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Do you let people pet your dog on walks?

July 19th, 2006, 11:54 PM
I'm just curious what most people do when others ask to pet their dogs while on walks. I've never had a problem with my dog doing anything weird when that happens, but I've heard some bad stories and I know that you can get sued if your dog bites a person, or even puts their mouth on a person without actually biting down. My dog has never actually bitten a stranger, but he can be mouthy sometimes. I usually just have him sit and then start petting him and allow others to do the same, and its never been a problem.... but I still always think twice about it just because it would only take one time. I don't want people to think he is aggressive if I say no, or deny them or their kids the opportunity to pet a cool dog... so i have always said yes but its just scary to think of all the possible liabilities. Anyone out there not allow others to pet their dog even though he isn't aggressive?

July 20th, 2006, 01:05 AM
The liabilities are endless. We lived smack in the middle of Doghatertown, so we had to be sure that there was NO WAY our dogs could ever be accused of anything. I'm proud of my doggies for the way they desensitized to everything. Boo is so tolerant of everything and is super patient with people- good thing too because little kids would run up out of nowhere and hug him around his neck.:eek: (Their moms running behind them screaming in terror...) Jemma's a little more iffy, but she just walks away. She really wants to snap, but she holds it in and gets herself out of trouble instead. :thumbs up

People usually pet Boo though, even though Jemma attracts their attention more (I guess she's facinating, but spooky too, so is less approachable).

So ya, as long as the person doesn't look like their going to give some sort of parasite to my dog, I usually let them pet them. How else am I going to brag about how soft their fur is?:D

July 20th, 2006, 04:56 AM
I deffinately let them if they ask me. If it's a child, I have her sit first, and tell her "doucement", which calms her down a bit. Layla gets REALLY excited to meet people, giving them her major butt wiggle and huge smile, but as soon as they touch her, she decides her oppinion, and either keeps on wiggling or else ignores them and turns the other way. I've never had any reason to think that she will be aggressive. She does keep her mouth open, so I guess if someone missed her head or back and stuck their hand in her face, it could end up in her mouth, but she wouldn't clamp down. Most people pet her on the back anyways, so there is little worry about that.

jesse's mommy
July 20th, 2006, 05:24 AM
I always let people pet Jesse and as I'm walking towards others whether they are walking their dog, just walking on their own, or if it's kids, I ask whoever it is "Would you like to say hi?" Of course, they always say yes because they are fascinated with the "mean pit bull" who is being nice. I always have Jesse sit and I squat next to her and rest my hand on her back. This way she knows Mommy is there to protect her in case anything happens. She has never been aggressive with people, but she does get a little scared and usually tries to hide behind me when she meets new people so with me being next to her she feels safe and is completely fine. Then people start petting her head and her neck, then the tongue comes out and she saturates their hands and if it's a child, she always sneaks a tongue in the face. Sometimes I catch it before it reaches the face, sometimes I don't. Everytime it has happened where I wasn't able to catch the tongue I apologize, but people have laughed everytime. Who can resist the tongue on four legs?

July 20th, 2006, 07:48 AM
I don't always,Bailey for some reason growls at some strangers,others she'll just roll over for a tummy-rub,since she is not my dog,I prefer if nobody pets her.

July 20th, 2006, 07:55 AM
not strangers, no

July 20th, 2006, 08:30 AM
sometimes i don't have a choice, LOL! we'll be walking the dogs and people will just pass by and run their hands over dakotah' back in passing (he's tall enough to make it easy for them), or people will just ooh and aaah and gasp and fawn over them so much, i don't mind but after a while i get tired of the attention, i just want to walk my dogs darn it, this is not a circus! :eek:

most often my big boy gets the most attention becuase he's flashier and takes up more place, but as maika grows, she is getting her fan club too. all the time i hear people say "wow look at those bears!" and that they're as soft as bunnies, kids seem speciallyl attracted to them both. 4/5 parents actually encourage their kids to pet them, as opposed to being afraid of them despite their size and imposing stance - dakotah's mouth is big enough to swallow a small kid's entire head, LOL! they are both gentle as lambs though, and it shows in their eyes.

so that was the long answer to the question! the short one is: YES!


Golden Girls
July 20th, 2006, 08:43 AM
Most definately ... they adore the attention and the kind of people/children that do approach them are the ones who like dogs to begin with.

Of course you have the ones that will cross a street, look at you like OMG what do you feed them or I hope you own a farm :rolleyes: but for the most part mine usually will lay down for the belly rubs as well :)

July 20th, 2006, 09:09 AM
I'm ok with strangers petting my guys so long as they are calm and ask first. Like TD, I find I often don't get much choice. In our area BMDs are not very common and Dart being 110+ lbs is pretty big so does attract a lot of attention. People always comment on his size, esp. his head!

