Canine Connections

Brian Reynolds on the importance of letting strangers meet your dog

By Brian Reynolds

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Photo credits: zedzap/CC

People love dogs. Whether you’re hanging out in a park, waiting outside a shop for a friend or really just anytime you are out and about with your four-legged friend, somebody will want to say hello to your dog. While it’s quite understandable that you’re not going to have time for your pup to meet everyone, let’s try and keep some civility if you have to decline someone the opportunity to meet your dog.

Dogs love people. My dog flips out every time he meets somebody new. If left unattended in a gym full of people I’m sure he would approach every single person and surprise them with an uncomfortable sniff. Exploring and discovering new people is at the core of being a dog.

canineconnection-thumbIf you don’t have time for someone to say hello to your dog, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just be polite and say, “I’m sorry, now is not good. Maybe another time.” Most dog owners are great at letting their pet meet people, but there are a select few who freak out when approached and act as though their life is in danger.

Meeting someone’s dog should be a routine operation. You get permission, stick your hand out for a sniff, give a little pet and scratch behind the ears and you’re off and on your way. Responsible dog owners want their dog to meet people. So why are some people so uptight about strangers meeting their dogs? No one is asking to hold their baby. It’s not an elaborate wallet inspection ploy. It’s a quick hello to the dog, which is no different than flashing a smile and giving a, “Good Afternoon” when you pass someone on the street. There’s no need to reel back in horror because someone dared to proposition the idea of greeting your furry friend. Robberies don’t usually start with, “Hey, can I meet your dog?” (At least according to the Robbing 4 Dummies guide, I have.) You should have nothing to fear from a fellow dog-lover such as yourself.

You have every right to pick and choose who your dog meets, but when living in a big city, a little civility goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to let someone new meet your dog; that canine connection could help brighten their day.