can happen. Yes, there may be "Dogs Must Be Leashed" signs, but everybody knows that's just the bureaucracy covering its ass, and what harm does it do to at least give the dogs a chance to meet and see if they want to play? The other group of dog owners has no interest in meeting other dogs, wants to be left alone to pursue their own interests, and believes (some with reason) that another dog coming up to them is likely to lead to trouble. The first group considers the second group uptight and rude; the second group considers the first group ignorant, inconsiderate and rude.

 

I just think it would be better, when warding off what you don't want, to do it in a friendly way rather than a way that lets your assumptions about the other person/culture show through.

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I don't think I've ever been rude to a person in my life. I have, however, often been treated like I peed on someone's shoe when I responded to their attempts to pet/meet my dog with 'no' or 'don't' or whatever other phrasing that was used, no matter how nicely it was said.


And certainly been met with more than a little 'if your dog isn't friendly they shouldn't be in public' - an attitude which is also evidenced in this thread.

 

I'm not at all sure that "clear" feeling of superiority is one sided. Nor is the need for politeness and respect of other people.


ETA: Also, looking back, I'm pretty sure not one person in this entire thread has been outright rude to anyone who wants to meet their dogs or have their dogs meet. There have been far more reports here (in this thread) of 'rude' or overly emotional reactions to being told no or prevented from doing so than people being upset about the contact/attempt at contact in the first place.


Even the OP is a dog in another dog's personal space, the handler saying 'Hey, more space' and then getting screamed at.

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Having had a dog-aggressive dog, I'm of the 'keep my dog close to me and keep other dogs away from him'. It was pretty obvious to all but the most clueless that Buzz didn't want to say hello.

 

Gibbs is very dog savvy, and likes a lot of dogs. If he starts wagging and leaning into his leash a bit, I always ask first. After a minute or less I say, thanks for saying hi! and walk away. If the other person says no, I respect that.

 

He doesn't care for what he considers Doggy Rudeness from dogs over 15 lbs or so. Puppies and small dogs he puts up with almost anything. He politely tries to gain some space, and if that fails, responds with a snap and a growl. If I see an adolescent, goofy looking dog, trying to drag a human towards him, I just walk a different way.

 

I'm not offended when people say no, I'm polite when I say no. It's none of my business what they are thinking or doing. Someone who argues the point with me gets a blank stare at best and a 'Get your dog away from my dog now' sort of response, and I'm on my way.

 

In the case of the adolescent with the dog on a leash and the dog approaching Gibbs, I'm fine with saying, Please don't let your dog . . . very politely. If the girl ignored me, I'd move on.

 

I don't see what the big deal is. Not everyone shares my opinions, not everyone knows as much about their dogs as I know about dogs in general. But, it's my job and my right to treat/protect my animal as I see fit. Others do get their knickers in a twist at times, that's their problem, not mine.

 

It's not that important to me today. I've had my own missteps, and I felt awful when one of my dogs hurt another dog. (I offered to pay for veterinary care, nothing came of it - other dog was okay.) I've learned through experience what works for me and keeps me and my dog safe and in reasonably good moods. So that's what I do.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Personally, I'd be pretty embarrassed if my dog was to butt-poke another dog outside of my control (I'm disregarding the fact that this was a child walking the dog...I'm just noting from my perspective). That's a failure on my part and I would apologize to the other dog owner (and I have profusely apologized to people for this exact thing on several occasions because I got distracted and Cal did her own intrusive thing). Similarly, I will not allow my child to walk her (or any other dog we may have in the future) unless he can demonstrate that he can control her appropriately for his own safety and hers.

 

To me, it's the equivalent of a stranger coming up to me and hugging me instead of offering a handshake. I can decline a handshake but it's significantly more disturbing to get grabbed. Intrusive butt-poking seems like the dog world equivalent; rude and unacceptable in Western society.

 

That being said, I totally allow Cal to :ph34r: butt-poke her besties. Because what are faux-siblings for if not torturing each other? :D

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To me, [butt-poking is] the equivalent of a stranger coming up to me and hugging me instead of offering a handshake. I can decline a handshake but it's significantly more disturbing to get grabbed. Intrusive butt-poking seems like the dog world equivalent; rude and unacceptable in Western society.

 

Actually, in dog culture it's a perfectly acceptable and even polite behavior. If they're being polite they'll approach another dog in an arc and not make direct eye contact to indicate their non-confrontational intentions, and if it's reciprocated will move directly into mutual butt sniffing. . . .with the potentially dangerous ends (i.e. teeth) initially away from each other. Trying to impose human cultural/behavioral standards to dog behavior is misguided at best and can lead to some unfortunate misunderstandings at worst.

 

I don't mind Bodhi being approached by other dogs as long as they're not aggressive or -- in dog behavior -- behaving inappropriately. He's got excellent dog skills and as long as he's willing, it's fine with me. If the dog's being inappropriate, he's perfectly capable of communicating this to the other dog and will do just that with an absolute minimum reprimand or warning.

 

Fortunately, most dogs who are out with their humans in public places aren't truly aggressive. Some are clueless, often the retrievers (as are some of the handlers), and if they don't get the hint I'll step in, but I don't usually deny the interaction if Bodhi's willing. I can tell if he's not, and if he doesn't want it I'll either politely decline and/or walk away, or get more direct if I have to. Actually, he often wants to initiate the greeting and I allow it after I've verified it's OK with the other handler.

 

The problem for me is if I'm somewhere with the reactive dog and people and other dogs won't listen, as in the instance I described above. In situations like that I don't think it's simply a clash of expectations. But maybe it is a culture of entitlement that makes people think they have the right to do whatever they want regardless of what others want. I dunno. Whatever it is, it sure makes it harder for me to work with my reactive dog. That incident set Tansy back quite a bit and it's hard enough as it is to be able to take her places to work on it. :(

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