Today, while walking the puppies, we passed a group of kids (likely part of a day camp) who were on their way to the community garden. The first few kids actually walked in something resembling a line; however, that order quickly gave way to chaos the farther toward the back the kids walked. So we walked to the side of the first group but were then forced to walk through the kids. The puppies anymore are generally well behaved (even if they won't behave for Absent when we're gone because they're mad), so this wasn't a big deal. And a few of the kids reached out to pet the puppies, which this morning wouldn't have been a big deal either.

Except that the leader caboosing the group yelled out, "Don't touch the dogs!" with a slight sense of panic in her voice. Now, on one level, as the guardian for a group of young kids (one of whom looked an awful lot like S-Boogie, which caused me to miss the Fob clan terribly), I understand her concern. But I wish that, when I paused to answer her question about how far it was to the garden, I had taken a moment to say the following as well:

I appreciate your concern about the kids petting my dogs. But I wish that instead of commanding them not to touch the dogs (with a tinge of fear in your voice, which in turn may lead to the kids developing a fear of dogs), you would have instead told them to ask before touching the dogs. Because the dog's owner may not want them to pet the dogs. Or the owner might also know if the dog is skittish around kids, or unfriendly. Or the owner might think it's fine for kids to pet the dogs, because it's good for the dogs and the kids. Or, like me, the dog's owner might think it's fine to pet the dogs, but because of how I'm trying to train my dogs, I prefer to have my dogs sit before receiving attention, especially because it make Puppatrix less anxious. Before we teach fear of dogs, it would be nice if we could start teaching respect.

1 comment:

absent-minded assistant said...

I have to say I agree with you about children and walking dogs. There are way too many children who are willing to just wander up and pet the dogs, and while your dogs are fine with it, I think that teaching kids to ask first is smart. Some dogs are not so nice.

And, the puppies weren't that bad. I did enjoy myself with them, and missed them terribly when I went home.