Sunday, June 7, 2015

Respecting Our Fellow Dog Owners. Give Dogs Space!

I think there's a dog in my butt.

The girls didn't really get into much mischief over the past week so instead I'm going to share with you an incident we had, my biggest pet peeves about other dog owners and tips on what to do if you have a "friendly dog" and you encounter other dog owners.

If we're friends on facebook or you've read some of my previous posts about this, you will know that I don't like my neighbors. For some reason I managed to move us into the apartment complex with neighbors from hell. The massive amount of irresponsibility when it comes to picking up after their dogs absolutely astonishes me. Not only that, people are constantly leaving their dogs unattended on patios for hours on end and in the case of my neighbor across the street, they've left their dog on the patio all night long on several occasions. I don't sleep very well most nights so I notice stuff. I just don't get it and I don't know why people get pets to just ignore them. It makes me very sad. Also most of the dogs in this complex are reactive. I've witnessed several dog fights so I try to just avoid everyone. I've tried talking to the management at my complex (mostly about the poop) but their solution was to threaten to make the apartment complex dog-free. Which did not help at all.


Probably my biggest pet peeve of all is owners who don't respect other dog owners. When they let their out of control dogs rush up to other dogs or drag them up to other dogs, while also yelling: "He's FRIENDLY!!!!" is pretty much guaranteed to make me see red. That's nice, but maybe mine isn't? See the Grumpy Cat meme posted above.

The other day it was pouring rain outside and I was trying to get the girls to go potty. Going potty in the rain is an event by itself. They hate the rain and do not like walking in wet grass. They are both divas but what can you do? So I was walking them along the back part of the complex, it's sort of a wooded area with lots of bushes and trees that haven't been trimmed. So I'm having to duck as well as I walk through there. Phoenix decides to go deep into this area to poop. The thing about that area, though is that if someone is back there you CAN see them. So it's not like this other person didn't see me. What happened was intentional on the part of the other owner. So I go in after her and I'm bending over to pick it up and the next thing I know I have a giant 100lb obese lab dragging his owner into their faces. It was raining, my hood was up, my back was turned and I didn't hear them coming. Not only that, he didn't warn me he was there or ask if it was okay for his dog to say hi and there was no escape for us. We are trapped because of the bushes and trees.This is the same person who I've seen do this multiple times to other people in the name of  ".....but.... but... my dog needs dog friends!!!!" With no consideration of the other person and their dog. Luckily neither of my dogs snarked at this dog but he left a lasting impression on Phoenix and I'll get to that in a moment.


Have you ever had one of those days where you just completely snap? I was so pissed. I yelled at him that they weren't friendly (Not quite true, Zoe is usually always fine and Phoenix is okay if introduced properly, but has a long history of disliking labs because of these sorts of things happening to us) and that he needed to get his dog out of their faces, NOW. I hate using the "they're not friendly" line but it's always the first thing that pops into my brain. Also, leash intros are hardly ever a good idea because dogs feel trapped on leashes, leashes get tangled, etc.

These situations just aggravate me, endlessly. I've spent months working on Phoenix to get her to the point where she is okay with big dogs and when stuff like this happen it sets us back every time. The very next day she snarked at a large black lab and she has not snarked at single dog since before Doggie Dash and had been doing awesome. I know I will always have work to do with her but I get frustrated when the work I've put in is ruined by one idiot dog owner in under two minutes and I know I'm not alone. Many of you feel the same way. I think everyone has come across an idiot yelling "HE'S FRIENDLY!!!!" at least once in their time of dog ownership. I wish other owners would be more considerate. Maybe your dog is friendly but stop for a moment and think about the other owner for a change. I think people are too focused on what they want and what their dog wants to stop and think about the other person and dog's feelings on it. That needs to change right now.



So you have a friendly dog, what can you do when you come across another owner and their dog?

  • First of all, assume that all dogs need their personal space unless you are told otherwise. A good space bubble should be about 4 feet or more. 
  • Ask them if it's okay to say hi.
  • DO NOT approach until AFTER the person gives you the okay.
  • If you're using a flexi lead, please lock it up so it's short.
  • Try to keep interactions short, 3-5 seconds is best then move on.
  • If they say no, then please respect that and don't get angry.
  • It is completely NORMAL for dogs to not want to interact with other dogs. Don't pressure your dog into interacting if he or she does not want to. On the other hand, do not allow anyone else to pressure you into an interaction you are not comfortable with. 
  • If you notice someone trying to get space from you, GIVE THEM SPACE! Do not follow them and try to give free training advice.
  • Don't allow your dog to drag you into another dog's face. (SPACE BUBBLE!)
  • Always respect the other owner's wishes. (No Means No)
  • Always respect the leash laws and keep your dog under control.

