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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After Muggsy died and I was ready to get another dog, the first thing I said was, "I want a smaller dog." That will be much easier, I thought. No more troubles on walks, I thought. A 90lb dog aggressive dog was just so much to handle, if I get a smaller dog, I'll have no troubles.

Yeah, I can be a bit stupid.

I have learned that when you have a 90lb GSD mix, no stranger ever wants to pet your dog. Especially if you have a muzzle on him. But if you have a 45lb dog that looks like a Golden Retriever puppy, everyone on Earth wants to pet your dog, and at least half of them have no idea how to do that properly. Oh, and most of those people will be small children face level with your dog's teeth.

Now Kabota has the temperament of a saint. His reaction to stress is to go to sleep. He loves children, as in butt-wiggling, whining, can't-wait-to-meet-them love. But every dog can, and will, bite given the right triggers. Kabota flinches if you pet him on the top of his head. He likes to be scritched under his chin, but top down petting clearly upsets him for some reason. And I'm really getting sick of jumping in between my dog and over enthusiastic strangers literally running up to slap pet Kabota in the face.

Any more experienced smaller dog owners have some advice? Or just sympathy?
 

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i dont really have any advice but i know how you feel. I always have problems with people just randomly up to my dogs past and present to pet them and i have to jump infront of them and tell them not to, they need to ask ( i say it very nicely). Winter isnt agressive but she does growl once in a while at people if they get to close, or even dogs. Nothing mean but just a low growl. And it bugs me because people see her and want to just walk up and pet her without asking or anything and it does get annoying having to always having to move infront of your dog and "correct the people" i guess you could say. I know it will most likely happen with snow as well. I know your pain :( it really does stink, i always told my fiance, i swear im going to put a sign on my dog that says " please dont pet me unless you ask my owner". I swear its like people see breeds that are classified as " good family dogs" and they feel its ok to just walk up to them and pet them at least its how it seems out here
 

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If Coco weren't afraid of children and protective of me, I know I would have issues. She looks like a walking teddy bear. But when I take her out for a walk, she barks at pretty much everybody because she's protective/possessive of me and has fear issues with fast-moving things/people/etc (like kids, joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders). This generally elicits a hearty laugh by the folks she barks at because she's in no way intimidating. Granted, if those same people actually walked up to her to pet her, she would stop barking, step behind me and whimper until convinced the person is not a threat, after which she'll be all butt-wiggles. Not aggressive; just a scaredy-dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So it's not just me!

I like it when adults or children approach us and ask first, then I can say "Please rub under his chin, patting on the head scares him". Kabota loves the attention, I hate to deny him that, but honestly, who thinks running up to a strange dog and sticking your face next his teeth is a good idea?

Oh, right, half of everyone.
 

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This question makes me laugh because WELCOME TO MY LIFE. People think they'll get a dog and feel safe walking late at night? Au contraire mon frere, at least if they get a cute blonde dog with floppy ears! Here is a short list of people who like to pet Biscuit without asking me first: sketchy men in the park; sketchy men on the street; homeless people everywhere; groups of men in dark alleys; policemen (I was once "pulled over" while walking in the rain at night so a cop could get out of his patrol car and pet my dog). Did I mention that I'm a smallish woman living in a very urban area? I never got so much unwanted attention before we got this dog. Last weekend I was walking her while talking on my cell phone and a random lady at a bus stop tried to pet Biscuit as we walked past. I mean, she's cute, but WTF?

Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view), Biscuit is extremely friendly and confident and will sit politely for any sort of head patting randoms on the street like to dole out. She'll let children crawl all over her - I always stop that and explain about appropriate dog greetings. The exceptions have been people carrying big things (sorry, old man with a cane...) and really large, hulking men (sorry, neighbor across the street). She's actually a pretty good watch dog, but she is the worst guard dog on the planet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
She's actually a pretty good watch dog, but she is the worst guard dog on the planet.
Kabota is neither. He does notice when cars or people go by, but he doesn't make a sound. And if people come into the house without knocking (my husband's family is really ... close), he just lifts his head and looks, then goes back to sleep. I guess that's part and parcel of his saintly temperament.
 

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Mac has horrible leash manners. Josie, who just learned to walk on a leash a couple weeks ago, is a thousand times easier if that's any indication. I have to keep him right beside me on a short lead because whenever we approach someone he pulls and yanks and gets up on his hind legs with his tail wagging and a big grin on his face. So yah, strangers usually pet my dog, but it's cause he is so clearly asking for it.
 

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Pepper is a rescue, so he has issues. He is terrible on a leash, despite having spent more hours than I can count stopping and walking in the opposite direction when he pulls. He won't eat from a bowl. He is head and paw shy. He barks at everyone when they come into the house, and barks at dogs he doesn't know.

Yet he is sweet tempered, quiet, loving, adorable, and friendly. I adore him, even though he can be a royal PITA.

ETA: His issues are not ISSUES, per se. To me, they are just a part of who he is. Had he not been exposed to cruelty the way he was for his first year of life, who knows what kind of dog he'd be. Then again, he might just be exactly the same way had I had the chance to raise him from birth.
 

