I was at PetCo this week and a woman walked up to me with a toddler in her arms and said, “What a cute dog! Is she friendly?”
I said, “Yes.” At which point the toddler was deposited on the ground to run up to wee little doggie for a hug and a pat.
Woah! Wait a minute!
Moms and Dads, what are we doing? Strange dog. Strange owner. No introduction to rambunctious drool machine on two legs making high-pitched squealing noises.
I got WLD out of the way rapidly and said, “It is up to the dog if it wants to be petted. She doesn’t want to be petted.”
What I didn’t say was, “Dear God in heaven lady, if you keep doing stuff like that some dog is going to rip your kid’s face off because it is startled and afraid of being rushed.” I’ve raised one daughter and helped raise three grandkids and none of them was unleashed like that on a strange dog.
Small dogs are easily intimidated by a little kid they do not know and do not expect to lunge at them. A toddler is easily twice their size. If I’d said yes to petting, the parent needs to get down with the child and show them how to sidle calmly up to a strange dog for a meet and greet. The owner needs to be involved with this as well.
A larger dog (there was a lovely Alsatian there with a family) would have been a better choice – with permission of the owner and the dog, of course. Because it is used to children and it is not going to be intimidated by a child twice it’s size barreling down on it, although I never recommend a strange child barrel down on a strange dog. I don’t recommend strange people barrel down on other people either. It is a good way to get hurt.
Shaking my head. Really, folks – think this through. If you love little Bob or Bobbie, don’t let them run screaming at a strange dog, even one you’ve been told is friendly.