Dear Owners of Goofy, Happy-Go-Lucky, Friends with EVERYONE dogs,
Please stop making other dog owners feel guilty because their dog can't be friends with your dog. It is so hurtful when people make passive aggressive comments. As humans, we love companionship and crave a sense of belonging so I completely understand when we project those feelings onto our dogs. We all just want our dogs to have other dog friends. To watch them playing gleefully at the park with their friends is a dream that I totally share with everyone else and I get it. As humans, we don't like everyone we meet and our dogs are the same way. Some dogs will never want other dog friends and this needs to be a thing that we are okay with.
There are dogs in this world who are afraid, if not terrified of other dogs. There are dogs who just want to stroll along with their owner and their owner is good enough. These dogs are not sad dogs. These dogs are awesome, happy dogs and being with their people is fulfilling enough. There are other dogs, like Zoe, who used to love other dogs but are getting older and maybe experiencing pain and they don't need or want new dog friends. They just want to go around and sniff all the sniffs and be with their people. To enjoy their remaining years in peace. They don't need other young, playful dogs jumping all over them because they hurt and they might react grumpily.
It is a gift that we tell you our dogs are not friendly. A GIFT.
We are trying to spare your dogs from an unpleasant experience. When you push us and bully us into letting our dogs interact with your dogs, bad things can and will happen. We are only trying to protect all the dogs, yours and ours. Every time our dogs have a bad experience it can take weeks, months if not years of work to help them feel better again.
Dog Owners, I beg of you:
Please stop with the condescending comments about how my dog must be a bad dog if she doesn't want to be friends with your dog.
Please stop with the guilt-ridden, passive aggressive comments and apologies to your own dog for not getting to play with my dog.
Always ask before you allow your dog to interact with someone's dog. If they say no, please be okay with it.
Stop letting your dog drag you into every other dog's face that you pass on the streets, parks, trails, etc.
Stop letting your off leash dog run up to other dogs.
Please don't blame us when our dogs snap at your dog when you disregard our pleas for you and your dog to stay away.
Please be kind and considerate because everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Every time I have to apologize and tell someone that my dog is not dog friendly, I die a little inside. It's the truth. I love my dog so much and I would love nothing more than to take away her fear of other dogs and see her playing happily in the park with other dogs. That's my dream for her but it's not HER dream.
Phoenix just wants good food, fun toys and to be with me and Zoe. I am so lucky that both of my dogs get along so well in the home. Other people are not as fortunate with their dogs and I need to spend more time celebrating all the good things.
Phoenix is a very happy dog. She loves her life with me, she loves Zoe. She is a very fulfilled dog. She gets the best food, treats and toys money can buy. She gets to play all the games I can come up with. She gets to run free whenever I can find quiet trails for her to do so. She doesn't want new dog friends. She prefers playing with Zoe, me and her other human friends. Not liking other dogs doesn't make her a bad dog. She's fun, she's funny and she's perfect in almost every way. She has a smaller bubble than some reactive dogs and she's able to go and do stuff with me that a lot of reactive dogs can't.
I honestly wish that people in the dog community would just understand that not every dog wants to be friends with your dog and that it's okay. It really does need to be okay. I wish that the owners of goofy, happy-go-lucky, friends with everyone dogs would be kind to those of us who's dogs are not in the mood to meet their dogs. Our dogs are just dogs. They are not much different than the other dogs but they just want to be with us.
A wise friend told me: "Your dogs are for you, they get along, they are not for other people. They are not toys for other people's dogs." She was not wrong.
Have you ever experienced a situation where a pushy dog owner was insisting their dog interact with yours? How did you handle it?