As we take Ali for a walk around town, people love to stop and pet her and talk to us. Everyone loves to give their advice – we walk the dog too fast, too slow, we should carry treats, she needs water, she should be carrying a pack as she is a working dog, etc. Advice is meant to be helpful, though sometimes it just seems irritating.
However, there are those times when we are seeking advice and it still may or may not be a welcome thing. So much of it is in our approach. When we remain calm, smiling, and in control it will help keep the conversation on a pleasant level. If we get uptight and loud, the conversation will certainly take a different turn.
Because Ali is still technically a puppy, her approach is to jump on the other dog’s head and greet them with playfulness. We have found that to be an ineffective approach. Most of the other dogs do not want their head jumped on and many are just too old and tired to play. We have been working on changing her greeting to a calm sit and then a slow walk around and sniff. This approach works so much better. The other dogs are much more receptive to her presence when she is treating them more like a calm equal rather than a hyper mismatch.
The next time you meet someone, pay attention to how you approach them. Are you warm and welcoming? If so, chances are good that you will get hit with a little advice. Are you being scattered and hurried? It might seem that you are disinterested and not open to what the other has to say. Watch how people approach you and pay attention to what your perception is of them even before they open their mouth. It’s all in the approach to set the tone.