Dog trains man

Monday, January 30, 2017

Is She Friendly?

It was such a great question, "Is she friendly?" I just had it difficult to find the right answer for the family of four and their Golden Retriever to describe Tilde, my Hovawart, best.

Dad was approaching with his over-joyous Golden Retriever pulling the leash in front of him. Right behind him was mom, who had just yelled the question, looking just as over-joyous as her Golden at Tilde, while sizing her up as a playmate. Their two toddlers were already making small jumps while clapping their hands in anticipation of the soon to be unfolding happy-dog-play show in front of them.

I knew they were eager to meet because of the act Tilde just had performed. She had made her puppy impression, which she usually does when I just want to walk by and she doesn't agree. She was dancing and flirting on the end of the leash, smiling, wiggling and prancing, as if the Golden was the most beautiful and nice dog she had ever seen. "Come to me, come to me now," she was calling at him.

I was struggling how to answer the question. The family was right to ask. They seemed good dog guardians too, and they didn't just unleashed their Golden while yelling "my dog is friendly!". I silently applauded them. But how to answer. Tilde is friendly yes, but I doubted if the family's definition of a friendly dog would be inclusive of what Tilde was about to dish up for them. I have been into this exact situation many times before, but I never found the right answer. Then it suddenly occurred to me. Could it be that the only correct, short and concise answer had come to mind?

"Yes she is, but she plays Wild," I said, quite pleased with myself.

Mom nodded with a smile signaling approval, and dad made the last step forward to let the Golden and Tilde come face to face. As I expected, the wiggling and dancing in Tilde stopped abruptly. She looked the Golden right in his face and growled, "grrrrrr......". Mom freezed, surprised by the Jekyll & Hide performance right in front of her. The Golden seemed to have an oops moment too, exactly the result Tilde was looking for who now came in for a wrestle and a chase. The Golden's smile quickly returned while he tried to keep up with the fury that was unleashed.

Dad, who hadn't said anything so far, was smiling with wide-open eyes behind his Golden and was clearly having an experience. I was glad Tilde's Hovawart performance hadn't scared him off but when I looked up, over his shoulder, I noticed the two daughters were looking at the scene in front of them with their mouths open in utter amazement. Mom didn't seemed too pleased either. She pulled her husband's sleeve, "Let's go," she whispered.

I grabbed Tilde's leash again, and dad slowly started to take steps back with his Golden, his eyes still wide-open and not uttering a word. The Golden didn't agree to leave the fun at all. Tilde didn't want him to leave either and re-introduced her Jeckell & Hyde wiggle dance impression again.

What could I better have said instead, I wondered?


  1. This is a question I think we all have - is she/are they friendly. Well, yes, but. My general answer is "Generally yes, but they can play rough and there are a lot of them! And they don't like dogs that run round silly straight away" If the owner wants to let them interact, I let the girls go in turn. Mostly we have calm meetings, sometimes with play, sometimes just sniffs. I prefer to meet big dogs rather than little ones!!

    1. Glad I am not the only one! Maybe we don't hear what comes after "Yes..." and anything we hear after that becomes obsolete.

  2. I find it such a silly question. But no one seems to know to ask, "Will these 2 dogs have a compatible play style and energy?"

    Honey is definitely friendly. But she doesn't play equally with all dogs just like people don't like all people the same.

    Unfortunately most settings are not set up to allow dogs to make their own choices about who to play and how.

    1. And ironically this Golden and Tilde were quite compatible.

  3. Oh that's always tough, because you just never know how they will play.

    Monty, Harlow, and Ramble

    1. So true, that's actually what the question really means and impossible to answer.


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