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Often times we cross paths with a dog whose owner just doesn't seem to want my dog to greet them :( I want her to socialize with dogs who show interest in her, but what if the owner seems disinterested?

Is there some kind of doggie owner etiquette when it comes to greeting on the street?

Thoughts??

- fairly new doggie parent
 

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You can ask while you are still far away, if your dogs can meet. As the owner of a leash aggressive dog, I cross the street to avoid other dogs being walked. If you see someone cross the street when they see you coming, I'd assume they do not want to have the dogs meet.

Your best bet may be inviting a fellow dog owner over to walk/play together. Or go to Petsmart, and keep your dog away from others, and ask if they can sniff. Or enroll in a training class. Or try a dog park during a slow time (before 4 pm, during the week).
 

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There are lots of reasons people may not seem interested in their dog interacting with yours.
Their dog could be dog aggressive in which case they are doing you a favor by not letting them interact.
The person themselves may be shy and thinking the same thing as you, just trying to figure out if you and your dog are friendly.
Some people don't understand dog body language at all and think that dogs playing is actually a fight so they purposefully keep their dogs from interacting with other dogs.

The common greeting we use when we meet other dogs on the street and the owner is holding them back from greeting our dog is to ask "Is your dog friendly?" If they say no then keep on walking! If they yes then ask if your dog can meet theirs. Asking their dogs name and breed can help break the ice too if the person is just shy.
 

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I am that owner, and I certainly appreciate being asked a ways away by the other person, but if I'm out with my dog friendly ones I'll generally beat to the punch and ask "Is it OK if our dogs meet?" Never assume someone is rude if they're crossing the street with their dog when they see you coming. I have a dog that does not like other dogs. I also generally don't like to meet head on with my dogs on leash.
 

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Those are great reasons, but certainly not the only ones. I cross the street to avoid having my dog meet others while on leash. Here's why:

1) In my experience, a lot of owners have no clue if their dog is friendly or not. Even if they say "Sure, my dog is friendly, let's have them meet!", I simply don't trust them.
2) My dog gets very excited about the prospect of meeting other dogs, but especially their owners. She will jump on people without invitation. Not all dogs take kindly to having another dog jump on their owners. And not all owners take kindly to dogs jumping on them.
3) When walking near a street, I try to avoid situations where my dog will get excited and I might have to drop the leash. In my experience, other dogs tend to get their leashes tangled up with mine, mostly due to my dog's excitement. I don't like feeling out of control when we're near a busy road.

I do take my dog to dog parks semi-frequently so that she can socialize with other dogs off leash. Under these circumstances, I find the whole thing a lot less stressful, since there are no roads, no leashes, and (hopefully) fewer dog-aggressive dogs.
 

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I don't like to have meet and greets during walks, and Kabota is supremely dog friendly. It just gets him too excited and then he forgets all about loose leash and if his prey drive gets activated afterwards, it's 10x worse because he's already amped up.
 

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I never want my dogs to meet and interact with dogs I don't know. I want my dogs to ignore on-coming dogs. All of them. If we started doing meet and greets, my dogs would start to watch for on-coming dogs.

If I am going to let my dogs play, I would prefer it be with dogs I know and I do it off leash.
 

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Yea I have one dog who doesn't care for strange dogs and one dog who can be reactive to strange dogs. So we aren't generally "meeters" on walks but it doesn't have anything to do with not liking someone or their dog, just not necessary and not appropriate for those two dogs. My third is friendly to everyone but can be a bit overexuberant in his greetings so even with him I have to be careful about what the other owner and their dog is comfortable with.
 

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There are lots of reasons for that. I would not be interested in allowing my ACD mix to meet your dog if you encountered us! She is old, arthritic and quite aggressive. I would, however, tell you that my dog doesn't play, but thanks anyway.
 

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Oh, I forgot to mention that on leash greetings can be a problem in that it can force the dogs to meet fact to face, which is quite rude and aggressive to dogs, so you can end up with a fight between two otherwise dog friendly dogs.
 

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If you wish to socialize your dog, get into a class where it can be done under proper supervision or look into meet-ups.

My dogs only socialize under close supervision, my dobe is dog reactive and needs to be PROPERLY introduced to all other dogs, my pug just gets hyper if he meets dogs on leash and it blows the walk.
 

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I'm one who will not allow my dogs to great another while on a walk. I'm not trying to be rude or antisocial at all. When my guys have a leash on it means they are 'at work'. Since I have so many dogs in the home I keep a tight leash (pun not intended) on all my crew. Everything is a training lesson. When the collar and leash go on it's serious business. They are not permitted to acknowledge outside distractions and are to remain totally focused on the task at hand, even if it's only a walk.
People have commented that my dogs act like they're in the military. I take great pride in that. It's difficult to keep such a large group well trained and behaving properly, yet vital to a happy home life, however crowded it may be.
Bottom line: Don't take offense if someone does not allow a happy greeting on the trail. There could very well be a good reason for it.
 

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I didn't know about socialization 15 years a go. I think lots of people still don't know about socializing. I ask, but don't push, even when I can see that their dog is very interested in contact...
 

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You can always ask nicely from a reasonable distance (at absolute minimum 15 feet... as in, 2 x 6 ft leashes plus a gap) but really, I would not suggest you wanting your dog to greet strange dogs on the street.

