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Lies to tell when strangers want to give treats to your dog


We take Benny Bix Ochman Labradoodle Puppy to Central Park every day for off-leash play. There is a tradition among the hundres of people who bring their dogs to the park of giving treats to other people’s dogs.

Most dogs have the routine down pat: sit in front of a stranger whose treats smell good, gaze lovingly into their eyes while looking absolutely look adorable, cock your head sweetly, perhaps raise your paw. Get a treat.

Benny’s begging technique
Benny’s technique is to come up, take a bow, and/or roll over. If that doesn’t produce a treat, he’ll try leaning on them until they pet him, licking their hands, and inevitably eliciting a treat.

Some dogs are unruly about it: they grab a treat bag out of your pocket, or rip the treat bag out of your hand, eating not only all the treats, but also the plastic bag they were in, zip-lock and all.

But what if you don’t want strangers (or friends) to feed your dog?
But what if your dog has allergies? Or if getting food only from you is part of your training? Or if you just don’t want strangers (or friends) giving treats to your dog?

According to Dale Carnegie, yelling at someone who thinks they’re doing your dog a favor, is not a way to win friends and influence people. And most of the time, the person playing Candy Woman is a little old lady who adores dogs so much she just wants to give them all a cookie. Not only that, everyone in the park thinks she’s the sweetest woman on earth.

Time to tell a little white lie. Or several
So the best thing to do is simply tell a little while lie – or a few of them, such as:

  • my dog is on a special diet because of dire allergies and your treat could make him very sick. We’ve even had to make emergency vet trips after people have given him treats in the park!
  • my dog has the trots and we’re holding his food til his tummy is better
  • Be careful! He’s been throwing up this morning! He just threw up on someone who gave him a treat.

The key is to keep your story slightly disgusting but completely believable.

Your turn: what do you do in this situation?

Comment Category: Behavior, Benny Bix, Pet Health, Pet Safety

January 8, 2010

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