Thursday, September 30, 2010


I was asked recently by KB if I thought that people tended to be afraid of Morgan and reluctant to pet her.  The question made me think about several things.  So, I've been musing some on the differences between the Greyhounds and our recent German Shepherd addition.

As far as people petting the dogs goes, most people walk up to the Greyhounds and ask to pet them right away.  Of course, the hounds are known to pretty much go up to people and expect to be petted, too.  While they're at it, they'll throw in a sad story with their eyes that tells about how they're never fed at home, forced to live in horrible conditions that sometimes involve having to get off the couch for their own water, and never being petted.  They have people running to fetch them all sorts of things in the blink of an eye.  Bunny, in particular, is a master of this. 

However, Morgan is not always so sure about people.  She is not the dog going up to others and asking for pets.  Usually, she watches Bunny in horror when we're out on hikes and walks and prepares herself for the moment when she's going to have to pounce on someone for trying to steal or harm her pack mate.  Often, though, I've noticed that she takes her cues from Bunny and Blueberry and will follow them up to people for petting after a seeing that they don't pose a threat. 

So, the answer to the question is a bit complicated.  Yes, people tend to be reluctant to pet Morgan, but she is also reluctant to be petted.  Certain people never get her stamp of approval, too, and we do not push the issue.  At least she's not always shopping for another home where they'll feed her whatever she wants, when she wants, and expect it to be carried in on a golden dias by a cabana boy.  I've found that on the hikes where Morgan wears her backpack, she is approached more often, too.  She's not a hairy almost-wolf, she's a dog in a backpack.  Apparently that translates into "not scary." 

So, while I think people will always pet the Greyhounds before the pet Morgan, I think the girls are all happy with that arrangement.  It may not be for the right reasons on the parts of other people, but the girls have no complaints.  If only they were always so easy to get along with on everything else!

I'd also like to mention that I was recently interviewed over on River Dog Prints, if anyone is interested in reading it.  They come up with great questions!  This was part of a series they're doing, so you may get to read answers from other bloggers in the future.

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  1. Mom would LOVE to pet Morgan


    I would love to go zoom zoom zoom with her!

    PeeEssWoo: Off to chekhk your interwoo!

  2. read the article, that's really cool!! in my house the Greyhound is the cautious one, Bender is positively rambunctious, especially if the person talking to us wants to pat the Greyhound.

  3. We have got a GSD friend at the park who is like Morgan only more so. He isn't at all interested in meeting people. I don't think I've ever patted him. He's not shy, just not interested:-) Loves Frankie though! Frankie doesn't love him back since he realised that Riddy is bigger, stronger and faster than him, lol. Frankie likes to win! Actually, Beryl is bigger, stronger and faster than Frankie but he doesn't object to her. Blokes are weird, lol.

  4. Song and I think Morgan is lovely. Song is timid with people (especially men), although she is getting better.

    I had a few people when I first had Song reluctant to pet her, as they said they felt intimidated by her. Goodness knows what they'd do if they met one the larger boys:)

  5. I think Morgan is super duper beautiful and gentle. She is such a sweetie that I'd love to pet and hug her.

    She is very protective to her pack mate and it may tell why she's a more watchful type.
    It's good that she also learns that most people are friendly and love her too.

  6. we would love to pet her too and slobber herwiff our sugars while were at it teehee

    pibble sugars
    the pittie pack

  7. Yes GSD's are different! They are intensely loyal and loving to their families but are not ones for random displays of affection with strangers.
    When I meet a GSD I just let them sniff my hand - I never pet them unless they 'invite' me.
    Years of training by a GSD taught me they have 'personal space' which you don't invade.
    Also people do have different attitudes towards them - Bailey sometimes gets very excited and can run up to people barking - wanting to play!
    This is not good as it can frighten some people - we have never had a negative response from anyone!
    Why cos she is small and cute and is not seen as a threat we know if our GSD had done the same we would not come off so well!
    Truly GSD's are great dogs to have - they would defend you with their lives. I once fell when out with Harry, previous basset, he just kept on with his walk. We both commented at the time how upset Petra, GSD, would have been if the same thing had happened - they are truly amazing dogs.
    Sorry I seem to have written a post here!!!!

