All of us dog lovers have been in this situation before. You see an adorable dog coming towards you on the street and you make eye contact. It looks as if the dog is coming straight towards you and only to you. So of course it's love at first sight. You know what you need to do. You must cuddle and pet that dog or you will literally explode. So naturally, you go up to the dog and start petting it. You may think that this is a harmless gesture, but what you really should be doing is asking yourself first "Is it okay to pet a stranger's dog without asking?". It can be seen as rude to pet a stranger's dog without asking permission first. This doesn't mean the owner doesn't want you to ever pet their dog, but here are some reasons why it's important to use the proper etiquette to ask first, then touch.
1. Some dogs don't get along with people or specifically just men or just women.
2. Some dogs don't get along with children.
3. Some dogs may have been abused and aren't good with people.
4. Some dogs may be aggressive.
5. The owner may be trying to train their dog and they don't want it to get distracted.
6. The owner may be trying to take their dog on a walk and want to get more than a few feet every time before people start petting it.
7. In my case, as a dog walker, when the dog isn't mine, we try to keep it away from other dogs and people so there are no chances of any incidents happening.
8. The dog may be a service dog and be doing an important job.
As a Chicago dog walker, I walk plenty of dogs throughout the day in the Old Town Neighborhood area. I have encountered people who have ignored me and who have just started petting the dog I'm with. Before I have a chance to say anything, they get back up and leave without ever acknowledging that I'm there.
It's always overwhelmingly exciting to see a cute precious puppy, but please be polite and acknowledge the person that is with the dog first and always remember to ask before petting a stranger's dog. There is nothing wrong with asking and a lot of the time an owner will want to show off their pooch and they will say something like "Sure, my little dog loves attention!". So remember, when you see a fluffy critter walking down the street, it belongs to someone and please be polite and ask first, then touch.