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I think it's funny that 45lbs is small (or small-ish) to you.

I don't get much unwanted attention when walking Kit. Then again, she's fine with whatever people dish out, so I don't really care if they pet her in whatever way they feel is appropriate. I do tend to warn people that she's rather enthusiastic, though, and that deters some of them. Doggy kisses aren't appreciated by everyone.

ETA: Kit's a rescue, too. Not all of them have issues.
 

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Kit's a rescue, too. Not all of them have issues.
Thanks for adding this. Biscuit is a rescue too and is just as issue-free as any other dog, and she's walked nicely on a leash and loved attention from all people since the day we adopted her. Dogs end up in shelters for all kinds of reasons.
 

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Luke is like a "kid magnet" because he's so fluffy and cute so many just run up to him. He doesn't mind kids, but doesn't like it when they run up to him, nor being petted on the head straight away. Sometimes he doesn't let us pet his head, so I always have to tell children or adults the right way to pet him. He like to jump and give kisses too so I warn people about that. He is dog friendly except towards certain dogs that have shown him aggression in the past. Seriously, he remembers them and growls first, but I've gotten him on the "watch me" command now and that's doing wonders.

Small dogs, yes, people think are cute and cuddly and just want to pet, pet, pet. I think with small dogs they think there won't be any aggression in them and with big dogs it might be daunting to go up to one. Sometimes people gravitate towards Luke as we're walking cause he goes by them to check them out, but other than that I don't have a problem with people just petting my dog at random. They do say "hi" to him and not me. I find that somewhat annoying. If children are out and want to pet Luke, I'll say, "Ask your mommy or daddy."

If I'm walking alone (and I mean without Luke) and want to pet a dog, I look at how the dog is acting and how the owner is acting. If the owner just wants to walk, I'll pass say, "Hi" and "Your dog is so cute". If not, I ask to pet the dog and then do it the proper way and I get into talking about their dog. "Is s/he a this? Oh they're so pretty...blah blah."

But yeah, if I'm in a hurry I avoid the "kid/dog areas" where a lot of kids or a lot of dogs are and just walk Luke. I know he'll stop or they'll run over. So yeah, you're not alone!
 

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We have had people come up, without permission, take photos of the dogs. One pet event a guy followed us for two aisles. There was a little girl, she was cute, but didnt ask either & got very close to the dogs. A trip to Lowes or Home Depot for a 5 min trip often takes an hour. Last summer an employee that was stationed outside stopped us, he & his wife were researching dogs & ours were perfect size for them, so we answered lots of questions. While talking to him we also had two families, one w kids so Chloe did tricks for the kids (kids scare Skyler). The other family had to put their eskie down just days prior, Chloe's face looked much like their dog so they wanted a moment to love on her if she would allow it. They gave her a minute to meet them then really got into petting & touching, Chloe was soaking it up happily. Once inside the store, hour after we got there, then there was more
Eople & questions.

Get used to it, it amuses us & great time for pet education...obedience classes, food...
 

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My dogs are 15 lbs (zoey) and 5 lbs (ziva). To say Zoey probably has some version of canine adhd is an understatement. People always want to pet her, and always want their kids to pet her. Now, Zoey is not at all aggressive, and she LOVES attention of any kind, but when people other than family come up to pet her, at first she is crazy hyper, as in, she jumps, she squirms, she paws at them, she barks, she dances, she licks frantically. If someone comes to our home, I crate her the first five minutes and then she calms down, but out on a walk, she doesnt have that option. People see me walking a small, fluffy dog and assume she's a calm little fluffball, and constantly in the summer I have people dragging their little kids over and saying, "My kdis afraid of dogs, can she pet yours?" Now, I dont have a problem with others petting my dog, but shes probably not a great choice for someone who is scared, bc she's so hyper, and then the kids start crying, "shes gonna bite me! aahhh!" and then the parent will give me a dirty look and drags their kid away.

Now, Ziva is another story. She is very calm. Often, people will ask me the same questino about her, and that does work out nicely. For many kids, Ziva has been their first dog experience, or a first experience petting a dog after a scary event with a dog, and it makes me feel good that she can do that, and bring them happiness. And I dont usually mind, unless Im trying to get somewhere, or trying to make five miles in an hour or something, and Ive got teh time.
 

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The worst, for me, is when someone decides that since my dogs are small and therefore apparently not a threat, they're going to bring their dogs right on over and stick them in my dogs' faces despite the fact that both of my dogs are barking, lunging and sometimes even snarling at their dogs (mine are afraid of larger dogs). And then, while my dogs are in the process of freaking out and air-snapping at the other dogs as I try to walk away, the person will stick his or her hand in there and attempt to pat my dogs. NO, people. Just no.

This has happened twice fairly recently, once with a guy with three loose medium-sized border-collie-looking dogs and once with a couple with a (gorgeous blue-eyed) pit bull. Not only were the couple with the pit trying to pat Casper as he growled, but some other lady wandered up and tried to ask a bunch of questions about him. I don't want to be an asshole and I'd love to educate people about AKK and papillons, but seriously, not while my dogs are freaking out.
 
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