Bailey loves to meet anyone and everyone however Dart is more cautious and takes his cues from me. He is a little more protective but is happy and friendly so long as he sees that I don't feel threatened.

July 20th, 2006, 09:21 AM
I am really iffy on this Buddy is not aggressive but he can be very leary of strangers (he is scared) especially men he was abused by men. So I can usually tell by his body language if he is saying lets get out of here or I'm cool with them. Because if he is leary and someone wants to pat him he will jump back which people might assume he is going to attack them because of his size but in fact he wants to run the other way. So for the most part no but he does have people on our walk route that he heads me right towards them and goes right up to them. But because of his issues I avoid it mostly but his predecessor Boo loved everyone and could not wait for the attention and yes I let people pat him all the time. I think it really depends on your dog and you are the best judge of them. If you have even the slightest hint of apprehension don't risk it, its not worth it

July 20th, 2006, 12:16 PM
Always, especially kids, all my dogs adore kids!

One poor guy didn't have a choice, he HAD to pet Shadow(GSD), we were on the ferry and a guy fell asleep in his car with his arm hanging out the window. We were taking the dogs for a stroll and Shadow got on her hind legs and went under this guys hand so it stroked her head and most of her back. Poor guy jumped 10 feet!

I wouldn't have let her, but I didn't expect it. He though it was funny when his heart rate came back to normal!

July 20th, 2006, 01:42 PM
Sometimes I dont have a choice, people of all ages just run up without asking. Woofstock was a great example of this. I would stop, and there would be people flooding the dogs.

Apparently we are a walking circus show. The majority of people are good, but living right near an elementary school is difficult. There are always kids around and they love to pet the dogs. Some even go to our backyard without asking and pet them. Luckily I am never far away. It is super annoying.

Normally when we are on a walk, we just keep going. I try to walk them as late as possible so I dont run into people. A 1 hour walk during the day always turns into a 3 hour talking marathon lol.

July 20th, 2006, 01:45 PM
I walk Simon and Peach past the edge of a golf course, which does draw attention from ppl depending on the time of day. Lately we've been getting more asks, mostly since the birds are really feasting and Simon's almost always in full point or crouch on walks (slow going). My 2 are made to sit and stay sitting and most ppl are kind enough to ask, usually they're interested in Simon since he's purebred and just handsome tho very shy (so sayeth the proud mommy), but Peach is far more outgoing and friendly, which always gives folks pause. IF a child approaches us unattended, I usually stop them a good distance away (you can generally tell when a kid is going to charge up to pet the doggie), and ask them to walk to us slowly and quietly. We've never had a "human only" incident to date :)

July 20th, 2006, 02:06 PM
SarahLynn that's hilarious. :D Funny doggy.

I have to admit, I'm a back scratcher... :o Depending on the dog. If the dog has nothing but love and pleasantness in its eyes and the owner looks aloof and not apprehensive, then I go for it.:D

not strangers, nolol I can attest to that! :D Poor Max. He just needs to chill out.:D

July 20th, 2006, 02:27 PM
but isn't greeting strangers and dealing with strangers part of the "socialization"?

Because yes it could go wrong and the dog can be too rough on a child, but isn't it part of training to go through those instances to teach the dog to be calm??

Golden Girls...your dogs are very hard to pull away from strangers and extra petting and belly rubs ;) :love:

July 20th, 2006, 02:38 PM
Yes, but at a certain age, a dog is pretty finished developing social skills and you just have to know it and understand it and not expect miracles. And kids can be very rough, especially when their parents aren't around. You don't want to spook your dog either.

July 20th, 2006, 02:55 PM
I would let people pet my dog (if I owned one) and I always ask to pet someone else's dog (unless my friend standing next to me asked in which case same deal right?). I don't fear any dogs, but I am more apprehensive around the larger ones (just because I know that they *could* hurt me if I'm not careful...I'm stick girl after all).

I would love to own a dog of my own, though my original dog idea wouldn't work too well. I would love a Siberian or Malamute or something along those lines but I'm not sure I would have the energy for them either. Added to which I would have some serious issues training them because I don't have the strength to do some of the corrections. I couldn't handle a lab let alone a pulling dog like that. (Of course the lab I'm referring to was never "walked" and so didn't know commands and stuff for walking)

I think after much thought I'd start smaller and work my way up. :) Might be a little more prudent.


