This is a little mini-rant.
I'll start off by saying my 1 year old dog Bunsen is extremely friendly. We super-socialized him to bits when he was a puppy (maybe overdid it?), and so he thinks everyone is his friend. Whether I am walking him down the street or if I take him into a store, all a person needs to do give him a look and talk in an excited voice, and then my boy becomes a tail-wagging goofball.
The problem is once a stranger sees my dog look at them with the big puppy eyes, wiggly butt, and frisky wagging tail, they take it as an invitation to give him a treat...often without even asking! Sometimes, I catch them before it happens, and I politely smile and say something like "Oh, no thank you, he's already got a lot of treats today already..." or "Oh, no thanks, he has a sensitive stomach". I know they have good intentions, so I say it nicely so I don't come across as rude.
The strangers who don't ask and give Bunsen a treat before I can say anything annoy me. Yes, I let them pet my dog...but that is not an invitation to feed him. And even if they ask and I say No... the person sometimes still gives him a treat! It's like they didn't hear me...? or don't care..? It happened today with the mailman - we were working in the front yard, and then the mailman comes up and starts petting my dog, he asks if I he can give my dog a treat, I say No and give some excuse, and then some seconds later, I see my dog taking food from his hand. Grrr...
The reason for this little rant is not because I am a control freak. I know these people like dogs and my goofball pup is hard to resist, lol. I'd prefer people not give treats to my dog for three main reasons:
1. In addition to ongoing training, I take Bunsen to regular agility and rally classes, so he is already eating his limit of treats. I need to save room for his dog food too!
2. I have no idea what the strangers are giving him. I want Bunsen to have a healthy diet. The treats I give Bunsen are relatively healthy, and I stay away from treats with chemicals such as BHA in them (for eg., Milkbone)....
3. I don't want treats from strangers to start or enforce bad habits.
The way I look at it is...I don't give out candy to your human children, and especially not without parent permission! ...so why would you think it is okay for my dog?