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To get my kids to ask dog owners if it is okay to stroke their dogs?

(79 Posts)
CruCru Thu 11-Jun-15 14:30:33

I've been teaching my kids that if they want to stroke a dog, they have to ask the owner if it is okay first. It gets a bit of a mixed reaction - some people are overjoyed that I haven't done that "There is a feral beast, keep away before it eats you" thing. Some people say no because their dog is funny around children (awesome, this is why the kids need to ask first).

However, some people seem to think it's a bit weird for kids to want to stroke their dogs. AIBU to do this? I like dogs a lot (and the kids LOVE them) but don't have one myself (we live in central London, it isn't practical).

electionfatigue Thu 11-Jun-15 14:34:05

That's exactly what I do - my kids know that you always ask the owner (and that you never approach a working guide dog). Most owners are more than happy to have the kids fuss over their dogs and it's quite tricky in any case for them to ignore my 3 year old who will be saying at the top of his voice "doggie! look doggie! me stroke doggie! look mummy, doggie!" etc etc

Oreocrumbs Thu 11-Jun-15 14:34:49

Yanbu. We have dogs and meet lots of other people with dogs, dd knows to always ask. I've never had anyone think it odd.

Mind you, after sitting in the vets waiting room for two hours last week while she did the rounds over and over and over I was getting a bit sick of hearing her ask..... Everyone else seemed to take it in good grace thankfully!

Lavenderice Thu 11-Jun-15 14:34:49

YAmostcertainlyNBU. I wish more parents were like you!

MrsHenryMountbattenWindsor Thu 11-Jun-15 14:37:14

People who have dogs and don't like children wanting to stroke them are just weird. It's like having a baby and not wanting old ladies to peer in the pram and tell you how beautiful your baby is.

ollieplimsoles Thu 11-Jun-15 14:39:45

We are a dog loving family and I was always taught to ask the owner before stroking a dog. We wouldn't say something like 'Is he friendly?' More along the lines of 'Please may we stroke him?' I still do it to this day and will be teaching my DC's to ask first too. Its just manners as well as safety.

And we were taught not to approach dogs tied up outside shops, because we could scare them and they snap.

missmargot Thu 11-Jun-15 14:39:51

YANBU, it makes me really happy when children ask and I always let both them and their parents know that. I have two Pugs who children always want to stroke which is great and the dogs do love it, however one of them is a compulsive licker so I'd much rather a child ask whether they could stroke so I can warn them about the likelihood of being covered in dog slobber before it happens.

NotQuiteCockney Thu 11-Jun-15 14:40:00

The answer that annoys me most is "he's fine now, he already ate someone today". As if they are cross with me for asking if their fluffy bundle of loveliness could be unfriendly.

This is particularly aggravating when I am working in a language other than English, because humour is hard.

Fantashtic Thu 11-Jun-15 14:40:10

I am really glad you do this, our dog is brilliant with kids but I like to know in advance before I turn round and she's in a buggy being fed rice cakes grin
It makes me so tense when I see toddlers amble up to random dogs.

LadyNym Thu 11-Jun-15 14:40:45


I'm trying to get DS1 (three with ASD) to understand he can't just approach any dog and try to stroke them straight off including my parents' unstable spaniel.

We have a German shepherd and a Siberian husky and I prefer people (adults as well as kids) to ask because it gives me a chance to explain they're both very friendly but do jump up when excited so it's up to the person to judge whether they want to risk that (and means I can discourage a small child who might be knocked over by them getting overly excited).

Pedestriana Thu 11-Jun-15 14:41:44

Until a holiday late last year, DD (4) was scared of dogs. This is because we used to live near a large open space where dog-walkers would have their dogs off leads. That's fine, but many of the dogs were not supervised (for want of a more appropriate word) and would bound around/jump up or bark.
When we were away, we stayed on a farm which had a dog, and we worked on DD's overcoming her fear.
Now when we go out for a walk, she'll still shy away from dogs off leads, but if there is a dog being walked, she'll ask if she can stroke the dog. Almost everyone says yes, and nobody has expressed surprise - at least, only pleasant surprise that she has asked.