I think it's amazing that you have a friendly dog and that you want your dog to have dog friends, I really do, but it's important to remember that other dogs may not want to be your dog's friend. Mutual consent between both parties is extremely important. Make sure you get it before you let your dog go up to another dog. If you are able to do the greeting make sure you are watching your dog. Don't get caught up in conversation with the other owner, as nice as that is, you need to watch both dogs and make sure their body language stays friendly. Dogs are just like us. You don't always like every single person you meet and they are the same way. At the first sign that your dog doesn't like the other dog, MOVE ON. Don't wait until it escalates. Tell the other owner, "Thank you! Have a nice day!" and GO.

Sorry, but we don't want to be friends with you!

That poor husky in the photo above was completely ignorant of dog-dog body language and he had no idea my dogs did not want to be his friend. Luckily they ignored him as much as possible until the owner arrived to collect him. He was not listening to the owner at all and had no business being off the leash.

Have you ever been in the "HE'S FRIENDLY!!!!!" sort of situation before with another dog owner? What did you do? 

I hope you all have an awesome Monday!



43 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your list and think it's spot on!!

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  2. Oh lawd, where do I even start... I also have a neighbor that is totally clueless on life and does the whole "my dog needs friends!" thing. Totally irks me and I've even told her on multiple occasions that its not what everyone wants, but yeah totally doesn't get it. I feel ya, girl. =.=

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    1. Isn't that frustrating? I don't get people sometimes!

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  3. LOVE this. So true, and applicable in a variety of circumstances. My favorite on your list is adding the 3-5 second greeting rule. All of my dogs are dog-friendly most of the time, but some people let the greeting go on so long and awkwardly that it almost feels like they're waiting for something bad to happen...
    Sadly irresponsible dog-ownership/off-leash brute issues aren't limited to apartment complexes. Out here in more rural areas a huge problem is letting dogs wander under the assumption that they need to "be dogs" and "they'll always wander back home eventually." I've been grumped at for taking my neighbors dogs back to their houses when they come into our yard because it inconveniences *them* to have to take responsibility for their dogs.

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    1. Yes! What is up with that? Why do people wait around to see if their dog will do something bad? It drives me insane. Also, I am right there with you on the wandering dogs. We live next to a very, very busy road and people are just not concerned! It is astonishing.

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  4. Crikey ..... have you ever got it right!! Mum trained me to ignore other dogs coming toward us and if she thinks there is going to be trouble she will put me in a sit stay off the path and away from the oncoming dog. Nine times out of ten the stupid person coming toward us will stop and say 'my dog just wants to say hello' and lets her dog approach me even though she can see what we are doing. Don't they get it?? Fair dinkum ...... their poor dogs don't stand a chance. Most of them are nice dogs. It's the owners I'd like to bite!!

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    1. Yep! Same here and I also agree with you about biting the owners! :D

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  5. This is my biggest pet peeve. I blame it on the current philosophy of dog training. The idea that an owner puts no real boundaries or obedience on their dogs (with no repercussion for bad behavior) is often what is suggested as a raining program. So when a dog bolts to another dog or pulls the owner over there are no repercussions to the dog so they learn it is acceptable. The other component as you say is the human's belief that dogs should have friends. This is a marketing strategy of the doggie day cares and many obedience trainers. It is also a product of the dog park mentality. I do not think it is a good thing at all and why I believe many dogs end in a shelter with the reason too hard to handle. I could write an entire post lol.

    We see off lead dogs even while out hunting, OK so your dog may be an awesome hunter but it doesn't need to run around off lead in the parking lot, especially when there are birds involved. Chessies have been bred to be protective of their people, places and things and more than once hubby has had a near miss of a dog fight when some dude's lab has come charging up to him and Thunder or him and Storm (lucky so far Freighter has escaped). Thank goodness our dogs do have good obedience and we work it all of the time or it could have been ugly.

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    1. Yeah, it's incredibly frustrating! I also hear you on the chessies being protective of their owners. Zoe can be like that occasionally. She seriously dislikes it when other dogs are being rude and pushy. I really wish people would keep their dogs under better control.

