Parents and Kids and Dogs, Oh My!

Recently I was shopping at Trader Joe's and as I came out of the store, I looked over and saw a sweet dog, medium sized mixed breed, tied off to the side of the entrance. (I'm not going to comment on the wisdom of leaving your dog tied up outside a store.) A young child, not toddler age but preschool age, came rushing up towards the tied dog, arm outstretched, with the mother straggling 15 feet behind her.  The child was excited to pet the dog and the mother was telling her child it was ok to go see "the nice doggie."  And thats exactly what she did! A three or four year old child walked straight up, alone, to a completely strange dog and pet it on the top of the head!  The dog looked nervous and, for a moment, I was seriously concerned that I might witness a tragedy before my eyes. With no owner to protect it, tied and unable to get away, that mother seriously put her child at risk letting it go up to the dog. Even a generally sweet and people friendly dog can easily misunderstand a child's approach or feel trapped because it is tied. So I'll take this opportunity to say that if I could make the rules I would ask:

1.  Don't tie your dog up where random people can and will just approach it.  How would you like it if you were tied to a bench outside a rowdy bar in a strange neighborhood?

2.  Teach children to NEVER approach or even talk to or stare at a tied dog.  Even if it "looks friendly."  Just walk on by.  The dogs of the world thank you for this!  

3.  Parents, please learn the basics of dog body language.  This image is a good place to start.