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To wish that people would ask before letting their children pet/ touch my dog

(130 Posts)
iggypiggy Tue 23-Jun-09 15:47:57

ok this is my first venture into this area...

Am getting increasingly concerned at the number of people that let their toddler/ child just walk up to my dog and touch him without asking and I am starting to wonder why this keeps happening? It doesn't seem like a very safe thing to do? Yesterday, for example, a toddler ran up to my dog and repeatedly grabbed at his tail - while the father smiled benignly on from a distance hmm I said 'luckily my dog is friendly' and he just carried on smiling.. But how on earth could he have known my dog was ok with children?!

I have a labrador - he's very friendly, good with children but not too fussed about saying hi to people when we out on a walk, he too busy playing with toys/ sniffing etc. So he kind of avoids them.

This keeps on happening - repeatedly children approach my dog while their parents are there and just start touching.

Am considering telling children - well the ones old enough to understand - that they really should ask first - but I would have expected parents to tell them that?

AIBU - or should people really ask first?

Incidentally - I have been asked by children sometimes and I always say yes.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Tue 23-Jun-09 15:53:54

YANBU I always ask and am telling my dc's to ask before approaching a dog.
I don't tink people always think though do they? Se a nice well looked after dog and (i'm assuming) a nice approachable looking person walking it and think it's ok. But you just never know do you. I think as well some people look at the breed of dog and generalise a lab probably ok but would be less keen to let their child approach a Bull Terrier.

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 23-Jun-09 15:56:55

I thought doggy people were normally keen for people to encourage children to pet their dogs?

Personally i am terrified of them and try really hard not to let it show to DD, hence letting her pat dogs while I try not to emit too much "smell of fear".

This is wrong?

I'm confused.

Maybe there is a code of conduct that dog people know about and non dog people don't?

bubblagirl Tue 23-Jun-09 15:57:36

YANBU i always ask is it ok im nervous in case the dog gets freaked out and snaps or maybe doesn't like to be touched

even little cute dogs can snap but i do say is it ok for ds to have a stroke

Lulumama Tue 23-Jun-09 15:59:49


i ensure my children always ask and never ever let them approach a dog whose owner is not there, even if it is the smallest, soppiest looking dog

encouraging a healthy respect for animals, for dogs are still animals, is a good thing

throckenholt Tue 23-Jun-09 16:03:54

Parents should all teach their children to be wary of unknown dogs.

However, as a dog owner I will only take my dogs to areas where children are freely moving around as long as I know the dogs are happy with children. My old dog really couldn't cope with little children when she was younger - she didn't know how to handle them - so I made sure she wasn't exposed to that situation. Now (after 7 years living with our kids from babies) she is very relaxed around them and I am happy to take her to the school pickup (and wait outside the grounds).

So no you are not being unreasonable to think parents should teach their kids to be wary, but it doesn't always happen.

iggypiggy Tue 23-Jun-09 16:05:43

LovelyTinOfSpam - I am very happy to let people touch/ pet my dog - so long as they ask first! So it totally good, just ask first...

I guess I also come from another point of view - my parents dog absolutely hates children. She is old - she doesn't understand them she loves adults tho. It isn't safe to stroke her - so parents should ask first!

SpawnChorus Tue 23-Jun-09 16:06:36

God I keep my DCs as far away as possible from dogs. I loathe them!

spiderlight Tue 23-Jun-09 16:07:07

People absolutely should ask first. One of my dogs was very badly treated in a former home and is terrified of strangers. It used to be just strange men he didn't like, but he is now particularly frightened of strange children because so many have marched up to him without checking and panicked him. He's always on the lead around children now and don't hesitate to stop any who try to touch him. I don't think he'd snap, but I'm not going to put him in that position. Plus kids who aren't used to dogs tend to do stupid things like pat them on the head. People should always check with the owner first. I make a point of thanking children who do bother to ask, and letting them make a fuss of our other dog, who laps it all up.

Cies Tue 23-Jun-09 16:08:00

YANBU. Parents should teach a healthy respect for all dogs, whatever their apparent benignness.

However, I have generally noticed that owners of dogs who are likely to snap or bite or get scared do manoeuvre their dog out of the way if a toddler approaches, so parents may have got into the mindset of "if the dog owner doesn't move him then it's alright".

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 23-Jun-09 16:09:30


It's so hard with all this stuff. Many dog owners insist that their dogs are safe even while they are snapping and growling at you. I know that I am scared of dogs so have been trying not to show any fear to DD.

But then what is the reason for asking the owner - presumably as the dog may bite? But then telling DD that dogs bite isn't going to make her not scared of them. And I thought the whole point was to make her not scared of them as it's rubbish being scared of them.