  8. Sarah says if she meets you, she'll pat Morgan FIRST! Hehehe... sorry Bunny, Blueberry and Lilac!

    Cuddles and licks,
    Love Miley xxx

  9. From what I have read GSD are a pretty good readers on people, so maybe Morgan just gets a vibe from some people, just like we do.
    Loved the article:)

  10. Some two leggers are just silly.
    I think Morgan prolly has a good idea of WHO She WANTS to touch her.

  11. Well, GSD doggies see things a bit differently than the hound types, don't they? It's all work and little play when they're out walking. Morgan's got a herd to protect. I don't think that I've pawsonally met a more protective breed than German Shepherds. Then if you've met a few like my neighor GSD it will make you hesitate. His humansw would walk him while calling out to anyone they might encounter that he wasn't friendly and they needed to say far away. They got a trainer and I think things are better now. It seems that the GSD thought his Mom and Dad were too passive and he was forced to run things and use his judgement about who they could talk to. He decided it was better to err on the side of caution and keep everyone and all other doggies, far away from them. We like GSDs just fine, but we wait to be invited before getting up close and pawsonal.

    lotsa licks, Lola

  12. I thinks your pack has it all figured out...

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

    PeeS Congrats on your interview, we are on our way over to read it now.

  13. While our Mom loves you greyhounds, she grew up with German Shepherds and would probably gravitate more toward Morgan. German Shepherds as a whole scare people because they've seen a movie portraying them as viscous guard dogs. Mom also has a Cocker Spaniel as a youngster too - and he was way more viscous than her German Shepherds. Morgan is just being cautious and protective of her master/mistress and pack mates.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  14. I have to say that I'm very wary of GSs. I was bitten by a neighbours dog when I was younger, one that had previously been really friendly. I have also come across several on walks which have been a real pain. There was one in particular, the owner wouldn't put it on a leash until it had bitten several dogs!! I think that they don't use them as police and army dogs for nothing. Having said that - of course there are many exceptions to this rule and clearly your Morgan is one of those! I try not to let my previous experience inform how I react to any dog, including the ubiquitous Staffie. Tbh I tend to look to the owner before I decide if a dog is likely to be oK!

  15. I'll probably pet Bunny first before Morgan. But i am also wary of petting other people's dogs. Some people don't quite like it :) But if a dog growls softly, its best not to be overly friendly. It is good to let them be at ease first and let them come to you instead before you approach them. Good article you wrote Carrie.

  16. It is interesting how something like a backpack transforms peoples impressions. I think perhaps it says as much about the type owner as it does about the dog.

  17. I think that some dogs just are less outgoing than others. Our beagle loves everyone but our labs are a bit more stand-offish.

  18. Oh geez, I can relate because people are often afraid to pet me ... just kidding!

    Your pal, Pip

  19. I'm working backward - just came from River Dog. Congrats on the mention - great interview!

  20. I agree with Maggie Mae, your pack does have it all figured out! They get what they need from the humans. Oh, and that cabana boy idea is a pretty good one.

    Thanks again for participating in the interview. We loved learning more about your and your pups!

  21. I've just read your interview, looks like you and me do blogs for the same reason!
    That why I like coming to see what you've been up to.
    Back to this post GSD over here are the number one police dog, so I suppose people see them in that light.

  22. It sounds like it works out well for everyone!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  23. Very interesting. Some of those big guys do scare us. Cause we don't know if they are going to eat us or not
    Benny & Lily

  24. Mom & Dad would want to pet all of them :) But even we have to admit that greyhounds feel like velvet and are kinda hard to resist petting!
    The Road Dogs

  25. Hi there,
    You asked about the collar I have for Renner. I have gotten all of my greyhounds collars custom made from this place:

    They take a while to get when they are custom made but are beautiful and made from a wonderfully soft leather.

    I have had so many made by them, you should mention my name if you decide to contact her! Robin Krautbauer.... see if she remembers me. :)

  26. I can completely relate to Morgan's stance on the issue. I guess it's my GSD roots. I'm very cautious with new two-leggers and watchful of my pack. And some people, for reasons I never disclose, never win me over. I guess that's part of our mystique!

    By the way, I overheard mom telling someone about your post about the history of greyhounds. We're educating the masses! Okay not really but a couple of extra people. Hehe..


