Why You Should Never Pet A Dog Without Asking

Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him. Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.

There are many reasons why you should never pet a dog without asking the owner. Often people see a dog walking along with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you may not know how the dog is feeling.  Dogs, like any other creature, have feelings and emotions that could impact their reaction to strangers.

Here are some things to consider when you see a dog out for a stroll:

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You Don’t Know the Dog’s History

Often people see a dog walking with his owner and feel it’s alright to just walk up and pet him.  Although the dog may be cute and seem really friendly, you do not know how the dog is feeling or how he will react.

Many rescue dogs come from very difficult or traumatic backgrounds.  Often, they were abused or left to live in horrible conditions.  Many never fully recover from their experiences.  Although they may be perfectly calm and happy with their new family, there are certain noises, smells, movements or even voice tones that trigger the fear they once felt. 

If you or your child move toward a dog without warning, the dog may react in a defensive manner that looks like aggression.  Usually, they are more afraid than you are, but they will growl, bare their teeth and in some cases, bite to protect themselves.

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although you may be a dog lover that would never consider harming a dog in any way, you may be wearing the same perfume or cologne that someone who once harmed them did.  Your voice may have a very similar tone  or your red jacket may be a reminder of an arm that once hit him. 

A dog owner will often know what can trigger his dog’s fears and will let you know what is best for his dog. 

The Dog May Not Be Feeling Well

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

When dogs are feeling under the weather, they may not be up to having company.  An upset stomach, an ear infection feeling weak or ill in any way can cause a dog to react differently that she normally would.

They may just prefer to be left alone.  A walk is necessary for them to get some fresh air and do their business, but what they really want is to get back home, crawl into their doggy bed and curl up for a nap.

If someone comes toward them, all bouncy and excited to play with the dog, you may get a warning or other negative reaction from him.

Again, this puts everyone in an dangerous position.  A simple, “Is it alright to see your dog?”, could spare everyone, including the dog, a lot of grief.

The Dog May Be On Some Kind Of Medication

Just as with humans, medications can affect your mood, balance, judgement and fatigue and adrenaline levels.  Approaching a dog that is feeling out of sorts could result in a reaction that is very out of character for the dog.

The dog’s owner knows if her dog is taking medication.  She would also be aware of even the most subtle irregularities in her dog’s behavior and would be able to explain why it may be best to wait for another day to visit with him.

The Dog May Be In Training And Needs To Focus

When a dog is in training it is important for the owner to have his full attention.  Every lesson takes concentration and focus.  By randomly walking up and petting someone’s dog, you may be interrupting a training session and setting the dog’s learning back.

It may appear that the dog is just walking along, but it is possible that the owner is trying to maintain a connection while guiding the dog through a distraction or trigger.

By walking up and petting the dog, you will break that connection and the dog loses focus.

She May Be A Service Dog

Service dogs are used for a variety of reasons. Most people immediately think of a guide dog for people with reduced sight or blindness. The fact is that service dogs are used for many purposes. People with physical disabilities, PTSD, and even those who need emotional support commonly have service dogs to help them function on a day to day basis.

A service dog needs to be totally focused on the owner for service purposes.  When someone randomly approaches a service dog to pet her, it could compromise her ability to do her job properly.

The Dog May Be In Physical Pain

A dog who is experiencing some kind of pain may not want to be touched, Many dogs suffer with arthritis.  Others could be dealing with dental pain or recovering from surgery.  These are not visible signs of pain.

If you approach a dog who is in pain, he may be reactive. Although this would only be an attempt to warn you to stay away, it can be scary for both of you.

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The Owner May Have Difficulty Holding On To The Dog If He Gets Excited or Spooked

If you approach a dog who is easily excited, she may lunge or pull on her leash.  The owner will have to hold the dog back.  Should the owner be physically incapable of comfortably holding the dog, the situation could result in a number of scenarios.

  • Senior citizens, people with physical impairments or someone with a broken limb could be put in a position where they fall, causing injuries.
  • The dog could harm you by jumping up.  A heavy dog lunging at you can be a lot stronger than they appear. 
  • The owner cold lose control of the dog and it could run away.

If you don’t know a dog and you would like to approach him, ask the owner if it is a good idea to pet their dog.  If they say no, don’t feel offended.  Know that by leaving the dog to enjoy his walk, you have helped him and potentially avoided a dangerous situation.

Your safety is as much your responsibility as it is the dog owner’s.

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GPS Trackers for Dogs and Cats

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you have a pet who is deaf, a flight risk, new to you and your home or fearful. If you are travelling with your doggo or just driving around your home town, keeping a tracker on her will bring peace of mind.

So, you have your pet microchipped, why would you need GPS trackers for dogs and cats? A microchip is perfect if your pet has been found and the good Samaritan who found her does his due diligence and takes her to a vet or shelter to have the chip scanned. In a perfect world, this would be enough. Unfortunately, not all pets are lost in an area where a human is likely to find them and not all humans are willing to go through the process of picking up a stray animal and going through the process. Some will even keep the found pet for themselves. These scenarios call for a tracker so that you can go to your pet, rather than hoping she will be returned to you.

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What should I look for in a tracker?

Many tracking devices offer similar functions that are key to bringing your doggo home. The three most important features that I have come across are battery life, range of coverage and that it be waterproof. It is the combination of these three features that provides the highest chance of a successful reunion.

Battery Life and Charging:

The battery life should be no less than a couple of days. You will need to have enough time to get to your pet once she is located. If she accidentally becomes stuck in a vehicle and transported to a different city, you need time to reach her. If she is lost in the woods, you may need time to hike to her location. You will need a battery that provides you with ample time to do so.

A minimal charging time is important as it ensures that she will not be without her tracker for too long. You can charge it while you are all inside and be sure that she is wearing the collar before anyone opens the door to head out to enjoy your day. If you are driving it is best to keep the tracker on in case of an accident. Often, an accident situation results in a dog bolting from the scene because she is afraid or, even worse, injured. Having the tracker on her will help you to get to her and care for her as soon as possible.

Range of Coverage:

Having a tracker that has a limited tracking range limits your chances of bringing your pet home. There are several trackers out there that have many wonderful features, but can only be used within a limited number of kilometres/miles. This is great if she doesn’t get far, but as in the scenario where she gets stuck in a vehicle and driven down the highway, this could render the tracker useless. There are some that only provide coverage within a specific country. This seems like plenty of range, but if you are travelling or live close to a border, your dog could travel across the border and you would lose the ability to track her beyond a certain point.


Dogs swim, dogs roll in mud puddles, dogs run in the rain. A tracker that will withstand being wet will ensure that you can maintain a solid connection between your app and your pet regardless of where she goes. until you are able to catch up with her and bring her home safely. It also provides the opportunity to take your pet to the beach without having to remove the tracking device, putting your pet at risk of running around unmonitored.

Many believe that their pup will never run far from them. Although this may seem like the case, circumstances come into play that can cause your pet to become lost. A frightening noise could cause her to hide. She may chase a squirrel until she doesn’t recognize her surroundings. Some run into situations, like sleeping in the bed of a truck that suddenly begins to move. Others may swim out too far from shore. Any of these can take them far from home. Wearing a tracker on will help you pinpoint her exact location so that you can get to her sooner.

These may sound like unlikely scenarios, but they do happen more often than we think.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. If your pet is deaf, a flight risk, new to you and your home or fearful, you should consider a tracker. When travelling or just driving around your neighborhood, keeping a tracker on your pup will bring peace of mind.

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