the stranger’s dog etiquette

i can not express this more often than i already did, but here i go again: i just LOVE dogs. whatever dog it is, whenever i see one, i would squeal and hold my breath (to keep myself from squealing furthermore).

i LOVE it when people bring their dogs when they go to my workplace, i LOVE it when they bring their dogs to the public transport, i LOVE spying on my neighbours as they walk their dogs out… yeah, i know, i might sound a bit scary. but i can’t help it!

ever since i moved to this new place, i’ve seen quite a lot of neighbours with dogs. there’s one that has a big wolfy looking dog, another one has 2 very small dogs (that often fall on their sides from pulling the owner so hard and the owner pulled their leashes back… they’re too light that even the slightest pull make them fall!), another one has a barky-barky-bark-all-the-time small dog… for safety & security reasons, i can’t really tell you their breeds, but it’s all the same to me anyway: they’re all cute dogs! ❤

we (me & husband) always give our own nicknames to these dogs, since we don’t really know what their names are. the big wolfy one is the big kind wolf, the 2 very small dogs are the clumsy clowns, the barky dog is the coward (because it just keeps barking without actually acting out). there’s also the energetic dog, the fluffy dog, the Muppet dog (because it looks like a Muppet!). yes, we’re a bit crazy about dogs.

and then there’s this one very cute & curious dog. i see it (and the owner) every second day when i go to work, or sometimes when i go home from work, and some other times we would see them when we go shopping nearby. so many times we’ve passed each other, and almost every time, this cute dog always came to us as if it wanted to say hello. and just as many times we just walked by it without stopping, because… we have no idea how the stranger’s dog etiquette work!

i know that some dog owner wouldn’t mind a stranger petting their pet, but some actually do mind it. and if i ask the owner nicely, if i may pet it, how can i trust myself that i can then let the dog go??? and how do you end this petting session anyway??? LOL, so many things go in my mind when i want to pet some stranger’s dog, i end up never doing it!

i really, REALLY, want to pet this cute & curious dog, especially because it always seems expectant and waiting to be pet. as i said, this cute dog always came towards us when we were passing by, and then it actually stopped near us, almost as if waiting to see if we were going to FINALLY give it a brush, but we always just kept on walking (though i must’ve looked like i nearly died from holding back my squeal & at the same time smiling so big towards the dog). these last few times, i always also tried to look at the owner to see how she reacted, and it seemed as if she would actually give a green light if i were to ask if i may pet the dog, since i think she also remembers who we are by now from passing us by so many times. but how could i REALLY know?

so friends, strangers, ANYONE, please tell me, what is the correct etiquette for petting a stranger’s dog? or a stranger’s pet, any pet at all? what would you, a pet owner, expect a stranger to say when asking for permission, and also how would you end the session??


7 thoughts on “the stranger’s dog etiquette

  1. this entry had me in stitches… hahahaha …..(sorry!!! really can’t help it) If it were back in your home country I think you wouldn’t even have these hesitant thoughts but just acted straight away ^_*

    • well, in our beloved country no one actually takes their dog out! it’s of course a different matter if it’s some friend’s dog. and i think i would still behave the same way for a stranger’s dog back there, remember the “pet-the-seal” session in which i ended up not petting the seal at all? 😥

  2. I think dog owners are most likely to love their dog and are proud of it too, that as long as the person actually looks like they adore their dog, they would not mind. Start with a compliment about the dog and say can I pet it. Once a friend of mine who also loves dogs said this ” can I stroke your dog ” which is slightly weird word to use, also his voice and his whole being was going through a hangover that the owner hesitated and looked at him weird, as soon as my friend praised the dog, he let him pet the dog : ).

  3. People often begin the conversation with me and Canelo telling me what a cute dog 🙂 Then they ask what breed is he, male or female, what age, what is his name, can I pet him. Canelo is a good boy and let them pet him 😉 Sometimes they want to give him some doggy treats. Like on Monday. We sat on a bench in Tapiola. An older man stopped and we went the above conversation. He told he missed his dog so much. Canelo enjoyed the man petting him. He asked whether he could give Canelo a treat. I said it’s okay, go ahead and try, unfortunately he doesn’t like any treats, strange, eh ? To the gentleman’s disappointment neither did he this time. About ending it, try: oh, he/she is wonderful, I have to go, it was nice talking, have a nice day/evening/weekend . . . I hope you will meet many nice dogs to pet and owners to chat with.

    • i’ve been waiting for you to comment, because i knew you would know the best etiquette since you have Canelo! 😀 thank you so much for the tips & story, maybe one day we will meet and i will ask you if i may pet him! 😀

      PS. our belated Romppu LOVED food, and the way to his heart was through his tummy! if anyone would give him food, he would instantly become their best friend, LOL. oh, i miss him, too.

  4. I hope my tips will help you get many “dog friends” 🙂 I know food is the way to a dog’s heart in most cases but not for our dogs. Before Canelo we had a Tibetan Mastiff he never cared for any dog treats either and never, to many people’s disappointment, accepted any from anyone. Who knows, we may meet one day. I hope we will 🙂

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