My hubby and I were talking about Luke over the weekend. He is often the topic of conversation as we sit and think about the years gone past. It is fun to remember the good old days; when he was young and not a frail old guy. Those are the memories that are tucked away for months and years to come. As we talked about him I said "remember when he was an idiot?" We laughed thinking of him scaring people; he loved it and he knew who he could scare. In his younger days he was often a butt head with people. He loved to socialize but he loved to strut his stuff; prove to everyone that he was the man. Being that he wanted to be the "top dog" in the pack but never was he sometimes turned his "I'm the s*&t" to visitors.
There are things that people do that are the complete opposite of what we should do. One is to walk into someone's house and lavish attention on a dog you have never met. People are very guilty of this and it can cause a whole bucket load of issues. As we talked about Luke, the topic turned to a particular visit one day and I laughed thinking about it. A Dad of one of my son's friends arrived at the door. Before answering it I told Luke to backup and he did. As soon as the guy was in the house the petting began. I told him to not pet Luke but he said "it's okay." It was okay and Luke was loving the attention; that was until the guy took one step to come into the living room. That is when it was not okay.
What happened? The guy held his hands in the air with a puzzled look on his face. "What the heck? I was just petting him? he said. "I know, that's the problem" I told him. Luke was not about to just let this guy freely walk into our home. He got all puffed up, did his best and very scary growl to let him know it. So when the petting stopped and the man moved into our home, Luke felt the need to enforce "boss" rules.
Like bowing down to a King, Luke had been raised up above this new visitor by all the attention. Just think about a pack of wolves, who gets all the attention? The leader does, that's who. Lavishing Luke with attention at the front door and coming into our home were two entirely different things. People think that dog's love us when they allow us to pet them. This can be true but it is very often wrong; especially when talking about strangers, both dog and human.
This, not that. Luke had his own set of rules that the newcomer did not understand.
When I go to a new client home for behavior modification work, I never pet the dog. I rarely even look at the dog and opt to sneak view to see how the dog is behaving before ever putting out my hand. I want to see how the dog feels about me being in the house before I make any advances on touching. Touching is a big thing for dogs and people just don't get it.
Every dog is different so of course how each is dealt with will be different. As far as petting strange dogs? Less is better. Luke had a wealth of knowledge to share with us over the years. No dog ever taught me as much as he did. When a human listened to me when they came into our home, everything went smashingly. If they did not look at Luke, did not give him the time of day he was an angel. Those who could not resist and did not listen to me; were usually gifted the butt head Luke routine. Pumped up with lavish affection, it went straight to his head.
I must add that this was all show and that is why I can laugh. I knew him so well and could deflate his over stuffed head very quickly. He outgrew the need to dominate as he got older so those memories are deeper down. There are protocols to entering someone else's home; but we humans just don't get the dog part of it. We reach out and make rude advances all the time.
That very old idea of letting a dog come to you, that's a good one.