This is a topic which I discuss often with my clients with dogs who are showing reactive or aggressive behaviour towards other dogs and or humans.
This is an important topic and my bottom line is this:
“Your Dog Is Your Top Priority. Do What You Got To Do. Even If It Will Offend That Stranger Down The Road.”
Within the same lines,
Here is a sum-up of an article written by Eileen Anderson I just read.
“It is a perennial problem. How can you get people to leave you alone when you are out with your fearful, anxious, or reactive dog? There you are, out with your anxious dog, minding your own business. You went to a secluded spot. On a rainy day. And at a time when nobody else should be out. But here comes that person with the “All dogs love me!” look. Or the “I’m about to give you ridiculous advice about training your dog, whom I’ve never seen before” look. Or the “Can-my-kid-pet-your-dog-here-we-come” look. These folks often have this inexorable zombie walk straight at your dog and just Will. Not. Stop.
Here’s are some of the reasons I think people do that.
1. Dogs are magnets for a large subset of the human race.
2. There’s so much mythology about dogs that you can’t get people to be sensible.
3. A few people are just overconfident jerks and aren’t going to be cooperative whatever the topic is.
4. Most of us have a very hard time not engaging socially with humans who approach us.
What To Do:
-Teach your dog a Let’s Go cue or an Emergency U-Turn cue.
-Leave the scene far earlier than you think you need to, and don’t engage with the human at all.
-Pick the appropriate body language or combination:
There is nothing in the world besides me and my dog
We have urgent business elsewhere
-If you feel you must, you can shout an apology or excuse over your shoulder while you are getting out of Dodge. “Can’t-talk-right-now-bye!” But be sure you are at a safe distance and can continue your escape before you say anything, lest you get sucked in.
It is perfectly OK not to socially interact with a stranger who is approaching you. Just give yourself permission. (This is also true if your dog is not reactive, or hell, if you don’t have a dog with you at all!) You don’t have to smile, you don’t have to say hello, and you don’t have to make an excuse. You don’t have to stick around for their training suggestions and critique. Do not make eye contact. Eye contact is the beginning of the end.”
Thank you Eileen Anderson, I fully support your approach.
Dog Behaviourist Ricardo Ministro