Uhplistrailer Thu 11-Jun-15 14:41:50

Yanbu, I look after a child who isn't taught this at home. She'll just go running up to a dog and give it a stroke. It's a nightmare!

I've had keep reminding her that you must ask first.

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Jun-15 14:42:10

"Excuse me, does your dog bite?"

"No he's very friendly"

< Bends down to stroke dog >

"OUCH!! I thought you said your dog doesn't bit??"

"He doesn't, but this isn't my dog. I'm walking it for a neighbour" grin

Mrsmorton Thu 11-Jun-15 14:44:07

Totally NBU. I have my rather large dog in work today, he's an angel on the train/tube but gets so much unsolicited attention!! It's frustrating, I'll just have settled him under my chair or in a corner and some adult will make kissing noises and stroke him and he's up on his feet for a cuddle. I wish they would either ask or just leave him alone.

He is a handsome chap though!!

CatsCantTwerk Thu 11-Jun-15 14:44:14

grin Worra!

Op I have always had this rule with my dc, They must always ask the owner before they approach any dog.

helenahandbag Thu 11-Jun-15 14:45:04

I wish more people would teach this, my dog doesn't like children and I look like a miserable cow telling children not to come any closer and that no, they can't pet the little doggy.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 11-Jun-15 14:48:35

I'm so glad the verdict is Yanbu.

I do this too, dd loves dogs but due to dh's allergies we can't have pets.

Every dog owner I've talked to has been lovely.

AliceAnneB Thu 11-Jun-15 14:49:01

You should always ask before touching someone else's dog. I don't know one dog owner who wouldn't appreciate it. You also need to be able to read doc body language too because some owners are clueless.

We teach our kids go never stare straight in a dogs face. To let the dog sniff you first (tis only polite in dog manners). And to never ever hug a dog.

TRexingInAsda Thu 11-Jun-15 14:49:11

You're doing the right thing - who said it was weird? They're weird! Of course they need to ask first - I ask if I see a dog in town (I love dogs)! It's polite and it's sensible. I teach my kids to ask first too. If they can't see the owner, they can't touch the dog (if it's tied outside the shop/school, for example). I love it when people ask to stroke my dogs too - they love some extra attention, and it's great for them socially - they are social animals, interaction is part of what they're out on a walk for.

BolshierAyraStark Thu 11-Jun-15 14:50:14

Of course YANBU, should always ask.

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 11-Jun-15 14:50:17

YANBU, it's absolutely sensible, it always baffles me why anyone would approach a dog without asking.
If I'm being completely honest, I do think it's a bit odd for an adult (unless they have children with them) to want to make a fuss of someone else's dog, well, perhaps that's not the right word. I struggle to understand why anyone would want to, I adore my dogs but am not interested in other peoples. Thinking about it I'm the same about babies, DS is my world but I have zero desire to hold anyone else's babies, so sounds like I'm the weird one! grin

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Jun-15 14:51:07

Meant to say, my kids always ask.

When I'm walking my dog, kids/parents ask me too.

It's not strange.

chocolateyay Thu 11-Jun-15 14:51:30

We are in central London too and I have always taught DS to ask if the dog is friendly. He loves dogs and only a couple have said 'no he's grumpy' or 'she doesn't like kids'. A man with a Rottweiler was so happy that he wanted to give clap the dog (it was a beautiful and extremely well trained dog).

MsMcWoodle Thu 11-Jun-15 14:51:34

Great to ask. I love her being made a fuss of, but some kids just lunge at her, which is fine cos she's friendly, but I do hope they don't do it to the wrong dog.
Be good to teach kids about dog body language too.

HemanOrSheRa Thu 11-Jun-15 14:51:58

My dog is very upset if children don't ask if they can smooth her. She always looks sad and confused if a child says 'Aw, look at that cute dog' and the adult drags the child away.

I like children to ask as she is a small JRT who likes to jump up and kiss people who fuss her. If they ask I can get a hold of her harness properly so she doesn't unintentionally frighten a small child. She hates it when children cry and tries to make it better by more giving more kisses and things descend into chaos.

I have made it quite clear to DS he always has to ask the owner if he wants to smooth a dog.

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