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Help! Crazy New Yorkers doing crazy things to my puppy.
  • Even though we live on a quiet street in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, we still get stopped about 100 times a day. Of those 100, only half ask to pet my puppy. The rest will reach down and bop him on the head. That's not what's concerning me. I get about 5 crazy New Yorkers a day doing inappropriate things with my puppy. If you live in New York, you know how scary this is, because there's no way of telling who is going to do something wacky based on appearance or neighborhood. These are all people who live on my block and seem normal & nice when they approach us. Here are some examples of the people I have to deal with:

    One guy pet my puppy after I told him not to, so I walked away. Now, every time he passes us he mutters things in my or my husband's ear about how we aren't raising our dog right and he made up some story about being a vet and told us we are going to have a neurotic Shiba.

    One lady, who calls herself the neighborhood dog granny, stuck her fingers in Toshi's mouth with no warning to see if he was teething.

    Another lady waved her finger really close in Toshi's face while I was telling him "drop it" and told him he was a naughty boy.

    A doorman grabbed Toshi's nose and kissed him on the lips.

    Yesterday, a man tried to grab the leash from me, thinking he would help get Toshi into my building. Scary!!

    I have witnessed several adult tantrums when I said "sorry, no petting" at inappropriate times (when Toshi was just about to potty or sore from shots or crossing the street). People get so upset and offended when they don't get to pet the puppy.

    Also, EVERY New Yorker is a Dog Expert and they interrupt my training to give their advise.

    Toshi is a super social puppy and loves to say hello. So on the one hand, I think it's been great that he gets to socialize so much. We go to the small dog run every other day and meet children, adults and all kinds of dogs. He loves it.

    I'm having a hard time knowing how to respond the the creepier people. At first, I was ignoring them and walking away, but in some cases (like the fake vet who keeps harassing us), that's not enough. Most of these encounters have left me stunned and quiet. But, I think it's time for me to start telling them off. The problem is, I'm an introvert, so I'm slow to think of things to say in the moment. Some people are so good at giving a piece of their mind the instant someone is crossing boundaries, and I wish I had that skill! I'm working on it. Today, a man yelled "just grab it from him" when I said "drop it" (btw, Toshi is sooo good at Drop It, so I wasn't worried). And I yelled back "don't tell me what to do with my dog" and he said "oh, sorry".

    Do you all think the "ignoring approach" or the "telling people off" approach is best? And, do the benefits of socializing outweigh the negative affects of meeting the occasional nut job? Should I keep allowing him to say hi as much as I do since he likes it so much? I can't really predict when someone will do something inappropriate, so it seems the most I can do is correct them after the fact. Hopefully, these instances don't eventually turn Toshi off from meeting people!
    Post edited by ToshiCityBoy at 2013-05-29 15:00:05
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
  • I live in Florida and have had some similar incidents, primarily with homeless people trying to be all over Chi on our walks. Once we were walking by a group of homeless people on a park trail, one of them tried to scoop him up grab him. Chi gave him a "warning" by screaming at him. What I found that helps is stopping them before they try to grab at him and saying, "Sorry, we're training him, so could you please ask if you would like to pet him?" Then making Chi sit. I also tell him to either pet his chest, neck, or back since he doesn't like strange people grabbing onto his head. I also try to bring treats on my walks so they can even ask him to sit/lay down/shake and give it to them.

    I also saw a thread of how people tie a yellow ribbon on to a dogs leash to let others know that the dog needs space.
    Maybe you could try that?
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @ToshiCityBoy @Rikka, My husband is an introvert as well....

    If it bothers you, get a service dog vest that says "in training, please don't pet me"

    That on training your shiba to pay attention to you versus the strangers when you command it. My shiba gets curious and would stop and observe strangers but I would give her a "its ok leave it, let's go" command and she will continue our walk without stopping (although she keeps an eye on the stranger). I usually rush past strangers that I feel uncomfortable with, or purposely turn the other way, cross the street, or take an alternative route so we don't cross paths.
  • Oh yeah, that's my other question. Should I tell everyone who reaches down without asking to stay away? Or at least say "ask before petting"? That would cut down his socializing to half. In general, the people who ask first tend to be really good with him!

