Being able to take your dog out and about with you is one of the great things about having a dog. The companionship, watching them explore the world with a curiosity we long forgot about, and the smiles they bring to people's faces are some of the highlights for me. These excursions are so important for your dog too, it provides socialization, mental stimulation, and bonding with you.
One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning is to take Bailey to the Ballard Farmer's market. She's great in crowds; she grew up living in the Pike Place Market, going to the Bite of Seattle, UofW tailgates, etc. She has been socialized in situations like these since she was a very young pup, so she is very comfortable in crowds. Luckily, she is a typical happy and not phased by much, but I am still blown away by how people interact with dogs in crowded places. While she is on a short leash, right by my side, I will be paying for my flowers then look down and see people just grabbing at her and petting her. They have good intentions of course, but if I were Bailey, I would be pretty overwhelmed! Catch me in a bad mood and I wouldn't past me to snap at a hand in my face! Fortunately, my happy-go-lucky lab soaks up all the attention she can get, but that is not true of a lot of dogs, and I see it on their faces all the time at the market.
The interesting thing is, the little kids are always the ones who ask to pet her, which of course I say yes, but the adults always just reach and grab. Not even putting a hand out to sniff first. Number 1 rule: ask to pet someone's dog. Believe me, I know that sometimes a dog is so freakin cute you just have to pet them immediately, but you just don't know when the feeling may not be mutual. We have to respect the dogs space just as we expect them to respect ours. The image below has wonderful information thanks to Doggie Drawings. Please share this info!