This is my LEAST favorite question to get asked while walking Badger and Mushroom. It's a trick question. Answer yes, and the person will assume you gave them permission to approach. Answer no, and they may think you have a stereotypically aggressive pitbull. But what if my dogs are friendly, but I don't want them meeting people?
I tend to say "Yes, but [insert excuse]". This strategy has not been successful. People either hear the "Yes" and immediately start approaching or they try to argue with me about the validity of my reason. Llamaentity says "No" and walks on, ignoring the scowls and glares.
|Yes, but the black one is a jerk|
It's not that Badger and Mushroom aren't friendly. They are. They love people so much that they'll jump all over them for attention. We're trying to train out the jumping behavior by not reinforcing it or letting others reinforce it.
Mushroom is reactive on leash toward other dogs, but this also doesn't mean she's not friendly. She can play appropriately with dogs of all sizes when off leash. But again, we don't want to reinforce on leash lunging or barking, so we try to give other dogs a wide berth and distract her.
The question I wish people would ask is "Can I meet your dog?" That way, I can safely say "No, (s)he's in training" without any implication that Badger and Mushroom are unfriendly or aggressive. We've only had this question asked to us one time, by a little girl in Petsmart, back when Badger was a tiny puppy. We explained to her that she could pet Badger after he sat, and the entire interaction was quite pleasant.
I'm considering sidestepping the "Are they friendly?" question altogether and saying, "They're in training and need space."
|Will behave (temporarily) for treats|
Do you have a way to discourage someone from approaching your pitbull-type dog without reinforcing negative stereotypes?