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Categories: Schutzhund Protection Work

Q. I don't see how allowing people to pet my dog is a bad thing. Can you shed some light on this subject?
Dear Mr. Frawley,

My boyfriend and I adopted a 13 month old neutered male red Doberman less than a week ago. He's very well mannered and is progressing well with the ground work we've been doing with him. We've been poring over your material and following your suggestions since the second we've gotten him and things have gone well so far.

I was reading your e-book on introducing dogs to cats and I noticed you made a comment about not allowing anyone to touch your dog for any reason. This dog seems to show great potential for Schutzhund (how far we go with it is as yet undecided) and since we have not trained a Schutzhund dog we are very open to good advice. We want to make the least amount of mistakes possible and your pro-dog approach resonates well with us.

As I'm uninitiated, the whole "don't allow anyone to touch your dog" thing sort of sticks in my craw. We haven't introduced him to anyone yet and are unsure about how much socializing is prudent, and how it should be done. We have another very sweet mixed breed dog that goes with us everywhere and people just love to pet and love on her, and she clearly enjoys it too.

I understand that as we have different goals with this boy we will have to conduct ourselves with him differently, but I don't see how allowing people to pet him in a controlled environment when we have shown him we approve is a bad thing. Our families would probably be an issue too as they love to pet and snuggle our little girl dog. I'm not criticizing your approach, I would just like to learn more about it since I think very highly of your training methods. If you've addressed it somewhere on your website, just let me know. I've looked extensively but maybe I somehow missed it. Thank you so much!

Best wishes,
Carla

A. There is no reason for others to pet your dog. if you wish to train your dog, then it’s to your advantage that the dog gets all good things from you (petting, praise, play, food, etc) You can do things however you wish, but in our experience it creates a better bond between you and your dog if no one else is allowed to pet him. I don’t want my dog running up to others expecting attention or petting.

Other people are to be ignored by my dogs, and I start this when they are very small. I take them to busy parking lots and work on focus. They quickly learn that no matter what’s going on around them if they pay attention to me good things will happen. I will use food rewards and toys. When people come up to see my pup, I merely ignore that person and if they try to touch my dog, I say firmly “Please don’t touch my dog, he’s in training” If they merely want to watch what I am doing, then I use it as a training exercise and talk to them but never take my eyes off of the pup. I play and feed the puppy while I am talking with the person. I will actually tell the stranger to ignore my puppy, don’t talk to him, don’t make eye contact, etc. I want my dog to be absolutely neutral to people.

You don’t have to do this, but I have found that my dogs are very well rounded and pretty much ignore other people and dogs. If your dog is always thinking in the back of his mind that the next person that walks by might be fun to play with it takes away from the attention on you and ultimately , it takes away from your training success.
  
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