a bench with a view

a bench with a view

Thursday, July 31, 2014

no, you cannot pet the dog

Let's just start this out with a fact not too many won't disagree with. 

Koda is cute.

Koda is adorable

I guess that was two facts.  But you get what I'm trying to say.

He is just too darn cute.

He attracts a lot of attention when we go out walking with him.

I think its the coloring he has plus his short legs.  A lot of people don't know what a corgi is or maybe know a little about what a corgi is.  He gets confused a lot with a mini German Shepherd if there is even such a breed.

He is people friendly, not dog friendly.  You guys all know this.

A lot of kids want to pet him.  Hubby was ambivalent about letting them pet him, would tell them to be gentle and would monitor the situation very closely.

I never liked any kid petting him.  Its not that I have anything against kids, I love them, but I worried about the implication if he did bite a child.  I am of the opinion that any dog will bite, no matter what the owner might say. You just don't know and I don't want to take that chance.

So if I'm walking Koda alone without hubby and if a kid asks me if he can pet Koda, I usually say "no."  I have had a few kids say "why not" which perturbs me, not sure why, but it does. So in that case I usually say "because I don't want you to pet him," which usually quiets them.

I had a parent last month at the park ask if his about 18 month old child could pet Koda. I said "no."  He said to his little child "she said no, you can't pet the dog."  I wanted to strangle him.  Koda is not there to socialize with other dogs or give your child an opportunity to pet a dog.  He is there to enjoy the walk and take care of whatever business he wants to take care of.

Now that he is blind, hubby is in total complete agreement that kids shouldn't pet him because in all fairness, Koda really should be able to see who is touching him.  I did tell the parent above that he was blind and I wasn't sure what his reaction might be and I didn't want to take the chance.

So tonight at the park two separate cute little girls commented on how cute Koda was.  The first was walking with her parents laps around the park. The first time she saw us she said "cute dog" I always say "thank you" though I have no credit for him being cute.  The second time around (yes we walk that slow) she said "does he bite?" I said "no". She said "can I pet him?" I just said "no" and continued walking.  The second little girl playing on the play equipment saw him and commented on how adorable he was.  She said "can I pet him?" I said "no" and continued walking.

So am I okay doing this? Am I expected to allow anyone pet him?  In all fairness most kids that have petted him have been gentle.  A few have patted him instead of petted him.  A few have run up and tried to pet him without asking.  I do appreciate those that at least ask.  For the most part, adults who approach him and express an interest, we will let him interact with them.  He does like that. I just think he needs to be respected and appreciated.  I'm not sure all kids are capable of that.

Your thoughts?



It is better to be safe than sorry. He's blind. I think he should be respected and you shouldn't have to apologize for that.

Bijoux said...

I understand why you say no and I also agree that any dog can bite.

However, I do understand the other side. My kids were always taught at Safety Town and at school to ask before petting a dog. So I think it's normal and good that people are asking instead of assuming. Just saying "no," without an explanation may be a bit harsh for children, especially since they are trying to do the polite thing by asking.

lyndagrace said...

For the reasons you stated, of course you should be careful about letting children pet Koda.
I kind of agree with Bijoux. “No” along with a short explanation might be an easier way for you and the kids to handle the situation.
After all Koda is so cute. :)

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Everyone loves to pet a dog, that's a fact. But I do agree with you. I'd say no too. Simply saying no with a short explanation is fine.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

You are perfectly OK doing this in my opinion. Dogs can be so unpredictable when being petted by small children.

Intense Guy said...

Hey, put it so the parents can understand it - "Would you want a stranger 'fondling' your kid?"

:) That is what it amounts to...

Jo said...

No patting or petting. Koda is not there for the convenience of others and how would a blind dog know someone was going to approach him. You surprise me people don't know what a corgi is? The Queen's dogs appear on TV so much. Anyway, stick to your guns.

susie said...

I think you came up with the perfect response.

No, he is blind and you're not sure what his reaction might be.


joeh said...

When asked if my dog bites, I always answered, "Not yet!"

Instead of "No" I would say "he is a little sensitive" which as he is blind is probably true.

When I did let kids pet my dog I would show them how, get down to his level, let him smell, stroke not pat, gently on the back. You are right though the walk is for Koda, not others.

Joanne Noragon said...

