Dear Public, Please leave our dogs alone!

Something about Izzy the Sheepdog has me constantly telling people "NO PETTING!" and standing up to put myself between her and others (and yes, she is super friendly but all of that unearned attention makes it hard for her to focus on training...the last thing I want Izzy to think is that every person she sees is there to pet her). 

One of the hardest things for dog lovers to do is to keep their hands to themselves! We all know that onlookers mean well when they greet our dogs (through direct eye contact, physical touch, or just baby voices galore), but please understand that the reason most people are out and about with their pooch is for some sort of training/working/family venture/behavioral advancing purpose. Many dogs can be nervous of people and new places, so strangers rushing up to every dog they see can make that particular dog uncomfortable as well as potentially get somone bitten. On the flip side, a happy and over-excitable dog is most likely out in public to work on desensitization so that they won't be so wild around distractions like people and dogs (Izzy, for example) and it's hard to create a calm dog when people continue to approach and pet it, all while the handler struggles to keep them under control - the petting you are sharing with my dog is reinforcing the hyper and poor behavior. 

Now, what does that mean for us, as the owners/handlers of the dog? We have to stand up and say "No petting - My dog is in training" and stick to our guns to stand up for our dogs. Your job is to advocate for your dog, and it's so important to do so - if not, your dog may loose trust in your ability to keep them safe OR loose the engagement with you that you're working so hard for. That means not staying quiet, but speaking up for what you are working for!

Dog lovers of the world, please don't take offense to this, but the dogs you see out in public don't need your uninvited attention. They are out and about to be with us - their handler, family, or trainer - not you. No matter how cute or how much someone's dog is looking at you, please don't approach or engage with them without owner consent. Unfortunately, your good intentions are making things harder for the dog and the handler in the long run - I promise, if we want you to pet our dogs we will ask you to! If you have questions about our dog, you can ask us (speak to the handler not the dog ;)) and I we will gladly tell you about our pet if we have the time, because we too love dogs, and that's why we are working hard on training ours! Please respect the work we are doing, and keep your hands to yourself:)

** this goes for letting your dog approach my dog too! **