    New York: high volume of people = higher chances I'll come across someone weird
  • Thanks Disastershiba. Can I tie a yellow ribbon on my neck to tell people to leave me alone too! lol Since he's so young, I'm more bothered than Toshi is!
  • RedShastaRedShasta
    Posts: 38
  • I think it's better to cut down the socializing than to have the possibility of something negative happen and cause future problems. I do find it more polite to tell them to ask to pet (I am rather shy, with panic/anxiety issues) rather than stay away. However, if someone is not willing to listen, I will just walk away from them.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    @disastershiba, I agree but I would say cut down the socialization ON WALKS, but try to make it up somewhere else like a training course or puppy socialization class.
  • @Bootz, @disastershiba, Great idea. I think now that he's had the initial excitement of being able to say hi to other dogs & people on the street, I will start to cut down on socializing during walks. I like the idea of him starting to focus more on my commands rather than everyone he passes, and it sounds like that'll help. I think I will give him more freedom to say hello at the park or dog run.

    I've noticed whenever I say "sorry no petting" people want an explanation because they think it sounds strange. I've changed it to "sorry no petting RIGHT NOW". That seems to help them know we are trying to focus on walking or training.
    Posts: 1507
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    The other possibility is that he will become totally "bomb proof"...I guess it's a balancing act and you have to judge each incident...but like a loud truck going by - when Koji would get startled I'd talk nonchalant - praise etc.. and now loud trucks are no big deal - he's pretty bomb proof..

    You could treat weirdos like loud trucks - ignore, walk away, or tolerate it.. and tell your doggie what a good boy he is for not being phazed... :) I always praise and thank Koji when he deals well with things...

    You can't turn NYC "off" maybe use it to your advantage...of course if someone is completely crazy-dangerous that's another thing...but if he's going to live there he will have to deal with lots of people and their quirks -
  • MackersMackers
    Posts: 73
    I'm an NYC shiba owner and I found it more helpful to turn those situations around in my favor. When people tried to pet my dog or even asked first, I carried a treat bag and offered instead for them to give her a treat and a hand sniff/pet if she was willing. If someone were to simply grab my dog and pick her up I would not be ok with that and I would say as much.

    Unfortunately living in a city as packed as NYC AND having a puppy is a recipe for having a lot of interactions with people, weird or otherwise. I would suggest trying to not take peoples weird comments or suggestions personally.
  • @Koji's mom and @Mackers, good point on acting casual. He's not to the point yet where he's snippy, scared or barks. Although, he did get bitey when the lady shoved her fingers in his mouth. lol wonder why. Hopefully, I can find a calm way to say "that's not ok with me" so he doesn't sense I'm upset. I'll try to reward him for making it through the strange experiences that I just can't prevent...because they are bound to happen.

    I just took him out for a long walk and we said hi less often when we were trying to get from point A to point B. I noticed he started listening to me more and didn't put on his breaks as much because there were less distractions. That approach felt safer for him, especially when we were about to cross the street. I didn't have people getting him all worked up and bouncy at street corners. Once we got to the park, I rewarded him with playing in the grass and let him go bonkers there.

    Thanks everyone! I think all of your tips will help me find the right balance with this problem.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • kagurarapkagurarap
    Posts: 208
    OMG I live in NY too although I live in the Bronx and some of the people near me are - well not always friendly looking. I'm pretty quiet too especially since moving to the Bronx from Bklyn 2 years ago, I don't want any beef with the natives. But I've had a strange woman who I've seen around before that has an obvious dog fetish as in she will even see strays and yell across the street, "OMG look at that sweetie, come here boy!" and follow this dog down the street until she gets her grubby hands on him. And so when she met my dog, I was walking down the street minding my business and I hear "OMG who is that gorgeous thing?" and she proceeds to cross the street to talk baby language at Tali and pet her. I'm thinking omg this lady is on something, and because I don't know what people on drugs are capable of, I try to be as friendly as possible but quick and to the point. I don't think the lady was dangerous but I definitely didn't trust her, so I answered basic questions like yes, she's a girl and she's this many months old, and do the old "Come on Tali, let's go" and act like I've got somewhere to be. Hell make sh*t up, "Come on Tali, grandma's waiting for us and she'll be mad if we're late."

