Can my dog come and say “HI”? No, he can’t. It seems like every person I come across with a dog who wants to come and say “hi”, is out of control. I was walking a client’s dog the other day that is reactive to other dogs. It was my second week of board and train and we made a great deal of progress. As I walked him in the city I saw a women walking her dog, or I should say being dragged by her dog. She had one of those retractable leashes, which I don’t care for. The dog had 15 feet of line, charging in our direction and barking. “Can my dog say hi?” Unbelievable. I smiled and turned, going in another direction
I believe asking permission for your dog to come and say hi is another way of saying, “I can’t control my dog, I’m not in charge, but my dog is. He sets all the rules in our relationship.” The Canine Good Citizen tests for Calm Greeting Behavior. You ought to be able to walk up to someone with a dog, put your dog in a sit, and shake hands with the individual. If you cannot do that, give me a call and we’ll set up a lesson plan.
I am not a fan of letting strange dogs come up and say hi. In one particular incident while we were camping a loose dog from a neighboring camp site ran up to me and my dog, growling. My working dog, a Belgian Malinois let the dog know that is not the proper greeting behavior and in his, not so friendly dog language, ran the dog back off to his camp site. Mind you, my dog was on a leash. My Mal’s body language and tone was all it took. The owner explained his dog just wanted to say hi, “he always growls when meeting strange dogs”. Unbelievable!
You never know what you’re going to run into and that’s why I am not a fan of Dog Parks and letting strange dogs say hi. My dog doesn’t need to say hi and neither does yours. Mixed signals can cause a dog fight and if my dog hurts yours, it’s entirely my fault, because your dog just wanted to say hi.
Do a little training with your dog. Teach him some rules like sit, down, and no pulling on the leash, even when another dog is around. Do this and you will be on your way to a happy, well behaved dog, you can take in public places.