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Using “Do Not Pet” Accessories to Advocate for Our Dog

We’ve gotten quite a few questions about our “do not pet” hat and leash wrap, so I thought I’d compile our thoughts into a full-length blog.

Here’s the how and why being using these accessories to help advocate for our dog’s space while out in public!

First: Why wouldn’t we want someone to pet our dog?

Scout is generally friendly with people — she can be shy but warms up quickly as long as new friends are gentle. That said, we don’t always want her interacting with strangers out in public!

Here is an older article about why we might not want someone petting our dog, and here is a more recent one that talks about how I decide whether or not to allow a greeting.

At a high level:

  • People can be unpredictable, and not everyone knows how to interact with dogs in a way that’s not overwhelming. I don’t want to put Scout in a situation where she feels frightened or trapped.
  • I also don’t want to set a precedent where my dog thinks she can say hi to everyone she sees out and about. That could lead to her being disruptive in public or even developing frustration-based leash reactivity.
  • One way to build faith in handler — trust that I will take care of situations — is to advocate for my dog’s personal space across the board. This was a big part of working through her fear-based dog reactivity!
  • In particular, I don’t allow anyone to touch Scout when she is under a command (like place or a down stay). If I’m asking her to work for me, we have an agreement that I will also protect her space.
  • I’m generally happy to let someone say hi if my dog is also interested, but most of all I don’t want anyone touching her without permission.
  • Sometimes I’m just not feeling all that social myself. My dog isn’t public property, and there’s no shame in saying “no” if I’m not up for chatting!

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