    Once had an old Irish man stop to pet Tali and this launched him into a history lesson of how dogs actually evolved from wolves and cats from lions. For sweet slightly senile elderly, I just do the nod and smile. Harmless and just wants to tell me a little story.

    As for dangerous, never be afraid, if your dog is small enough, to just pick her up and walk away. I did this when some crazy nut came stampeding down the street with his pitbull pretty much dragging him behind, and this wasn't a weakling flimsy looking guy - muscle bound and laughing bc apparently having your pitball drag you down the street is good fun, he was coming in my direction as his pitbull was obviously making way towards my Tali. He was making no attempt to stop his dog, say anything, NOTHING. I was PISSED and SCARED - I've seen WAY too many ppl in my neighborhood with no control over their pitbulls or WORSE, letting them walk leash-less. And so I picked Tali up and high tailed across the street and far away, giving that man death glares as I left. Another guy the other day was jogging around the block with his pitbull and startled me bc we were at the corner waiting for the light and his dog just rushes into my dog's face and I didn't even see them coming and he just sort of kept on with his running, his pitbull following behind. I was so angry but it happened so fast - I just got as far away as possible.

    So if they're dangerous or you have any doubt, get the hell out of there. No need to be polite, no need to come up with an excuse, New Yorkers can either be nice or extremely rude, take advantage of being extremely rude in these situations bc you have the right. Even if you don't say anything, leave. That's it. If someone wants to start a confrontation, don't even argue back, take out your phone. "What are you doing?" "I'm calling the police since you find it necessary to confront me out in the street when I've made it obvious that I don't feel comfortable with you near me or my dog."

    If they're harmless, just a little rude like sticking fingers in a dog's mouth, I'd definitely say that you're not comfortable with it. Your shiba is your baby. Would you let a stranger stick their fingers into your infant's mouth? Where has the stranger's fingers been? Better to look like an ass than to let something like that slide - who cares, if this person doesn't pay your rent or know you, can't please everyone in the world.

    My favorite are the harmless elderly that just want to tell a story and cuddle with your dog. Those I wait out before coming up with an excuse or actually talk with them. You'd be surprised how nice some of them are haha.

    Sorry for the rant - I totally understand where you're coming from so I just got angry just remembering everything I've gone through up until this point and people really, should not be this rude. And as a Shiba parent, you have to be their defense bc no one else is, only you. They look to you to see if something's ok (or they should haha) so if it's not okay, don't let it happen or end it as soon as it starts. Good luck!
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    Oh my, can't imagine how I would handle a place like New York where it is hard to just casually ignore people and walk by because there are just so many people moving about. I don't like confrontation at all with people, I get very defensive, angry, and I lash out, but internally feel scared and confused usually.

    Typically, because we don't encounter people ever 5 steps on our walks, I can do what @Ramen_Noodle_Puppy suggests to deal with people I don't want to meet, but I am not sure that would work as smooth in certain areas of New York. In most cases I can distance myself before the encounter by shifting my forward motion somehow even if it is a step over into the grass 5 feet or so as we continue forward.

