I know, it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the adventures of the Daisy. But things are going so well, I don’t want to jinx them! Country Daisy is rapidly adjusting to City Dog Life, although there was a moment when she barked at a statue in a veterans’ cemetery, and I tried to introduce her to it slowly, but she wouldn’t let up until she sniffed its butt. Seriously. This is my life. The runners going by thought it was hilarious.
But this is not the point. Today, I want to talk about the Power of NO. Specifically, of saying no to people who want to pet your dog. (I don’t believe in using NO as a corrector FOR your dog, because you say “no” a lot every day, so it’s kind of a meaningless word for your precious pooch. It does not get their attention in a crisis moment. Weird sounds, hisses, and squeakers are way better for that.)
Some dogs freaking LOVE people. My parents’ lab Loki is one of those dogs. I’m pretty sure his heaven is laying on a couch with fifteen hands petting him in all the best spots FOREVER. Some dogs hate strangers, like the dog we had growing up, Ranger. We used to warn people just to ignore him: He didn’t like you. Period. Some dogs just prefer to hang out near you but not interact, that’s Daisy. But it doesn’t matter how your dog feels about people. You have the right to say no to anyone who wants to pet your dog.
Let me reiterate that because it’s important. You can just say NO. To adults, to children, to the elderly, to anyone you want to, you can just say NO and keep walking. You don’t have to make up an excuse. You don’t have to tell the backstory. You can just say no. If your dog hates people, if your dog loves people, you can say no.
I find this most effective with young children. We live across the street from a park with a nice playground. We probably have kids come RUNNING after us once a week, yelling, “DOGGIE!!” with parents who go, “Awwww, that’s cute,” and do nothing. With these kids, I hold up a hand and yell, “NO.” They stop dead and go back to mom and dad.
The truth is, well-behaved children and Daisy have no problems. (She loved Mason, an 8-year-old that belongs to our friends, probably a little TOO well.) But I don’t know which children are well-behaved. I don’t know which ones will go a little too far. And I’m not obligated to invite every child on the playground, or every well-meaning adult that cries, “Look at those SPOTS,” to pet my dog.
And neither are you.