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  6. This is a real pet peeve of mine too. Having had both friendly dogs and dogs that need their space, I know how tricky intros can be. Too bad there aren't dog parenting classes...required of course.

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    1. I totally agree with you. Pet parenting courses are a great idea!

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  7. Great tips all dog owners should know and follow. The off-leash "He's Friendly" offenders are the worst though. I think some people have heard how important it is socialize dogs so they think it's a good thing for their dog to meet and greet every dog they come across. You might have to print off copies of your tips to hand out to neighbors when this happens, lol!

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  8. I don't normally run into this situation unless it is in the open desert behind the park. Thankfully, Blueberry is so subservient, even the dogs that aren't as friendly as their owners want to believe, usually calm down and walk away. I am grateful that I am able to avoid this type of situation most of the time. I know who the repeat offenders are and when I see them, I usually veer off onto another trail whenever possible.

    This weekend I saw a lot of angry dog owners that probably shouldn't have been walking their dogs if they were in such a foul mood. I can't believe that I saw dogs, just being dogs (sniffing the grass, trees, peemail, etc) getting yelled at and having their collars yanked. My opinion is, the park is supposed to be fun for dogs. No, it isn't the dog park, but it's an outting and dogs like to stop and sniff stuff. If the human wants to get their heart rate up and turn it into a real workout - then hit the gym or go walking without the dog. Dogs don't have jobs or get to control when they go to the store, etc. For Blueberry, the park or desert is her way to get out of the house and if she wants to spend the majority of it sniffing every shrub we come across, then so be it. When I want an intense workout, then I go without her. To be so rough with a dog that just wants to be a dog is like taking a kid to Disneyland and forcing them to walk through the whole park like a robot and never stop for rides or cotton candy. Cruel.

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  9. This is exactly why so many apartment complexes won't allow dogs. It's just easier to keep them all out because of irresponsible humans. A nearby complex just went NO DOGS after a bad off leash dog fight and a lawsuit.

    I'm old enough that I can remember when I could take my well behaved dogs almost any place that didn't serve food. Now when I see the amount of dog poop left in places i understand why we are all being punished.

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    1. I agree with you. I also remember when you could take your dog everywhere. The state of things now is so depressing.

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  10. Great post and I have to say all the memes really cracked me up. Kilo has aggression issues so I know very well about dog owners not respecting yours and your dog's space. I make a point to be very vocal. Better safe than sorry.

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    1. Thanks! I tried to mix some humor in!

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  11. A post after my own heart. I find myself stifling a loud scream when I see dog owners hustling towards me. Can they not see that I've got two dogs on my hands. What in the world would make them think I want another one in our space or that either one of mine are even interested in bonding or saying hello. Thank you for posting this. I thought I was all alone here.

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    1. I feel exactly the same way. I am already wrangling two dogs, two leashes, sometimes carrying a bag or two filled with poop, juggling treats.. what in the world makes anyone think I need to juggle them and their dog as well!?! Totally spot on with your comment!

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  12. I just shared this far and wide! You will see exactly how much I agree with you by what I wrote on my comments when I shared. You hit EVERY SINGLE POINT, SPOT ON!!!!! God I wish I could hug you! I live in an apt/condo complex and sadly have had the misfortune of running into a TON of clueless people, that actually make me feel guilty that my dog could care less (and doesn't want to), be friends with their "friendly" dogs. I see this so many times that it is pitiful!!!! This post needs to be shared everywhere! Hell, submit it to your local newspaper too! YOU ROCK!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I really appreciate it! ~hugs~

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  13. Great post - just tweeted it! Love the list - and the memes! This is my #1 pet pet-peeve too! The worst thing, as you say, is the set back in training. I work so hard with Rita, and it sucks when we get set back by some idiot yelling "he's friendly!" Well, yeah, but my dog's not (when approached while on-leash) so she just might bring out the worst in your dog!

    We had a beagle who had fear-aggression. We were approached by an off-leash golden once (usually the sweetest dogs - but it didn't matter. She was bigger than my beag, so the beag was terrified). The stupid owner was yelling "it's okay! She's friendly!" And I'm yelling "NO, it's NOT okay!" Meanwhile, my poor beag was so terrified she went belly up behind me (I was so busy yelling at the man, I didn't even notice) and his dog went all Cujo on her, standing over her and growling and snarling. There was just something about her that could bring out the worst in other dogs. We had to stop going to a park that she loved because a bunch of irresponsible idiots turned it into their own (illegal) off-leash park. So annoying!!

