I think these might be the hardest words in the English language when it comes to dogs. I'm always amazed at the number of people who just assume that it is fine to come up and pet my dogs when I have them out and about.
I went to a local store this morning to take advantage of some great deals. I took Missy in with me because she likes that sort of thing and I like to make her happy. At 12 years old she has become pretty solid when it comes to people. This was a process about 6 years in the making, but I digress. At least three people just started petting her as we walked by them. No asking, no introductions, just stared petting my dog.
For a nation of dog lovers we are woefully inadequate when it come to dog manners and etiquette. I don't allow my dogs to go up to random strangers and jump on them, I teach them to ignore people in public unless they have permission to "say hi". In my opinion it's just common courtesy for the human factor in the equation to do the same
Hmm, I wonder if marker training would be as effective with people as it would be with dogs. Perhaps I should start saying "thank you" when people come within three feet of my dogs. As they looked at me with a puzzled look I could explain that I was thanking them for asking permission before they came close to my dog. It might get my point across....