“May I Pet Your Dog?”

My corgi Ein is cute.   Super cute.  I’m not bragging, it’s just a fact.   And when we go out in public, people can’t resist that cute.   Ein has a handsome teddy bear face, a perpetual smile and that bunny-butt strut that all corgis have and people need to get their hands on him.

But here’s the thing - not every dog likes to be petted.  Ein is in this category, and he is not alone.   Do you have a dog like that?   What does your dog do when strangers approach on a walking trail or at the park?  Maybe her tail is low or tucked under her legs, rather than wagging or swaying.  She might try to hide behind you as people approach.   She might crouch low to the ground and avert her eyes away from the situation.  These are all signs that your dog would rather not be petted by a stranger.

Ein at a picnic with me.   He is in between my legs with head turned away from a person off-camera.   Look at his lips and the tension on his face.   He says "No thank you!"

Ein at a picnic with me. He is in between my legs with head turned away from a person off-camera. Look at his lips and the tension on his face, his ears are beginning to fold back. He says “No thank you!”

I knew nothing when Ein came to live with me.   He is the dog who taught me about dogs.  When people approached us and asked me, “He’s so cute!   May I pet him?” I said that they could.  If someone couldn’t pet my dog, didn’t that mean that he was a Bad Dog?  Didn’t that mean that he wasn’t friendly, that there was something wrong with him?.   It meant embarrassing me, and the other people.  For some reason, that mattered.   And it was at my dog’s expense.

The years went by.  Two more dogs were added to my family, dogs who loved to be petted.   It was easier now.   I could just tell people, “You can pet the big dog, the little one is shy.”  That was a compromise.   I could take one of my larger, people-loving dogs to social situations and leave Ein at home, happy.   Ein did come to love rally obedience trials, and the people there.   No one wanted to pet Ein, but they might give him a treat.   He learned to stare and smile and charm other competitors into giving him a tidbit without the compromise of petting.   These were Dog People.   They understood dogs.   This was Ein’s great gift to me, all I had to do was watch him and pay attention.   And I learned to understand dogs, too.   They don’t speak with words, they speak with body language.

No touchy!

No touchy!

Fast forward to now.   Ein is 11.   We were at a boat launch getting ready to go out on our kayak together.   Senior though he is, Ein is a head turner with his handsome face and adorable little orange lifejacket.   A group of teenage girls were gasping and squealing over him, you would have thought he was Elvis.   “May we pet your dog??”   It had literally been years since I had been asked that question of Ein.   Years.   And it caught me off guard.  But without hesitation and for the first time in his entire life I said the correct answer: “I’m sorry.   My dog is afraid of people and does not like to be petted.”   They seemed surprised and a little embarrassed.   That’s okay.   I was standing up for my dog.   Like I always should have.  And honestly, it felt great.

It is okay to stand up for your dog.   It is okay to say, “No.” People will get over it.   They will find another soppy bouncy dog to love on, possibly within the next hour or less.  It does not mean that your dog is a Bad Dog if she does not want to be petted or touched.  Your dog is a Good Dog, an awesome dog.  Your dog is not public property, she is your friend and she is counting on you to make decisions in her best interests.   Watch her, learn to read her body language and say “No.” when you can see that your dog would rather not be petted.  Your pup will thank you for it, I guarantee!  And you might even feel super proud of yourself!

Product Review: Benebone Chews

There are probably 20 Nylabones of all varieties scattered around my house and my three dogs love them.   Plastic chew-bones are my personal favorite for my pups (simply my preference!)  Not an evening goes by without their recreational chewing – sometimes in stereo!  When I saw a new type of long duration chewbone, I had to give it a try.

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Benebone sells a wishbone-style plastic chewbone in three different sizes: Jumbo, Regular or Mini.   You have your choice of flavors: Rotisserie Chicken, Bacon or Peanut Butter.  One thing was different straight off, the wishbone was curved rather than straight.   There are also little channels at each of the three ends.  Watching my dogs chew on the bones, they seem to be able to use both of these features to grip the bone more comfortably than other chewbones.   We approve of the design!

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For flavor we went with the bacon and peanut butter flavored wishbones.  I can’t comment on the taste, and my dogs aren’t saying anything!   I don’t smell the flavors but the dog have been committing a lot of time to our two wishbones…they seem to absolutely love them!

Durability gets a high rating from us after about three weeks of use.  This bone does not look like plastic, and at first glance I thought that it was edible and nearly passed it by.  Not the case!  I chose two Regular size Wishbones.  This was not too large for my corgi to enjoy, and is holding up nicely to my pitbull – who is a 60lb heavy chewer.  So, a good size range of dogs for the Regular.   For power chewers and larger dogs, the Jumbo size would probably be best both for durability and for size matching.  No chunks have broken off of the bones, not even any too-large plastic shavings or chips.  I still don’t recommend stepping on one in your bare feet, or rolling over on one in the bed in the middle of the night!

Benebone makes another shape of chewbone, the Rocking Dental Chew.   This comes in one size only, but is newly available in all three flavors.  The bone is curved and has ridges on either size for dental cleaning.  My dogs seem to prefer the Wishbone style chew to the Dental Chew however.  The Dental Chew definitely gets some attention, but not nearly the amount that the Wishbones get.

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Interested?  You can visit the Benebone website to learn more.  If you would like to buy some Benebones for your pup, you can order them on Amazon or Chewy – and the Benebone website states that they are available at some pet stores. (I have seen them at Pet Valu.)

(Benebone did not ask me to write this review.   My dogs simply enjoyed their product and wanted to share!)