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    1. Yeah, it is so incredibly frustrating when people do this. I hear you on the fear aggression. That's how Phoenix is and she can also sometimes bring out the worst in other dogs. You can see how intense she was in the very last photo that I posted with the husky. Irresponsible people drive me crazy.

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  14. You have hit on several of my "pet" peeves. Our neighbors often let their dogs outside off leash. My boys are NEVER off leash except in our fenced backyard. I don't care how friendly an owner claims their dog is, when it is running towards us, all I see is trouble. Please, do not get me started on pooper scooping. I do not understand how anyone can just let their dog poop and leave it there steaming in the grass.

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  15. Great post - I've also nominated you for the Liebster Award

    http://dais15pops15.blogspot.co.uk/

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  16. Oh my gosh - the memes totally make this post! This is seriously one of my biggest peeves even though Mauja and Atka are totally fine with dogs pushing into their space. When someone shouts, "he's friendly!" at me I have often shouted back, "but you don't know if mine are!". Kaeto was iffy with dogs and these situations always set us back so I completely understand your frustration. People are so inconsiderate sometimes.

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    1. LOL! Thanks! I was trying to mix a little humor into a serious subject. I love it that the fluffies are so laid back about other dogs and I really wish that Phoenix was more like that!

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  17. Yes!

    I'm usually an even steven kinda girl, but I completely lost it a few weekends ago in the park. A dog charged at me and my dogs. I have one dog who is really timid. I started screaming "call your dog!" A voice in the distance yelled, "He's friendly!" I yelled, "Mine's NOT!!!!!!"

    By the time the guy finally reached us, his dog had his paws on my shoulders. I used numerous expletives (mostly the signs every two feet that say dogs must be leashed), while he kept telling me to calm down.

    Glad I'm not the only one :)

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  18. My dogs have no interest in other dogs and Jimmy would be happy to back that up with a snark. I just use the "my black dog is not friendly" line and step to the side of the trail or sidewalk. If the owner is approaching with an off leash dog, then they get what they get. If Jimmy snarks, it not my fault or his.

    I have a friend with a Lab and that was always her tag line, "He's friendly!". But he was also a humper. Whatever dog he met, chihuahua up to great dane, he would hop on and hump. So annoying. He's an ancient guy now and not too long ago she let him run up to another leashed dog. The dog wanted no part of it and promptly took a bite out of her Lab and knocked him to the ground hard. She ended up having to take him to the ER for the bite. She did at least acknowledge it was her fault.

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  19. OH man... this just goes round and round. I wish the world would catch up!
    I'm in the same boat with Ziva...she is ok with other dogs if given a proper introduction, but generally does not approve of dogs just invading her personal space to say hi. We've been working on getting her to just ignore other dogs but it's been a chore and I know we need to put WAY more hours into it training wise.
    I've actually started carrying pepper spray for just this reason. I've been run up on way too many times by off-leash dogs and when I'm walking my two it can get to be a handful. The last time we were charged by a black lab that had his hackles up - he charged us barking while we were on a popular path. I stopped, put Dante and Ziva in a sit he rushed us and of course Dante then broke his sit to say hi in return. I managed to get him back in a sit as we waited for the owner to collect his dog, but boy did he get an earful! Ziva though didn't snark, hooray!!

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  20. This is one of my biggest dog pet peeves too. We have two neighbors who let their dogs run loose in the parking lot and around the grounds and it infuriates me. I've heard of some people saying that their dogs are sick and contagious to prevent other dogs from running up to them.

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  21. I don't think there's a big enough Amen in the world to show how I feel about every single word of this.

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  22. Good advice. I'm not real friendly with other dogs, so I need my space, but Bailie wants to meet everyone, so Mom is in the middle of it all, but we teach Bailie not to get into other dog's spaces unless she is told it is alright or it is a friend.

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  23. We like that good neighbor slogan! We have one of those neighbors. It is an evolving situation that right now is "okay" after many years of calls to animal control.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  24. *wild applause*

    YES!!!! 1000x, yes! I can't stand people like that. "He's friendly!" Well, guess what? My dogs aren't, and neither am I. It makes me so nervous when dogs, especially large ones, come barreling up to us. It wouldn't take more than a second for a big dog to do serious damage to my 10lbs and under crew.
    I've wound up teaching everyone to jump into my arms on cue, and nearly everyone gets walked by themselves now, for this reason. If I see a dog come at us, they get picked up. I don't care how it makes me look.