If you want to socialize, sign up for training classes like a CGC class and socialize there plus meet some more dog owners to set up your own walks or play dates. A well run dog daycare is another option.

I have one dog friendly dog (Chester) who knows how to greet properly with a butt sniffing. But I still won't let him greet strange dogs on walks because all too often, the other owner has no clue. For example, one walk back when, we met a girl and her medium sized dog who seemed friendly and she said he was friendly and I let Chester greet the dog. Who then spun around and leapt on Chester while snarling and snapping. I pulled Chester away and shouted "What the heck!?" to the girl. She said, "Oh, he does that sometimes...." WHAT?
It also protect Chester (and me) from owners who might get bent out of shape over something like a scratch from two dogs playing or those who don't understand that dogs can play rough and might freak out that they were fighting.

Practical considerations like simply getting leashes tangled is also an issue; when my friends bring dogs over or we meet known dogs at the park, we just walk, no playing, and they are only allowed to play off-leash in my yard.

My current foster dog is not dog aggressive but she is overexcited by dogs and does not yet know how to greet them correctly. So she is a "DINOS"- Dog In Need Of Space- and when we go on group walks, she will wear orange to notify people to get her extra room (from other dogs, people are A-OK). Several of the rescue groups and trainers here in town have agreed on and are promoting the use of orange for DINOS. If a dog approached her in a strong/aggressive manner, she would react aggressively/defensively, so as a preemptive move, I ask people on trails etc politely to give us passing room or I cross the street early if possible. Because I am crossing the street well before she can react to another dog and she walks so nicely on the leash, and she really does want to play with the dog so it makes other owners think she might be a good candidate to greet. Which she is not.
 

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That happens a lot here too. My dog and their dog wants to see each other, but the owner pulls their dog away. I know there are a number of reasons, to which many posters just described, but I also think people do that because they just don't feel like bumping into people and continuing with their walk. I always want to ask if my dog can meet theirs, but I see the way they're acting, so I leave it be.

I see some dogs here that have never met Luke, nor take walks that much, and dogs do need socialization to know how to act with others. It's sad that people don't think dogs need socializing with others.
 

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That happens a lot here too. My dog and their dog wants to see each other, but the owner pulls their dog away.
If you ran into me when I was walking with Casper, he would do this. He would pull towards your dog, looking like he wanted to play. But if I let him, he would get right in your dog's face, nose-poking it and probably slapping at it with his paws, generally being really rude. And if your dog reacted to this even with a nice correction, Cas would get "offended" and would snap back angrily. I've taken him to puppy classes, we've played with friends' and relatives' dogs, and I CAN get him to play more gently -- but it takes about 15 minutes of watching him carefully and stopping him when he gets rough. I am not interested in risking his (or any other dog's) safety when we're simply trying to go for a walk.

Also, what's wrong with just not wanting to talk to anyone else? I like nice quiet walks with my dogs where I can just think about things. I like the exercise and the fresh air and I like the hour or so of peace (because I live in a busy house and I work at a busy job, so I don't get a lot of peace and quiet). I don't want to stop every five minutes to "socialize" with people or other dogs.

And yeah, I agree that some socialization is important, even if just to teach dogs how to behave around other dogs without freaking out. This is especially important with puppies and young dogs. But there is no reason that your average adult dog "needs" to socialize with every damn dog it meets on a walk.
 

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Always always ask first from a distance.

A lot of people aren't interested in meet-n-greets for one reason or another. I am one of those people.

Here's one example of why asking first is a necessity:

There was a dog that I used to work with in daycare. He was an angel. You really couldn't ask for a better daycare dog and his social skills were pretty much perfect. I found out that he lived in my neighborhood when we started seeing each other on walks. But his owner's body language screamed "do not approach" so I resisted temptation to fuss all over him.

Fast forward a few months and he attacked my dog while we were passing on a narrow trail. That resulted in a $533 vet bill. That's how I learned that he has leash reactivity issues.

The lesson I learned is that even dogs I know in the daycare setting may be completely different outside of daycare.

For me, walks are my quiet alone time. Kaki gets her fill of socializing at work.
 

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Also, what's wrong with just not wanting to talk to anyone else? I like nice quiet walks with my dogs where I can just think about things. I like the exercise and the fresh air and I like the hour or so of peace (because I live in a busy house and I work at a busy job, so I don't get a lot of peace and quiet). I don't want to stop every five minutes to "socialize" with people or other dogs.
I'm with you on this. As an introvert, I need a fair amount of time to myself and sometimes walking the dogs is how I get it. It's not my job to provide socialization for other people's dogs ;).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Hi everyone,

Thank you all for your inputs!! Yes, definitely, I already knew that if they're crossing the street, not to go chasing down after them just so they can play ^_^ That's a pretty strong signal to me that they don't wish to greet.

I think I will follow the advice of asking from a distance if it's okay they play together and whether their dog is friendly. This is very feasible, and not too direct. I also appreciate the fact that some owners need that alone time, and I've sacrificed quite a lot of that when I had Butters so maybe I should get some R&R myself :)

I fully understand now that some owners do not want their dog greeted all the time - I guess it's just a matter of communicating and seeing if they're just shy but want the dogs to play vs. they just want to continue on.

Of course, I always supervise extremely closely when they greet, looking for signals that either one could become agitated and careful to keep the meeting short and positive. Lucky for me, butters never once approached a dog directly, and always goes around to the side, avoiding eye contact. She's good that way :)
 
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