Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I’m Sorry My Human Won’t Allow You to Pat Me.


Hi Y’all!

When I wrote that title I forgot you don’t understand me when I talk.  Even my Human sometimes has problems understanding what I’m telling her. 

Hospital admissions for serious dog-related injuries rose by 5% in England last year, (click here to read complete item)  according to NHS data.

There were 6,120 hospital admissions from May 2010 to April 2011, up from 5,810 the previous year, figures from The NHS Information Centre show.

One in six dog injury admissions in the year up to April involved a child aged under 10.

This report may have been in the U.K., but it should wave red flags to all of us with dogs.  The U.S. has a very active legal system.  We have 75 breeds on the Banned/Restricted list.  This list includes your favorite breeds for service dogs, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. 

When a child runs up to a dog its little face is often eye level with his jaws.  If the child rushes up into the dogs space, a snap can result in a serious injury.

Once at the vets, when my Human was busy paying my bill, I was sitting in a “sit stay”,  on my leash, behind her.  I’d had an ear infection treated and my ears were sensitive and sore.  Some lady walked up and reached to pat me.  When her hand brushed my ear, I snapped a warning.  She jerked her hand back and my Human felt my leash tightened and turned around. 

If that had been a child, I might have accidently snapped its face.  It was an adult who should have known better than to just walk up to a strange dog, especially one going or coming for treatment at the vet, which is never our most popular place to visit. 

Because we live in a society where any confrontation could end up in court;  because we live in a society where I could be removed from my happy family by just being a dog and reacting like a dog, I’m not allowed to receive pats from strangers. 

Yes, I’m well socialized.  If you follow me, you know I am well trained in obedience.  I’m good around other dogs and children.  I don’t have any children of my own, although I’ve been socialized around them.  I’m well traveled, too. 

So, you want to pat me?  My Human will say to you “I’d prefer you not pat him”, and she’d tuck me slightly behind the “heeling” leg.  (If you missed yesterday, I heel left or right, away from oncoming pedestrian or other traffic). 

Teach your children to respect others, both people and animals, especially strange dogs.  Be the example for your children. 

Do not approach service dogs or other working dogs. 

Even if the owner says a dog is safe to approach, be aware of the dogs body language.  A waving tail does not always mean a welcome.  An owner may not know his dog is not feeling well.  Just because he owns the dog doesn’t mean he understands his dogs body language.

Take heed humans!  Train your dogs.  Socialize your dogs.  Keep your dogs safe.  Don’t put your dogs in a compromising situation where someone could be hurt. 

Y’all come back now. 


  1. We completely agree. I always keep our dogs out of any dog or humans reach. And you make an excellent point with the thriving legal system and there are too many of us on the banned and restricted list. Better not to take the chance and keep everyone safe.

    Good Post!

  2. What a great post. THis should be put in newspapers acrodd the country.

  3. At the base of our legal system, dogs are privately owned property, just as any other possession. I wouldn't let some stranger come up and pet my purse (if for some reason I had a purse people wanted to pet), so why on earth should I feel obligated to let them pet my dog?

  4. This is great advice, Hawk. Our dog, Ty, is afraid of strangers and so many people reached to pet him without even asking! It made it really hard to socialize him. Finally, we got a vest with a patch that says "Don't Pet Me. I'm Working." Really, all he's working on is trusting strangers not to come up and stick their hands in his face - but no one needs to know that. The vest is really helping. People give Ty his space and he's getting more comfortable around people he hasn't had time to get to know.

  5. Gretel is still anxious...especially around little kids. I was standing with her and some of my friends the other day and all of a sudden she started goiing nuts. I turned around to see this quite suprised little girl stading by her crouched mom. I immediately corrected Gretel and aplogized but made it known to the lady that had I KNOWN she was going to approach my dog I would have focused her energy in a more positive way. Sheesh people. I know she is 9 lbs of cuteness but don't go up to ANY dog to pet them without asking the owner first.

  6. Bravo!

    -Chandra at Daley's Dog Years

  7. I so agree! People need to make sure their children know how to properly approach dogs!

  8. Great advice buddy! People need to take responsibility around strange pets, it's just being safe!

  9. Great advice Hawk! I always wonder why more people don't teach their children about behavior around strange dogs. Our girl Kat (who is almost 16!!!) doesn't even ask to approach a dog at the v-e-t. She may talk baby talk to it (which is how I trained her as a responsible Who), but no getting close-they probably don't feel well at the v-e-t. If we are at one of the pet places she always asks the human first and then holds out her hand to see if the dog is even interested in pets. The momma would like to think this is from her teaching our girl Kat, but it's not. Kat has grown up with my brother the Bean that just 'cause a dog may look like a teddy bear and wag his tail doesn't mean he is gonna let you keep all your fingers!

    Sugar the Who

  10. This is a great way to wrap this topic up, hawk. thanks for sharing --- your timing couldn't have been better for me :)