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    1. Thanks! :D It's funny you mention the "jumping into your arms" thing! I've done the same exact thing for the same reason and even though the girls are more like 30lbs, I will totally pick Phoenix up if we are being rushed by another dog and I don't care how it looks either!

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  25. I've come to understand this much better with a fearful dog at the end of my leash, Shyla. I think that some people are either clueless or honestly don't know how to control their dogs. I live in a different world from you, where leashes are almost non-existent. Seriously, many people don't even carry one for each dog during a walk/run. That makes the world a very different place for dogs, and I have to give up any illusion that I can control what will happen to my dogs during a walk. I'm okay with that because only a small group of people have access to our trails, and most of them have friendly dogs. Shyla is still scared even of friendly dogs but my neighbors all do their best to keep their dogs from crowding her.

    I guess that I've mellowed - because now I'm happy as long as the people "do their best". That is, except if a dog actually attacks one of mine. Then the situation changes, and I go ballistic. That has only happened with "outsiders", all of whom have trespassed across our land to get to the trails so I hold all the cards (call the sheriff for trespassing - yup, I'll do that).

    City or suburban life is totally different, and I understand that. My "standards" are extremely different when we go to town. If people have their dogs on leashes, then they should be able to control them and they should listen to me when I say that Shyla is not comfortable with meeting them or their dogs. So, I do understand where you're coming from.

    Anyway, I've found it does help me a lot to give people who are actually trying to control their dogs the benefit of the doubt. It keeps me happier.

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    1. I totally understand what you're saying and I agree with you. I've guess this one guy was the straw that broke the camel's back because I've seen him do it so many times to other people and have had some not so great encounters with people lately. I do try to give most everyone the benefit of the doubt, though!

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  26. Oh boy, can I relate to this! My biggest pet peeves are: Disgusting owners who think they're better than everyone else and therefore refuse to pick up their dog's poop, and off leash dogs who invariably come bounding over to my leashed dogs with the owner touting "don't worry, he's friendly!" Although my dogs are very friendly I have used the line "well maybe mine aren't friendly, did you ever think of that? Please call your dog!" When one dog is leashed and another is not it creates an imbalance, making the leashed dog feel vulnerable. This can escalate into fear and aggression, even in friendly dogs. I blogged about an incident with a very irresponsible & disrespectful owner last year who steadfastly refused to leash her dog or call him away from me and my leashed dogs. I'm so sorry you have such inconsiderate neighbors, I hope you have an opportunity to move in the near future!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  27. Well you know my thoughts on this...LOL I actually screamed at one guy, "Get your dog, GET your Dog, GET YOUR F*CKING DOG!" once. Oh he was running, but it was too late, the dogs had already met and he said, "See it's okay." I was so pissed all I could come up with was, "No it's not."

    When I'm walking my dogs and see another person walking theirs, I turn and go the other way. It's the simplest thing for me.

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  28. haha! OMG that husky pic made me laugh so much! That is just typical husky. "Will you be my friend pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!!!!" But in all seriousness, you are so right, respecting ones space is important. Mika does not care for strange dogs getting all up in her business!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  29. Dear Zoe and Phoenix and Their Person,

    I hate rude Dogs. Especially young, adolescent bouncy Dogs who think it is their right to jump on my head. I often tell them off. Sometimes I am told I am aggressive. Fortunately my person backs me up because she agrees with you!

    Ojo is often scared and runs and gets flattened. I think "he's friendly" actually means "I have no control over my dog!"

    We are not perfect, but we have worked really hard to learn to come back when our person calls. We walk close at her side when she asks us to help give space to a scared Dog. When we do greet Dogs it's usually for less than five seconds, and our person has given us many treats to teach us to just sniff quickly and then move on!

    Our person shares your frustration, and so do I! Our person hates being mugged by rude Dogs, and so do I! Our person wishes that all people understood that they have to train their Dogs... Us Dogs don't understand human politeness, and also I've met many Dogs who are stuck on leashes or did not get a chance to learn to be social properly. Also there are many Dogs who have had scary pasts and are afraid! All of these Dogs need and deserve help and support and training from their people. "He's friendly!" is not any of those things!

    Licks,
    Cobi

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