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I was taking our french bulldog for a walk today when the weather had cooled down. He’s fairly hyper so I try to take him for walks whenever I can. The rest of the neighbourhood must’ve had the same idea to get some fresh air when the heat had reached a bearable level, as the sidewalks and yards were full of people.

Anyway, we were nearing the end of our walk, running into plenty of people (including the only other frenchie in town), when we walked in front of this one house. The mom and her kid, a boy probably no older than 10, were talking to a neighbour. As we were going by I heard the kid yelling for his mom’s attention and overheard him ask if he could “go play with the dog”. Although she was none too happy about being interrupted, I was surprised and pleased to hear her tell him: “No, it’s a strange dog. We don’t go up to random dogs. You have to ask first.” I think the kid probably would’ve ran up to me after that, but by that time we were a good distance away.

Reggie is an extremely friendly dog and loves everyone he meets, and I seriously doubt he’d intentionally hurt anyone, but it makes me sooo happy to hear a parent tell their kid not to run up to a random dog and start petting it. I’ve seen and met too many parents and kids who would run up to us and start showering Reggie with affection. While he wouldn’t do anything, I can’t say the same for our dachshund. She looks sweet and cute and cuddly too, but I’d never let some kid just start grabbing at her. She’s never attacked anyone, but she doesn’t care for strangers either, and I don’t want to take the risk.

ALWAYS ask the owner to pet a dog, no matter how friendly they may look. Accidents happen all the time that could easily have been avoided.
 

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Yessssss!

I actually just had a really similar experience at a park today. A like 5 year old saw Otter and started sprinting towards us. Otter adores children, so I wasn't worried and just put otter in a sit for greeting. But the dad saw caught up to him, picked him up, and gave him the same talk.

It made me soooo happy!
 

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I think it's great there are still parents around with a grain of common sense! Kudos to the mom.
Sometimes kids sneak up on you. I was with our 6 month old puppy Gracie at an outdoor (dog friendly) cafe after our walk when she started barking. Imagine my surprise to see she was barking at the cutest little girl. I'd say she was about 3 years old. I apologized to the mom and told her that we're trying to get her used to people. I thought everything was fine and turned back to what I was doing, heard a noise and turned around and the girl was right next to Gracie! Startled me, much less the dog. Thankfully Gracie was fine, she's really good natured. But it could have been a bad situation. Who let's a toddler approach a dog that had been barking at them? Even if it's obviously still a puppy?
 

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Ugh yeah, that happens with Mouse. For whatever reason, he seems to attract people trying to sneak pet him. Which he isn't super into new people anyways, so I never let people pet him when they ask anyhow unless he seems interested for whatever reason.

He barks at them and they think he's aggressive. Then if the person seems really just naive I explained that dogs don't like being surprised pet and that you should ask. If the person is an jerk about it, I just walk away or tell them to leave my dog alone.
 

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I agree! I've had adults actually just try to reach out and pet one of my dogs when we were in tractor supply and when we kept walking I heard her say "oh me must not be friendly". Had to laugh to myself and shake my head a bit, no hes a very friendly dog, I just don't let them get all hyper and lovely to everyone who shows attention to him.
I had had kids want to run up and pet him too and thankfully most parents let the kid know they have to ask.
 

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Dog culture is so different here. I can't think of a time when someone - adult or child - petted or approached Sam without asking. Allowed their dogs to approach? Yes, unfortunately. But apart from the occasional pat he gets when we're passing someone on a narrow sidewalk and he's soliciting attention by being wiggly and bouncy, everyone seems really good about asking.

On the other hand, when I was living in Boston I had a father point out Sam (who, at the time, was a very bouncy, excitable puppy jumping all over) to his barely-able-to-walk toddler and send the kid right up into Sam's face without even looking at us. Not to mention the guy who thought it was okay to pick up Sam without asking. Ugh.
 
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