Kids are the worst! Sad thing is, we cannot blame the kids…it is the parents! They need to teach their children what is appropriate around dogs. Don’t tell them AFTER they already have swarmed and manhandled the dog. Tell them ahead of time.
I am usually very strightforward with people when they come up to my dog. I tell them that yes she is friendly, but to let her come to you first. She needs to learn about you first before you pet her. Same thing with kids. I usually politely call out the parents when the kids come running over to her. People need to understand that not every dog is comfortable being petted by strangers without “getting to know them” first.
When I see a dog that I would like to meet, I always ask first, and then I squat down and turn my side to the dog a little bit away from the dog. If the dog is interested, the dog will come over to me. After some sniffing and not looking at the dog, I slowly reach out. I don’t go over the head, but the lower neck and chin area. If I see the dog is giving me comforting signs, that I will become much more friendlier with the dog. But until then, I let the dog do what a dog is supposed to do.
Most people (especially those who don’t own dogs) do not know the first thing about dog communication. Once you understand dogs, then you know what to do with them.
People just need to realize that though the dog may look all cute and fluffy, rushing over to it is not the smartest thing to do. Parents need to teach kids how to behave around dogs, and I believe that many dog bites would be prevented if parents watched their children and taught them right from wrong. Don’t hug a dog (dogs do not like to be hugged), do not kiss a strange dog and do not climb on a dog. Dog may look like he likes it, but watch the eyes, the ears, the mouth, and the body. Those will truly tell you how the dog feels.