Really? As we sat on the beach, trying to give Luke a small piece of what he loves; we were very rudely interrupted. Before we got to the beach we had walked down the boardwalk and come upon a doodle who was very exuberantly saying hello as we passed by. Not wanting Luke to give one of his senior "knock it off" lessons and getting hurt, we reined in and moved onto our destination, the beach. Getting situated and comfy so that Luke could enjoy the beach without much energy loss; we spread out the beach towel and sat for a few. Elsa immediately began to bark and wag like mad so I turned around to see what the deal was. It was the doodle again and her owners were allowing her to charge down the hill to about a foot from us on her EXTENSION leash. So much for our quiet time. The owners laughed and had their camera out shooting their dog, Luke and Elsa. Obviously they thought that our dogs were also doodles.
I was not impressed; space people, a little space please. Honestly, humans!!! What part of our sitting quietly, minding our own business on the beach said "please allow your dog to come charging at us?" Really. But that was not enough; down the hill came the owner, at the furthest of the other end of the extension leash. She laughed as her dog bounded at us again and again. Elsa was half happy excited and half protective over the very rude interaction. The woman never asked if our dogs were friendly; never asked if her dog could come and say hi. This is one of the biggest problems; people don't ask, so they go in blind. Ask, ALWAYS ASK.
We were at the beach for Luke. This specific beach was chosen because Luke would not have to walk too far but could still enjoy the beach, which he loves. Elsa had already had a big run earlier in the morning with her Dad and although she loves the beach as much as Luke, it was a Luke trip. Quiet, short and all about the man. Not every dog wants to interact with others; just like every person you see may not want to interact. Just allowing your dog to wander over to dogs to interact could be dangerous, is unwise and rude. So as much as their dog seemed to be having fun; we were not their for their entertainment purpose.
On the other end of the spectrum of approaching dogs was a very nice Mom and little boy. We were walking in the surf when I heard behind us "ask, you need to ask." Hearing this I turned around to see an adorable little guy in his wet suit. Mom was teaching him the rules of walking up to a dog (thank you great Mom.) Both Luke and Elsa like little children who are respectful and this little guy was being taught the ropes. Mom was hovering as she should and of course I had a very tight leash on both. I moved in to allow the little boy to pet Elsa and stood close to the interaction. Dogs and children are wonderful when you are extremely careful and watchful. But you just never know what a child will do so you must be RIGHT there. Elsa loves children, to her they are just small people, which of course they are. But many dogs are frightened by children and want nothing to do with them.
When my dogs meet toddlers, they are literally face to face. I am on top of the entire situation; watching the child's movements and paying close attention to my dogs reactions, via body language. Too many people allow their children to run up to strange dogs without ever knowing if the dog is friendly. The best thing that parents can do is to teach their children like this mother was doing. Teaching respect helps to avoid running into a bad situation. I love when children ask me "can I pet your dog?" It makes me happy that they know to ask.
I really don't get when people don't ask before assuming that their dog can interact with yours. Not only could the other dog be unfriendly but the owner of the other dog may want some peace and quiet. Ask, don't assume and honestly, don't just go in blind.