Do not approach
Don't approach unless you are invited. I've written about this many times but it is one of those things that keeps popping up again and again and again. People who approach you even when you are trying to move away. There a great deal of people out there who have no idea how their dog is with other dogs; let alone doing an on leash greeting. But they are very determined to have their dog say hi. It is one of those things that leaves me shaking my head about humans in general. About a week ago, my husband was out with Luke. At nearing 14 years of age and very unsure on his feet we are very protective. He doesn't need socializing; he was out for the outing itself. A woman approached with her unruly Labrador; my husband stepped off of the path, moving Luke away. A clear sign to anyone that a greeting is not desired. Nope. She continued on her approach until my husband had to shout at her, several times. Even then she said "he will not be happy until he says hello." Really?
This happens all of the time and it makes me crazy. It is one thing if both people agree on a greeting; note the word "agree?"
Agree - to give consent.
Unless you get a very clear agreement after ASKING, then move along. When a person is giving CLEAR signs that they do not want an interaction, DON'T PUSH IT. People will come up to you saying "yes, she is very friendly," and then you hear "be nice now," which is a CLEAR sign that their dog is not always friendly.
Some other tell tale phrases to listen for when you ask, "are they friendly?":
- with most dogs.
- if she's in the mood.
- not always.
You must ask first; but even then you must also check for yourself. Watch the body language of the dog who wants to say "hi." Often you can clearly see that a dog is not a good match for your dog to say hi to. Many people will tell you that their dog is friendly but they are clearly not. Not all dogs want to say hi to other dogs, that is fine. Why force our dogs to say hi and interact? We don't, we go for a walk and say a cordial "morning" to other people as we keep on going.
Read other human body language, honestly. If someone steps off of a path or moves away at your approach, THAT IS A CLEAR SIGN. Keep moving, they don't want to interact. When I step off the path with my dog and get some good distance and the other person approaching steps off and keeps approaching, it is mind boggling. Humans make the rules; at least they should make the rules. Just because a big unruly dog wants to say hi to my dog; does not mean that it should be allowed. If I say no, then it is no; keep moving lady.
The other day while waiting at the Vets. for Luke's test; a woman walked in with a very nice Boxer. The Boxer was friendly but the Bassett Hound that they were approaching was not. The Bassett was very nervous as is typical at the vets. The woman with the Boxer allowed it to go directly up and stick it's head in the Bassett's face. It didn't go over well and the Bassett lunged out and snapped. Who's fault? The lady with the Boxer. The Bassett then received a scolding and got yanked around on a choke collar; even after having given clear signs of not wanting an interaction.
After that interaction came another. A woman walked into the room with her dog on an extension leash (don't even get me started). It was wandering around at the end of the leash with intent on seeing all of the dogs. The dogs were anxious, WE WERE AT THE VETERINARIANS, of course they were anxious. I prepared myself to give a clear sign if the woman came my way but luckily she was quickly escorted to the back.
If someone says NO or moves away; it means NO, keep moving along.