July 20th, 2006, 09:51 PM
Thanks everyone for your input so far! Jasper can be leary of strangers when he is protecting his house, but on walks he could care less about people really, except kids - he loves to lick kids faces and follow them around, but with adult people that he doesnt know, its like he doesnt even notice when they are petting him.. My main concern is that he might mouth a persons hand randomly and they would take it the wrong way... I get nervous cuz he actually did that once, just randomly, hasnt done it before or since, but we were just walking by this guy, we were passing him on a narrow bridge..Jasper sort of half jumped up to say hi and put his mouth on the guys hand.. didnt bite down at all but it really scared me (and the guy!) Everything was fine.. and I didnt get sued or anything... but my friend told me a terrible story about her neighbor who had a little white fluffy dog, not sure what breed.. They were at the dog park and a girl came over and asked to pet it, they said sure, never having had any problems before, and out of the blue the fluffy dog bit the girl. DIDNT BREAK THE SKIN but the girl sued them, saying it increased her fear of dogs and she had emotional distress. She got $2,000 and thats not including whatever the dog owners had to pay for their lawyer. I dont know what happened with the dog. But its strict liability for dog bites in public places, even if they have never bitten before. It just scares me that someone might interpret jasper being mouthy as a bite.. and then sue me!

July 20th, 2006, 10:29 PM
I try not to let anyone just charge up to my boys. If they do, I pull them to the other side of me so that my body is between them and the "stranger". Then I'll say they're friendly but they need to know YOU are friendly first. I'll ask the person to just stand and let them smell their hand first. This gives me a moment to assess how they are reacting to the person. After a moment I'll say it's ok to pet them. I do the same thing if a person asks first, although I don't put myself between them if I can see that they were sensible enough, and polite enough, to ask properly. I always have to be on my guard with small kids. My guys are fluffy and non-threatening looking, like stuffed toys, and kids don't seem to realize that toy dogs can bite too.

July 21st, 2006, 02:13 PM
Ever since I started using the head halters on my dogs, I don't get asked, which is nice as my dogs can be overly friendly at times. :p

July 21st, 2006, 03:45 PM
Ever since I started using the head halters on my dogs, I don't get asked, which is nice as my dogs can be overly friendly at times. :p

same here. people assume it's a muzzle, then announce to the rest of the world "don't pat him - he's muzzled! he must bite!" ... whatever.

I don't have a problem as long as people ASK first. but even if they don't, good luck to them. Tucker won't allow it. he'll dodge, hide, bolt around behind me, etc to get out of the path of a hand moving in to pat him without permission. He will only allow it if I set him up for it, and he is expecting it. I ask for a sit/stay, and invite someone to pat him with the distinct direction of NOT ON THE HEAD.

if they go for the head, all bets are off. I told them not to. Tucker will really only allow children and ppl he KNOWS to do so. Adult strangers may not. (he's a bit snobby, my Tucker)

July 22nd, 2006, 04:23 PM
I can't KEEP people from petting my collie, he's big and fluffy and reminds everyone of lassie and kids just run up to him, lol. Luckily he's extremely friendly and loves attention.
I let people pet my other dog if they ask, but now that she's 45 lbs of almost pure muscle people keep thinking she's a pitbull (she looks NOTHING like one).
I can't count how many times now I've been asked if she has pitbull in her (even by one of the vet techs). Then again if I say she has chow in her it doesn't get a better reaction, lol.
She'd never bite anyone though, in fact if I take her to someones house and she's off leash she'll take turns following everyone around. She'll also attempt to go home with whoever leaves :rolleyes: .

July 23rd, 2006, 12:42 PM
same here. people assume it's a muzzle, then announce to the rest of the world "don't pat him - he's muzzled! he must bite!" ... whatever.Boo too! I tell them if it is a muzzle, it won't do much when he tries to bite you. :evil:

July 24th, 2006, 04:59 PM
Practically everyone wants to pet my two dogs, and I let them. They love the attention :)

doggy lover
July 24th, 2006, 05:11 PM
I normally let Tucker decide, if he wants them to pet him. Most people stop us to ask what kind of dog he is, so we stand and chat if Tucker decides to go over and let them stroke him that is fine. If they act all hyper and stupid (you know the kind that works up the dog) then no because it just winds up Tucker and he will start to jump up on them. With kids its the same if they stay calm, just wanting to stroke him and they handle it right its ok, if they get all hyper it just winds up Tucker and no I don't let them. I'm always cautious with Tucker and little kids, one of my neighbors wanted to let her 2 year old kiss Tucker "Oh go kiss the puppy" I was fast to say no way. I'd rather be careful than have to have him pts due to an idiot parent.