    I don't envy the issues of dealing with walking a dog, especially a cute Shiba pup, in a very busy area like New York City is with lots of weird people not all who are trustable.
  • jennjenn
    Posts: 856
  • mandumandu
    Posts: 135
    Crown Heights, Brooklyn must be less crazy than the UES! The biggest issue we have are children who do not know how to interact with dogs, so I always carry treats with me, too and I ask them if they want to give Mandu a treat before they do anything- good training for the kids and for my baby! I always tell them they have to ask first and that good owners will tell them whether its ok. As far as adults, I have loads of people asking about Mandu but nothing crazy. If Mandu is anxious, I can tell, and I calmly tell people that he doesn't do well with strangers. They almost always just say "ok!" Sometimes they'll offer training advice, and though it's irritating because Mandu is trained just fine, I nod my head and say "thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Have a nice day." I am actually an extrovert and can be quite confrontational, but I find that being firm but kind keeps me and my dog the safest. Also, making friends with neighborhood folks is always a good idea. I have some new friends who are always on the lookout for me and for Mandu, so no trouble so far!
  • Wow after reading all of this, I'm glad I'm in Milwaukee, WI. We have our fair share of crazies but since Dasha isn't a lab, most people don't want to come right up to her and do any of these things that have been mentioned!! I wish you all lots of luck with the crazies!!
  • ekamin01ekamin01
    Posts: 29
    I currently live in CT but frequently visit Brooklyn where my family and friends are. Usually the people that come up to Loki are very friendly and will ask if they can pet him. A few times I'll see people rushing in to pet him and just say "Be careful he bites" even though he doesn't bite and has never bit someone intentionally. They'll usually get flustered and back away.

    I did have a problem with one lady though. She stopped calmly and asked if she could pet him. A quick observation told me that she was normal and wouldn't give me any trouble. Man was I wrong, I looked away for two seconds and she picked him up and started a make out session. That quickly ended with me tell her to F-off. Some people just don't have a sense of mind and you need to be vigilant with whom you allow your dog to interact with.
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
  • RAM25RAM25
    Posts: 317
  • kagurarapkagurarap
    Posts: 208
    Oh man, that's a trip when children are involved, parents who aren't experienced with dogs or have dogs don't understand and then those kids that aren't being watched - the worse! I've purposely been training Tali not to jump on ppl bc I know one of these days, some un-monitored kid like the one you encountered is going to attempt to go up to Tali, and Tali being excited might jump on this kid and all of a sudden "ATTACK my kid is being attacked!" Well I'll most likely stop her before she even attempts to jump. I usually steer her away from small children, baby carriages and the elderly. Just in case. ;-)
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    I think it is a city thing, when I visit my mum who live in a small community very few care about Juni, but here in Stockholm it can be crazy too. People grab her, poke her, take pictures of her etc etc. Kids are usually well behaved and ask permission to pet her, but adults just grab her. Luckily she's overcome most of her aversion to strangers nowadays. Her look also seem to appeal to all kinds of people, from old grannies to teenage pitbull owning boys. I met one teenager (pitbull owner) that wanted me to take picture when he held her and kissed her. The weirdest thing was a lady who, behind my back, tried to feed her apple seeds after just finished eating the apple!
    Post edited by Juni at 2013-06-02 14:15:33
  • I've been wondering about why people want to touch him so bad-I wonder if it has something to do with their foxy appearance. An introvert myself, I've learned to be very assertive with loose dogs and people who want to pet him because I'd rather be viewed as a bitch than have anyone get hurt. Having run into people on walks multiple times, people recognize him and give us our space do that's helping.
  • tatonkatatonka
    Posts: 1210
  • Alyssa L.Alyssa L.
    Posts: 149
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    Post edited by Saya at 2013-06-19 11:12:02
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • My thing is with Ginger and kids. Dont jump the gun on me, I have nothing against kids, and Ginger loves playing with tiny humans. They fascinate her more than any other person can. (unless you're unusually tall)
    But my thing is, when they see her, they want to play. She's an adorable puppy that looks like a fox. Who wouldnt want to play? But it's the way they have the approach about it.
    This gets on my nerves faster than anything.
    They dont look at me, they dont say anything for me, they just get on their knees and pull her to them and start petting and grabbing her ears and feet. OR they just go up to her and pick her up without asking.