I just don't get the whole dog thing really.

Sorry not really in a position to say BU/NBU as this is all a bit lost on me!

OrmIrian Tue 23-Jun-09 16:10:10

Yes they should. Of course. I came from a doggy family but was always taught to ask before petting strange dogs.

SpawnChorus Tue 23-Jun-09 16:10:10

And dogs that are known to snap at children should be put down IMO. The onus should be on the owner to have a well behaved and SAFE dog, not on other people to stay away! e.g. if I'm in the park and my DCs are running ahead of me and a dog comes round the corner unexpectedly, I might not be able to keep my children away in time. Would it be their fault if some vile mutt bites them then?

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 23-Jun-09 16:11:00

You are not supposed to pat dogs on the head?

WTF do you do with them then?

<double sighs>

iggypiggy Tue 23-Jun-09 16:11:25

Ok - glad I am not the only one that thinks this - just totally confused that people are so trusting with their kids!

I am a dog lover (clearly)! And I would love to see less kids afraid of dogs - but respect for animals/ a little caution seems sensible.

OrmIrian Tue 23-Jun-09 16:11:28

Well what would you want dog owners to do spam?

OrmIrian Tue 23-Jun-09 16:12:37

spawn - assuming your DCs are old enough to understand you ensure that they know not to touch dogs without asking. Then there will be no risk.

PM73 Tue 23-Jun-09 16:13:25

I have the daftest looking dog ever,very fluffy,waggy tail,puppy dog eyes & yet he snapped at my dn a while back.

Dn crept up from behind & was pulling my dogs ears & kicked him underneath,so dog reacted & snapped at his arm.

I have a baby gate on the kitchen door to keep our dog away from visitors now & i will not allow anyone to pet him.

Our local park has been taken over by the dog army & only a small minority actually watch their dogs,the rest just stand in the middle of the field & let their dogs pee & shite everywhere.

I have lost count of the amount of times i have had to carry ds beacuse of said dogs circling us.In fact i wear my timberlands when we go through park now & i have warned one dog owner that if her dog growls at me & my ds one more time he will have my foot straight up its arse.

YANBU,its nice to hear another dog owner being responsible.

LovelyTinOfSpam Tue 23-Jun-09 16:14:41

Orm I don't understand your question.

MmeLindt Tue 23-Jun-09 16:16:16

We have a dog who is absolutely crazy about children, she gets very excited when a DC comes toward us.

She is a tiny little thing, still a puppy really but we have already trained her to sit and turn her back on the child to be stroked as some children are a bit nervous about petting her head.

Yesterday when I was in town, a woman with a wee girl came past us and the girl was very nervous of Daphne. I hung back a bit and let them walk on ahead so that there was some space between us.

YANBU, our DD know that some dogs like children and some dogs don't and that they have to ask the owner before petting them.

SpawnChorus Tue 23-Jun-09 16:17:06

Believe me, I have drummed into my DCs to stay away from all dogs, but when they are under the age of, say, four they cannot be 100% relied upon to understand. Therefore the onus should be on the dog owners. My brother was bitten on the face by a (supposedly gentle HAHA!) dog when he was two. He was literally walking past the dog in a hotel corridor (accompanied by my mother) and the dog leapt up and bit him. The dog owner tried to imply that my brother must have been touching or looking at the dog. hmm

OrmIrian Tue 23-Jun-09 16:18:20

spam - If you don't like dogs but have to accept that they exist in the same world as you and your DC, and some dogs may not be keen on being patted by all and sundry and may react badly, what do you want dog owners to do? It seems sensible not to encourage children to pet dogs they don't know doesn't it?

iggypiggy Tue 23-Jun-09 16:18:40

Ineedacleaner you are right that people prob see labrador and think 'fine' but there can be agressive labs - or any breed really.

spawn you clearly hate dogs... but you should be in control of your children as much as an owner should be in control of a dog. that's my feeling anyway.

stillstanding Tue 23-Jun-09 16:18:53


But I must admit that I didn't know about this whole dog-etiquette thing until I saw other threads on this subject on MN. Of course now it seems completely obvious to me that that is the sensible thing to do but it isn't intuitive. I would suggest gentle guidance to those parents who are not as aware as you are - although easier said than done, I know!

BroodyChook Tue 23-Jun-09 16:21:37

YANBU. I am a dog lover (we don't have one though, because DS1 is allergic to saliva) and have always taught my boys that it is not ok to run up to a dog you don't know and start petting it. Children need to learn respect for dogs, and their own safety, as well as owners needing to not just yell 'It's ok, he's friendly!' as their beloved pooch bowls your toddler over. Surely it's just about common sense?

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