As I was walking our five-month-old puppy Cooper yesterday, I came upon a gal walking her dog. We were about six feet from one another as she started moving closer and closer to us, clearly wanting to introduce the dogs.
She then hollered out, "He's friendly." But when I stopped and took a closer look, I noticed her dog's body stiffening and an intense stare focused on Cooper. It was clear that her dog was not all that friendly, at least when it comes to puppies, or was just way too interested in Coop, and was not going to be able to meet Cooper in a calm fashion (something I think all dogs need to learn how to do, but that's another discussion).
Either way, I got a bad feeling in my gut.
So, in order to protect Cooper, I made the decision to pass on this greeting, and yelled out my favorite "Get out of dodge phrase, 'Sorry, he cannot meet. He's training to be a therapy dog.'" (not a lie, someday Cooper will be a therapy dog), picked up my pace and marched off.
Sure enough, as Cooper and I moved away, her dog lunged, and barked and had an all-out "blow-up."
Now is it possible that her dog simply wanted to play and the blow-up was an act of frustration and disappointment?
Or maybe the dog was indeed usually friendly, but just didn't like puppies (cannot blame him, puppies can be jumpy and annoying), but either way, my gut hurt and I felt there was great potential for aggression.
I wasn't going to risk Cooper's mental or physical health to find out.
I don't know exactly what would have happened if they had met, but I did know one thing, the dog parent did not have a clear understanding of her dog, so trusting what she said would have been a huge mistake.
So, when you're out there, don't take what people say about their dog as fact.
Many times they simply don't really know. You owe it to your pup to trust your gut, it's always right!