I believe No is answer enough. You're just another stone in the kid's river of life, another experience to assimilate on the way to growing up. I especially like "Because I said so." Too few children hear that these days.

Jeanie said...

I think it is fine to say no and probably best for Koda. I do think a short explanation about him being blind would be good for the kids.

jack69 said...

Ah, hard question. BUT no matter what other opinions are, "We must float our own boat." But I did smile at Joeh's comment on 'Does he bite?'

NOT YET! (Smile) Good one and a tough situation, it is hard to meet everyone's expectations.

Love from Sturbridge, Mass.
(I hope this posts only once)

jack69 said...

Ah, hard question. BUT no matter what other opinions are, "We must float our own boat." But I did smile at Joeh's comment on 'Does he bite?'

NOT YET! (Smile) Good one and a tough situation, it is hard to meet everyone's expectations.

Love from Sturbridge, Mass.
(I hope this posts only once)

Pat Hatt said...

I find a lot of kids who want to pet don't have a dog themselves and don't know how to act around one. Thinking it is okay to just go all willy nilly and act excited when they pet, etc. Which can bring out a bite from any dog. So no is sure the way to be.

Chatty Crone said...

Disco WILL bite - so I just tell them no, he will bite! That stops them!!!

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I agree with you 100%. My sister in law had a party several years ago and we were at the party in Arizona. They had an awesome dog, sweet as can be and one child did something and the dog went for his neck. I went to the ER with my SIL. The boy was okay but something very trivial could set any dog off. We don't have our friends over with small children. I believe Skye would be great but I just won't take the chance and I also won't lock her up for the day! With all the stories we hear I'm surprised parents wouldn't be more cautious.

Sharon said...

I agree that you have the right, and perhaps the responsibility, to not have others pet Koda. However, just saying "no" to a child and walking on might be a little abrupt. I think a simple explanation of why might be helpful. "No, because he's blind and it would upset him" or something like that.

I think that would accomplish a couple of things. First, it acknowledges and rewards their polite approach with a response. Second, it fosters a sense of respect in them for Koda (and perhaps other dogs in the future).

Betty, he is one cute dog - and I'm afraid those requests are natural. Deflecting them in a respectful matter is the way to go!


Megan Lee said...

I had to smile at this post. I completely understand what you're talking about. Although it's nice that the kids are ASKING, it doesn't mean the answer has to be "yes." We do let neighborhood kids pet our dogs, but that is simply because our dogs LOVE kids. Even so, what really bothers me is when the neighbors across the street come screaming out of their house to pet our dogs (the mother included). She often tries to grab our greyhound around the neck and the two young girls literally scream and jump up and down. I can tell this reallly agitates our dogs, and the smallest one has nipped in such an instance. So that really worries me. Poor Koda is blind. No need to have to deal with who is petting him and the stress involved.

Cindi said...

Honestly, Im happy to hear people are asking, and not just going in. You ARE his protector, so don't feel bad about how you choose what is best for your pet. So be happy you're enjoying your time with YOUR pet. ...Give him a scratch behind the ears for me though... (((hugs)))

yaya said...

I agree with you about not letting kiddos pet a dog they don't know. It wouldn't be fair to the dog if he would nip or bite when he was just defending himself...and the child and parents don't need the pain and suffering if harm were done. We were just talking about this at work. I work in surgery. I've seen the results of a bad bite on a child's face. My friend's dog is blind and they won't let anyone pet him because it scares the dog. They got a special vest that say's "I'm blind...no petting". Maybe that would help you. We had Eddy the Boxer out the other day and a little girl (17mo) wanted to pet him. Now he's the nicest dog around and has never bit anyone, but I said no because I didn't want to take the chance of this being the first time he would nip. He's getting older and not around baby sized kiddos anymore. When someone is right in your face, it's scary...think how a dog feels! You continue with your vigilance and it will be good for your sweet dog and anyone who sees him!

Sue Elvis said...


Kids don't usually mean any harm but, if you aren't comfortable with children petting Koda then that's okay. He comes first. I'd just say no with a quick explanation and add a smile.

Juli G said...

Yeah... I'd say the majority of the kids would want to pet him... he is pretty cute. When people wanted to pet my Husky I would usually say that she was cranky or that she might need a nap.

Somehow the kids kind of understood that a bit better. I mean come on... do YOU want to be petted when you're cranky or tired?

