Dog-friendly people

April 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm 11 comments

Last week I was whining to friends that dealing with  “people triggers” is such a challenge compared to dealing with “dog triggers”. There are fewer unfamiliar dogs on the street than unfamiliar human beings. Humans are everywhere.  We have a comfortable routine of moving away from unfamiliar dogs (after Boogie offers a calming signal or a head turn towards me), but this isn’t so easy to do with people that I see on the street that I want to stop and talk to… 

If it is a person that Boogie knows, his ears go back, he jumps up, offers kisses, gets pets, moves away.

If it is a person that Boogie doesn’t know, he stops moving. Goes really still by my side, and stares. This nervousness is often complicated further by what the person does next, which is to stare back at him (“Hi Boogie!”) or reach out their hand or take a step forward to pet him before I say “NO, he is nervous and might bite you”. Not all human beings listen and understand. Perhaps we need a Space Etiquette type poster for human beings, too.

We had such a good walk this morning, that I have to share!

When Boogie and I stepped out the door this morning, one of the building managers – John – was standing outside on the sidewalk, with a cup of coffee and slice of bacon in his hand. It’s not everyday that the first person you run into has bacon, right? 🙂

This time, when Boogie saw the unfamiliar human being in his territory, he stiffened, then turned back to look at me, it was more of a “That dude has bacon, I want to move forward” vs. the usual “OK, lead me away back towards the apartment and give me my treat”. I gave Boogie a treat anyway, for turning back to check with me.

John asked me if it was OK to give Boogie some bacon.  We moved forward,  Boogie got a piece of bacon and then he politely plonked his toosh down on the pavement in front of John. No seconds, but hey, what a good start to the morning walk.

Later on the street, Boogie stiffened slightly when a guy in uniform came walking towards us.  “What a good-looking dog! He doesn’t like guys in uniform?”

Me: “Not really. He usually barks at guys in uniform”. Mr. Uniform did not come forward. He stood where he was and next to me, Boogie sat down. Mr. Uniform chatted away throwing more compliments at Boogie then said “OK, OK, I am leaving now. Go with your mom”.  I thanked him and said goodbye, and Boogie and I moved on  home.

It is so nice to meet strangers who want to meet your dog but who are truly dog-friendly and polite!

On a separate note, I have a silly burning question. Click on this picture below and tell me what you think! 🙂

Entry filed under: Outdoors, Training.

Interviewed! The Behavioral Revolution

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kaylingoodman  |  April 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I once heard dogs poop on bushes (or benches) to create the illusion of a taller dog to any strange dogs that might pass through his/her territory. I’m no expert but it’s a thought!

    • 2. lili  |  April 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Hmmm. I don’t know. But that’s assuming that taller dogs don’t poop on the ground, that they poop higher, right?
      I also wonder if sometimes Boogie poops in a bush to make it harder for me to pick it up… 🙂

  • 3. oreoowner  |  April 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Yes, it is hard to find people who don’t just rush up to you and your dog. Good to hear you had a great walk!

    • 4. lili  |  April 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Boogie is so sensitive, sometimes they don’t even have to rush up. They just have to turn their heads and LOOK at him and he’ll freak out! sigh.

      • 5. oreoowner  |  April 25, 2012 at 12:27 am

        Yes, some days are worse than others and around every corner is a trigger. I’m glad you have this blog to help others and yourself de-stress. It’s a relief to know there are others out there!

  • 6. Georgia Little Pea  |  April 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Good on those guys! We had to put up with a lot of annoying gushy adults and kids when we had Rufus the MagnetDog.. Luckily, no one particularly notices Georgia! ;p. Yes, please do another of your fantabulous posters!

    Boogie’s balancing on his front legs! I read about that when I was doing Georgia’s pissing like a boy post. So funny. Georgia will back up into bushes or a trunk but I haven’t seen her do this trick. Yet. Would love to though.

    Have a great Easter break 🙂 x

    • 7. lili  |  April 5, 2012 at 9:25 pm

      I am freelance/self-employed so I don’t really get a break over Easter :/ Happy Easter to you too!

      • 8. Georgia Little Pea  |  April 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm

        that sucks. speaking as one who is unemployed and therefore, couldn’t care less. but it IS helpful to have 2 extra hands for housework over the ‘holidays” ;p

  • 9. rumpydog  |  April 6, 2012 at 12:08 am

    I like to pee on plants because that’s where the other dogs leave messages!

  • 10. thegraceofdog  |  April 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    What an awesome walk! I love your description of Boogie’s presumed thought process when it came to approaching the stranger (stranger danger!) with bacon (mmmmm….bacon!). Sounds like Boogie made a great choice!

    This reminds me of when our GSD was a puppy. It was a chilly day, and my husband was taking Biscuit for a walk in our neighborhood. She was showing uncharacteristic interest in a woman she’d never met before, and when my husband commented on this, the woman said, “Oh, maybe it’s this!” and pulled out a giant, family-sized pack of steaks out of her parka.

    We still joke about walking around with a parka full of steak. We never did find out why the woman was doing it! People can be so odd!

  • 11. wantmorepuppies  |  April 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    That last picture is too funny!


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