    I had a few little girls around our apartments walk away with little scratches from her nails. they just go up to her and pick her up. Sometimes they ask if they can pet her at least, but pet means pet, not pick up and then drop her because she freaks out.

    there was once a woman who (i was trying to train her to 'leave it' and that just because she sees a person, doesnt automatically mean she can bolt to them to go say hi.) she just waddled on up next to me close enough for ginger to reach her. I had already told this woman FOUR TIMES that "sorry, she can not say hello to you, shes training"
    the woman picks her up and just cuddles her really hard and then just holds her for a few minutes trying to tell me Im being mean by denying her attention and that it will make her a mean dog.

    I said "no offense, but she isnt your dog." and left with ginger.

    It makes me absolutely crazy when I see people who have service dogs, and people are like "aww a dog" and just go up and try to pet it and give it attention without the owner saying so. One man was trying to just get to his destination, and these ladies were in his way because they were trying to pet his dog. (seeing eye dog) I shouted at them. I lost it. "what the fuck is wrong with you?? Its a WORKING dog!!!"
    Shit like that makes me go crazy.

    Most times I try and bite through it if it's a kid. But if they try and do something like give her food or candy (yes, they try every single time) I will say something. I hate arguments. I hate intense interactions. So when someone does things like that, its like an inner battle to scream at them or keep calm.
  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    @shibamistress I totally get people wanting to rub all over Oskar. Akitas are not only fluffy but so big! More to love on! My friend has a super loveable white Akita named Valentino that I get to love all over. He gives hugs too. 8-)

    Of course I wouldn't jump all over some strangers Akita! Crazy!
  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Post edited by Rikka at 2013-06-20 01:00:05
  • KikkiKikki
    Posts: 73
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • KikkiKikki
    Posts: 73
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    @Kikki - Amen...

    People suck sometimes - in a million different ways - every day...To be human (or a dog) out in the world, you have to deal with stupid, rude, clueless types all the time...

    You do "have to"...and your dog NEEDS you are responsible for his safety and care...

    You wouldn't say that about your child. (I hope) You would just handle it.

    You have seen and been warned about ACTUAL behaviour of people and dangers of dog parks - so do what you need to do to protect him...In or out of parks.

    I understand venting about annoying behaviour of others, but we have to act according to reality.

    P.S. Reason #56 why we do not go to dog parks. Instead of going and complaining about everyone there...

  • @SabineAstroph you are right, kids shouldn't be at a dog park just to play with dogs and kids should be taught how to properly approach a strange dog. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. As I just witnessed at a big group gathering today. There were both kids and dogs being allowed to run around and get in the face of other dogs.
    As dog owners, especially with a dog that's not a lab and that most people want to pick up and manhandle cuz they are so damn cute, we have to be on top of our game to make sure we are on top of our game. It can suck at time and we get made out to be the bad guy after telling a cute little girl that no she cannot per your dog after she came running up to the dog and got in its face. You'll find your groove and what works best for you to deter strangers from coming up to Ginger and grabbing her.
    On a side note, your puppy is beautiful!
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
  • Kiba0713Kiba0713
    Posts: 259
    Ooh another social worker, nice. Happy social work month :)
  • devonmlewisdevonmlewis
    Posts: 182
    @kiba0713 are you a social worker, too? Do you sometimes feel like you're working with a client when you're trying to decipher your shibas behavior? I do! haha!!
  • Kiba0713Kiba0713
    Posts: 259
    Yes I am. Lol yeah, I'm always telling him to make good choices when I see him eyeing something he shouldn't touch. =P
  • Never had a problem with people doing anything to my dogs. If I took Kuma by himself then maybe but that's where having a dog with a bad, albeit undeserved reputation works in my favour. A lot of people who don't know my dogs don't come too close because they're afraid of the big scary husky, Oslo.
  • poltergeistpoltergeist
    Posts: 426
  • catloreecatloree
    Posts: 1541
    Post edited by catloree at 2014-03-21 08:46:58
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678

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