  27. Hi! Mayzie's mom here! This was a really interesting post. Ranger has always been reticent around people he doesn't know. Of course, because of the way he looks, people ALWAYS want to pet him and this has never thrilled him much.

    Now, Mayzie LOVES people and will go up to almost anyone for pets. I was so worried when we first got her that people would shun her because of how she looks. That does happen occasionally. But most people recognize her sweetness and her friendliness right away and oblige her. The funny thing is that Ranger now tries to get in on the petting, too, where he never would have before.

    I watched this video last night called "The Pit Bull Hoax." (It's on Youtube. Definitely worth a look.) And Dr. Dodman from Tufts was talking about how certain dogs (like pit bull terriers, labs, etc.) are self-socializing. Meaning they'll actually approach people to interact with them and by doing so, will become more and more socialized with people. Other dogs, like shepherds, are de-socializing. Meaning that they are naturally more hesitant about approaching people on their own and therefore, can become more leery of people over time. It was really interesting.

    Anyway, that was a really looong response. But I enjoyed the topic!


  28. Did you say cabana boy? Where?
    Since most hoomans are stoopid I can't sees why theys wouldn't approach Morgan...hehehe!
    Okays, I be serious nows...dis is all very interesting cuz mum is a firm believer in doggies instincts and dat we can sense da emotions and feelings of peoples. I just wonder if Morgan can sense there fear and/or uncomfortableness and dat maybe why hers could be stand offish to some. I dunno, I just thought I'd throw dat out atcha.


  29. A lot of humans have that reaction with us too. They seem to think we really ARE wolves. Fortunately Mom makes great efforts to have us meet people on our walks and interact with children other than the little grandbipeds that are here all the time. She makes sure the kiddos check first with their parents to see if it is OK and then we have to sit before they can approach. We also think you are so wise to let Morgan decide how comfortable she is with the petting. With time she will gain confidence.

    Have a great weekend.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  30. For good or for ill, people often stereotype dog breeds and respond to them from their perspective.


  31. I could see how people would be drawn to her in the backpack. I think any kind of backpack, raincoat, or costume on a "semi-scary" dog definitely makes them more approachable. There is a certain neighborhood in Chicago where people don't like our dogs and will walk right past, or cross the street. But when we were in that same neighborhood for the Pride Parade, and Miss M had her tutu and Mr. B had a cowboy getup, you should have seen these same people flocking to the dogs and asking to have their pictures taken with them. I think the secret to big scary dog equality might just be having them walk around in get ups all the time.

  32. Hi Bunny,
    I love GSD too!! I will admit they are very different dogs. I think it is good that people don't walk up to a GSD and pet them without asking first!! I always took my clue from my dog. Some people he just didn't like from the get go!!! Of course I would say no to them!! They are very smart, I wasn't going to second guess him!!
    XXOO, Bambi & Fern
    Great post

  33. So you too starve your dogs and make get off the couch for their own water? I thought we were the only one with dogs who could pull off that amazing stunt!! Some of my dogs are friendly and will go up to people, but the ones that were abused before we got them, do not. I liked what you said about now pushing her, that's what we are doing.

  34. The wonderful fing about a lovin Forever Family... is that ever one works it out together! I love you all!!!

    wif love from the Luke

  35. I am like Morgan. Not always want to be petted!
    Kisses and hugs

  36. Poor Morgan. My momma gets nervous around GSDs for some reason which I don't understand since she is very brave with doggies. It is good that Morgan has you flat dogs to help the humans understand that you are all fun and happy.


  37. PeeS - Just read your interview at River Dog Prints - loved it!
    The Road Dogs

  38. My American Bulldog is very wary of people, because they are wary of her. She is a fawn/blue AB and people assume that she is a Pit. I socialized her every chance that I could get to avoid having a scared dog. Because of the way other people compose their selves around her and the uneasy feeling that I would get has put me back at the beginning with socializing her. People flocked to her as a puppy, but as an adult, they are scared of her. She also picks up on unstable people and people with an attitude/chip on their shoulder - they are not her favorite people. I have started using cute bandannas and will be buying her a tutu very soon. I just wish everyone could be as carefree as the five year old girl who stops us on our walk to pet her.


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