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Open letter to dog experts

Dear Expert Dog People,

I appreciate that you know everything there is to know about dogs. Not just dogs in general, not just specific dog breeds, but every single individual dog on the planet.
I appreciate that you ask me if you can pet my dog before you pet it.

I appreciate that, after I tell you “No, please do not pet my dog as she is intensely protective and does not like to be touched by strangers,” you smile and nod patronizingly.

I appreciate how you insist upon your deep and detailed understanding of dogs and reiterate your pet-whispering brilliance: How you love dogs. How you were practically raised in a pack since birth. Or how you work with them in some capacity.

I appreciate that you stand up for your expertise.

I appreciate it when you tell me — despite my reasoned answer — that it’s OK for you to touch my dog anyway.

But if we’re being completely honest? Mostly, I appreciate your wide eyes and startled gasp after moving your hand quickly from my dog’s snapping growl.

Deep down, in my heart of hearts, I appreciate that my dog has just added a specific note to your dog brilliance: always listen to the dog’s owner.

Responses to "Open letter to dog experts"

Craig Miller says:

Interesting….but why are you taking your dog out among people (and children….that can’t help themselves) if it has an antisocial, aggressive streak?

Traci Arbios says:

Good question. My dog is a perfectly social animal, and very loving. But like many dogs that are part guard dog (and similar to some humans), she does not like to be touched by strangers. Being around people isn’t an issue — she ignores other people almost entirely– unless people attempt to force themselves into her space — by which I mean, insisting on putting their hands on her (after we have insisted that they shouldn’t). She has a very mean, serious growl.

pk says:

I go for walks, I stay away from anyone with a dog…..they are on a leash for a reason….its the law, and I don’t know or care how friendly they are, I stay away….
I have been bitten by a dog escaping from its owner, while walking on the opposite side of the road…not bad, but puts the fear in you….needless to say, I don’t walk down that street any longer…
I see many people approach dog walkers and want to engage the dog…..really?! How do you know that you should be doing that? If the owner is cautioning you, why would you continue?
(I said it!)

Kathy Burrows says:

I agree with Mr. Miller. If your dog does not enjoy being around people. and is a bite-risk, why put yourself and/or you dog in that situation? Some children (and I was one, many years ago) cannot resist a fur-face and while all children should be taught to ask before touching someone else’s dog, many are not taught this at all (or much of anything else for that matter). If your dog bites someone, especially a child, the dog will be on the losing end of that proposition.

By the way, I have a dog that is not particularly fond of strangers as well. He stays home where he’s safe and secure, away from somebody’s little dog-loving darling that might have a tasty hand to bite. Also, your smug, “I told you so” attitude is not in your dog’s best interest. Just my two cents worth!

Traci Arbios says:

Thanks for your two cents.

Pat Simone says:

As a local Clovis dog and national canine behaviorist would love a chance to write a counter response to this very uninformed article. Please feel free to contact us.,

Joe says:

I personally do not like to see dogs in public unless it is a dog needed by a disabled person. I believe that dogs should be kept in the owners property and not allowed to run the streets endangering those of us who like to take walks or ride our bikes instead I need to worry about being bitten by a dog which may or may not have rabies. If you like your dog that’s your right put don’t let him come up to me want to sniff me or lick me I hate that as I am not a dog lover. I hate it when people assume that since that like dogs so will everyone else like them.

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