When I first got the Ricardos, and would take them out around people, I would give people--strangers, even!- kibbles to feed them. I wanted all their people-meeting-experiences to be positive ones. But then, the dog trainer at our puppy class told us only WE, the pups owners, should be doling out the goodies. Because first of all, we want them to love us above all else, of course. But also, because we don't want to create little monsters that demand treats from all strangers.
So, since I got that good little bit of advice, that's what I've been doing. Right after they meet a new person, and they are friendly and brave about it, I give them a little kibble.
But the other day, when Lucy and I were at the bookstore, a man came up to Lucy and pulled a Milkbone out of his pocket and started feeding it to Lucy. I was so annoyed by this, but for whatever reason sort of froze and neglected to tell him, "No thanks." And Lucy chomped away.
And then the weirdest thing happened. After Lucy and I walked away (quickly) from this man, Lucy coughed a little. That started me thinking, "What if he gave her some kind of arsenic?"
Why my thoughts ran in this direction, I'm not sure. I'm not usually so suspicious of strangers. But this man smelled super stinky. And what kind of a guy carries Milkbones around in his pocket just looking for the right puppy to give it to?
Lucy only coughed once or twice, and then she was fine. I think she just wasn't used to something other than the kibbles I feed her. And maybe she didn't like how smokey that dirty guy's hands smelled. And maybe, without me even really telling her, she kind of knew taking candy from strangers isn't a good idea.
Next time a stranger tries to feed Lucy or Ricky, if there ever is one, I'll say "No thanks." I wouldn't tolerate that if I had a child and a stranger gave them candy. So why should the rules be different with dogs?