Should Strangers Pet Your Dog – Why it’s Ok to Say No

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation, and almost as good for the soul as prayer.” – Dean Koontz

In the following article, we discuss why it is so important to pet your dog and why it is okay to say no to strangers asking to pet your dog. Petting and cuddling your dog not only benefits your four-legged best friend but can also make you feel less alone as well. There are many reasons why dogs are a man’s best friend. Learn about petting your best friend and petting other dogs as well. Should I let strangers pet my dog? Find out what we think below! 

Pet Your Dog, It’s Good For Them

Dogs love affection, and by petting your dog you can show your love for your canine. Petting and cuddling your dog is beneficial for both humans and dogs. Petting your dog can help your pet’s anxiety. It is important to know where your dog prefers to be petted because there are certain areas where your dog is more sensitive to touch. Areas include the paws, the end of their tail, around the face and head, and their tummy. Knowing where your dog prefers to be petted can help with easing their anxiety and comforting them at other times. 

Petting As A Reward

When a dog is behaving, petting is a reward that can work wonders.  They will come to learn that when they do something good, they will be given even more affection.  Since this is something that will really make a difference in the obedience level of the dog, it’s important to do so when they are listening correctly.  Likewise, if they are not going to listen then they should not be petted.  The petting is the reward for the dog and it will begin to understand this with consistency. Since it requires the petting to feel love, it will connect this to doing the right things so that it will receive the affection that it wants and craves in order to grow up well-behaved and happy. 

petting as a reward

Petting Unfamiliar Dogs

Now let’s discuss petting unfamiliar dogs as well as letting strangers pet your dog. Many people refrain from petting unfamiliar dogs because they don’t know how they are going to react.  This is especially important when a person feels uncomfortable around the dog.  The best thing to do is to play it by ear.  If a person feels as if the dog is safe and they are comfortable petting the dog, they should do so only if the owner says it is OK to do so.  This way, they can be sure that they won’t antagonize the dog and cause it to act out in any way. 

Should People Let Strangers Pet Their Dog?

This is another aspect with dogs that goes with whether or not there is a comfortable feeling.  If the person poses a risk to the dog or its owner in any way, it’s best not to let that person pet the dog. If the dog begins to act uneasy around a person this may also mean that it’s not a good idea to let the person pet it. As a dog owner, if you feel uncomfortable with the stranger in any way, politely say no thank you. Then, the best thing that they can do in a case like this is to just walk away.  

It is OK To Say No To People Asking to Pet Your Dog

Latchkey Pets recommends trusting your gut when it comes to letting strangers pet your dog. If you have a bad feeling about a person, is it okay to say no.

should I let strangers pet my dog

After all, the owner knows their dog best, and the job of a dog owner is to protect the dog from harm at all costs. A few ways you can deny strangers in petting your dog include:

  • My dog is nervous around people they do not know. 
  • We are late, and we have to get going. 
  • We are working on training and avoiding distractions.

Introducing The Dog To Strangers

On the other hand, if a stranger is asking to pet your dog and you are on board you will need to introduce your dog. Stand next to your dog at all times to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Depending on your dog’s level of anxiety, you may also want to talk and pet the dog so that it feels safe. Your dog will then know they are safe and they will act accordingly if the owner is there to protect it.  

Make sure to pay special attention if kids are involved. Politely guide children to approach and move slowly around your dog, stick their hand out for the dog to sniff, and no rough play right away.

petting unfamiliar dogs

Patience With Dogs

While we are discussing petting your dog and introducing your dog to strangers, patience is so important to mention. People that own dogs must understand that their pet is only able to do so many things on its own. Try to always show patience with your dog so they feel loved and safe. Making a point to have a lot of patience is necessary for the dog to grow and act normally.  This can make all of the difference in the world.

Praising The Dog

Along with patience, giving your dog praise is important too. While introducing your dog to strangers, praise your dog when they are well-behaved and relaxed. Praising your dog is one of the best ways to communicate with your canine. 

With the tips above, you can confidently know what to say to strangers asking to pet your dog and also the correct way to introduce your dog to people they are unfamiliar with. Praise and patience are of the utmost importance when it comes to your dog and the public. Remember, it is okay to say no to strangers and the first priority is your dog’s safety and comfort. Contact Latchkey Pets for other questions regarding your pets. Additionally, if you’re looking for daytime dog walking services and vacation pet sitting, give us a call today! 

petting your dog and giving them praise and affection
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Jeanna Ruehter