Beware the Wagging Tail!

Ah, Wow! A friendly dog… no?…. oh…..

Look, the doggy is happy she’s wagging her tail!

So many times we hear these phrases.

Only the other day we were on one of our walks and a Grandma and young boy (probably aged about 3) were approaching us. 

We were at the end of our walk and Bella was ambling along, off lead, tired and, yes, happy.


The Grandma and boy headed towards us, no question from Grandma as to if Bella was ok with the boy approaching her and no question from the boy as to whether or not he could stroke her.

Now, admittedly, if there was a problem with Bella and her behaviour, she would 

  1. have been on her lead and b) have been under my very close supervision.

But, one of the very first things I taught Livs and G about approaching dogs was to ask the owners if they could stroke their dog BEFORE heading over and sticking their hand in the dogs face! My two grew up confident around dogs but they still asked and didn’t just amble up and fuss all/any random dogs. 

Since completing all my training I’ve now upped this advice/warning to any children I work with and chat to.

I say they also need to ask the dogs permission to stroke it too! 

Many owners will just say, “Oh yes, Fluffy will be fine”, but actually Fluffy may not be feeling the love or wanting any fuss at that particular time. She may be keen and excited to get on her walk, to chase her ball or her buddies.

In “trainer language” her arousal levels may already be elevated or she may be feeling anxious at who may be already at the park. Will it be her buddy or the dog from next door who nips her ears and makes her uncomfortable?

A small, ice cream flavoured hand may be the thing which pushes those arousal levels too far. 

“OOOHH, Fluffy bit me!”

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