Letting Strangers Pet Your Dog

Should You Let Strangers Pet Your Dog?

If you regularly take your dog for walks or outings to pet stores and other public places, then you are probably used to people being drawn to Fido. Many will ask if they can pet the pup or will reach out to touch the animal. Should you let strangers pet your dog? 

The Debate: Should You Let Strangers Pet Your Dog? 

In many instances, you have little control over the interaction. However, please remember that some dogs are not comfortable around strangers. If your dog adores most people, the animal probably runs into a few he did not like. Even a friendly dog can react negatively. When scared, a canine's natural reaction is to either run or bite, so sometimes a simple pet can turn dangerous if the animal is started, fearful, or simply unsure of its surroundings. 

What Should You Do When a Stranger Wants to Pet Your Dog?

When a stranger asks to pet your dog, you need to pay attention to your puppy's reactions and body language. 

Does your dog's facial expression seem replaced with an open-mouth smile? When the stranger approaches, does the canine walk up to the person asking for a gentle pet. If your dog exhibits these signs, then letting a stranger pet your dog is probably okay. 

If your pet backs away from the stranger or appears afraid, then you'll want to forego letting the person pet the animal and kindly decline the offer of a scratch.

How to Say 'No' to a Stranger Who Asks To Pet Your Dog

Sometimes, honesty is the best policy. If you say nicely, "Please don't pet my dog," then most people will respect your wishes. However, some people will become angry or might even insist. Persistence is familiar with children who won't always take 'no' for an answer because they can't resist the appeal of a furry pooch. 

Providing a quick explanation for why someone cannot pet your dog is often your best course of action. 

Say the following:

  • My dog gets terrified and nervous around strangers
  • We are working on training, so we cannot allow any distractions such as petting.
  • I'm sorry, but we are in a rush and have to go.

Letting a Stranger Pet Your Dog

If you decide to let a stranger pet your dog, then please tell the person to move slowly and always stick out their hand so the dog can sniff first. Never allow anyone to pick up your pup, hug the dog or give kisses. Take great care to avoid letting a child run-up to the dog, which may scare the animal. 

Letting strangers pet your dog is a personal decision, but you should always watch the animal's reaction to the person before making a decision. Dogs are a lot like people - some days, they are in the mood to interact with people, and other days they might not want to deal with a stranger.  

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