Why “It’s Okay, My Dog is Friendly” is NOT Okay

Why “It’s Okay, My Dog is Friendly” is NOT Okay

We’ve all had the experience of coming across an overly friendly dog. The kind of dog that runs up to you at full speed, dragging his owner along behind him. The dog that simply can’t control his own excitement as he jumps all over you, wiping drool on your clothes and dragging his nails down your arms. In the frenzy, you can’t tell whether the dog is trying to greet you or trying to eat yoU.

That’s when the owner of the dog says it – those six little words that are supposed to diffuse the situation – “It’s okay, my dog is friendly.” 

While it is certainly good to know that the dog that is currently rubbing his body forcefully against your legs is not in fact trying to kill you, his behaviour is in no way excusable. The problem is that the dog’s owner actually thinks that using the excuse that his dog is “friendly” will make you immediately forget the fact that your personal space has been vigorously invaded. If you have a dog of your own that becomes caught up in the mix, the “friendly” excuse doesn’t work on him – all he knows is that another dog has entered his territory and that he may be threatening his human.


Even if your dog is as friendly as you say he is, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do your basic duty as a dog owner and train him to behave. The friendliest dogs are often the most ill-mannered because they are allowed to get away with things since they never actually end up hurting anyone. Just because your dog is harmless, however, doesn’t mean that his rude behaviour is excusable – this is true for all friendly dogs and it is something dog owners need to seriously consider.


Below you will find an overview of the top seven bad habits that many friendly dogs exhibit:

  1. Running full-speed to greet a new person or dog. This can be extremely off-putting for the other dog because they do not know whether your dog is coming in for a sniff or going in for the kill.
  1. Jumping all over new people and dogs. No one likes to have their personal space invaded, including dogs. If your dog starts jumping all over another dog, that dog might become anxious and could lash out in response.
  1. Licking the new dog’s face and/or his owner’s face. Dog kisses can be great, but you’d probably prefer that they come from your own dog or that you have some warning before it happens
  1. Humping another dog. This is generally a sign of dominance and it can cause the other dog to feel threatened. It the dog starts humping a human, the person may not feel as though their social standing is threatened but it is by no means a comfortable situation.
  1. Barking or whining excessively. Having your space invaded by a strange dog is alarming enough but if the dog starts barking and whining it can exacerbate the situation. Shy or timid dogs could be frightened by such a display or threatened to the point that they fight back.
  1. Taking food or toys. An unleashed dog can quickly ruin a picnic and, though it may not be a big deal to you, your dog could feel threatened by the intrusion. If the other dog takes your dog’s food or treats, it could be perceived as a threat and it might start a fight.
  1. Causing a distraction. Many dog owners use their daily walks as an opportunity to reinforce obedience training – if another dog comes running up in the middle of a training session it could throw everything off. Once your own dog gets excited, it can be difficult to regain control.

When a dog owner says, “It’s okay, my dog is friendly” to excuse some kind of inappropriate behaviour, what he is really saying is, “I have no control over my dog”. Many dogs are friendly and social by nature but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to teach him basic obedience. The seven bad habits listed above are very common in friendly dogs, but they are by no means excusable. It is your task as a dog owner to take and keep control over your dog and to make sure that he is properly trained.


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6 comments
  • When a dog runs towards you at full speed and you don’t know what it’s going to do, the best way to defuse the situation is to kick the dog in its belly. If for a second you think the dog could be dangerous and you might have a dog or small child with you that could get hurt, the best way to avoid disaster is kicking the dog square in its belly. Not a soft kick but a big kick. Like your kicking a soccer ball and trying to score a goal from half way. Run up to the dog as it’s running to you and kick it like your Bruse Lee. Don’t worry their stomach and chest is usually padded so you won’t hurt your foot or shin bone and if it’s done right you should hear the dog yelp and the wind come out of its mouth just before it runs scared back to its negligent owners. This way you avoid any potential dainger like getting bitten on your hands, arms or your worse your pet or child being bitten. This kicking technique works especially well on Staffys.
    Happy kicking everyone?

    Dave on
  • Fully agree, it is great that your dog is friendly but mine in not. I find it very difficult when my girl is walking well (always on a lead) & another dog flies at her and she goes into protection mode. This then spoils the rest of the walk as she becomes very anxious or that might be me & she feels it. Yes we do growly classes (more so I can read her body language) but when you have an off lead dog running at you and the owners are yelling it’s ok she is friendly well when mine takes a chuck out of her don’t blame me.

    Louese on
  • I agree and disagree. Having owned a staffie temporarily who had some of these traits we fondly nicknamed “love bombing”, Rosie most often had a profoundly positive effect on people with her boisterous affection. She was very much in our control at all times and when she was allowed to do this “love bomb” routine, it was with someone who wanted / needed it or sometimes it was a stranger who would receive it and be grateful for the outpouring of love. We worked hard to ensure she was in control. Net net in our experience, her being like this impacted many people pawsitively. I do agree that pet owners need to be responsible. I also think “friendly” is used incorrectly by many.

    Trina on
  • Both parties need to take responsibility in a dog meeting.

    A dog must learn to be confident enough to stand firm when meeting, not run or be rescued.

    Approaching dog needs to learn respect for dog it meets by standing off and asking or awaiting response.

    Dog owners must let their dog speak for itself and give controlled discipline to approaching dog and know what this looks like . It helps with his social confidence and educates the approaching dog.
    He must know he can use his voice .

    Owners need to understand some owners undrrstand and then there is ignorance in others and reactivity and fear. Accept that and move on. Try to calmly educate where you can.

    Dashndogs behaviour and training academy

    Heidi on
  • I fully agree with you

    Sally Pridding on

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