Was it a lie? Not really. Her mood changed on a dime and I never knew when it was coming. Plus she was WAY over protective and didn't bark... she'd just lunge... so yeah... cranky and tired worked for us.

Stephanie Faris said...

Kids do that with my dog, too. I usually let them, but I know what you mean. If one was too violent or pulled the dog's hair, I could see even a nice dog lashing out--and people are so sue-happy these days... You're basically protecting yourself. You know how service dogs have those "Please don't pet me" sweaters and such? They should have those for non-service dogs. "Please don't pet me. I might bite."

The Brown Recluse said...

It's perfectly fine to not want others petting your dog...especially now, since he has all the heath issues.

Maybe...and this is just the southerner in me... instead of just saying "no" and keep walking, say something like, "Oh, no, he's not up to playing today." People usually understand stuff like that.

Mevely317 said...

Good for you, Betty. I've nothing against little kids - but how many can stay calm and realize how to approach a strange animal. (Off-hand, I can't think of any.)
Koda's so fortunate to have you and your hubby as his 'parents'!

SweetMarie said...

I agree with you. If for some reason Koda were to get spooked and bite someone then there would be trouble for him and you. Koda is your baby and he is so lucky to have you. :)

Veronica Lee said...

No, Koda is blind and you're not sure how he would react.

Have a wonderful weekend, Betty.

Linda said...

I only pet dogs when they come up to me, sniffing me out, and don't go around seeking out dogs to pet. Sounds like you've got a plan for the would-be-petters and for adorable Koda's comfort.

Dana said...

I completely agree with you. It's so hard to know how a dog will react. Why take the chance?

Have a wonderful weekend. ☺

Dana said...

I completely agree with you. It's so hard to know how a dog will react. Why take the chance?

Have a wonderful weekend. ☺

Carol Noren Johnson said...

But I so want to pet your Koda! What if I let him sniff my closed hand?

Love your writing about Koda!

Gotta take my Ziggy for a walk now. I might let some cute child pet him however!


Liz A. said...

If you don't want anyone petting Koda, you should be able to say no. At least they are asking. That's something.

Bobbi and Gracie said...

When I walk Gracie I warn anyone who shows any interest in getting close, "You don't want to do that, she might bite." That usually does the trick.

Jerralea said...

I think I would just explain the situation each time I said no - I'm like Brown Recluse, that is just my southern roots "gut feeling."

I'm just surprised so many children ask without just trying to do it!

Danielle L Zecher said...

I agree with you 1,000 percent about not letting kids (or any strangers, really) pet Kodah.

Yes, he's cute. No, that is not an invitation to pet him.

It is nice that some of these kids (or adults) ask instead of just running up, and I think your response is perfectly acceptable and polite. I'm not nearly as tolerant when people try to argue with me about petting Emma.

Dogs want to enjoy the park (or wherever they are) just like humans and being touched by strangers doesn't help some of them to be able to do that.

I have found that people are less likely to argue about wanting to pet Emma if I say "No, she was abused and doesn't like strangers" than if I just say "No". It irks me a little bit to have to explain myself, but it's okay if it helps keep Emma safe and happy. I seem to remember reading something a while back about tying a yellow ribbon to your dog's leash if it's a dog who doesn't need to be approached by stangers, but I'm not sure if that's widely enough used to be easily recongnizable. I've also seen little vests, etc about not petting the dog due to him/her being special needs or in training. That might help some, at least in the cooler weather.

Good for you for doing what's best for your baby.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Maybe rather than saying that no, he won't bite but no, you can't pet him (which may not make sense to people) you could say that you don't let people pet Koda because he's almost blind and may bite. I think people are trying to be friendly, so they would prefer an explanation that seems concerned for their wellbeing.

Sean @ His And Her Hobbies said...

I don't think it is a problem that you say no. I think that if you explain that he is blind and that someone new petting could spook him that should settle most encounters. You could also get a little jacket for him like the customs dog that says "Thank you for not petting me"

Sean at His and Her Hobbies.

Sean @ His And Her Hobbies said...

Its also possible that many of the people that ask are dog people who know to ask before they pet a dog. My wife loves to pet cute dogs and she always ask if the dog is friendly and whether the owner is ok with her petting them. If the owner says no then we are respectful as there a lot of reasons why the owner will say no.