My dogs are not allowed to greet without permission, regardless of whether it’s dogs or people. But I also want my dogs to wait before chasing something or checking out something interesting. That can be even harder than waiting to greet for some dogs.

A situation we encountered recently brought to mind how very important this can be. We were staying at a cabin in the mountains for a few days. I was taking Zuzu out to potty one evening and we were about to step off the deck. I am very fortunate that Zuzu is cautious by nature, so she hesitated before I even saw what was there. Once I did spot it, I told her to Wait. Right off the deck was a porcupine. He was completely unfazed by our presence and not in any hurry to move.

Had Zuzu been more impulsive, and if I had not spotted it shortly after she did, we could have had a very painful evening ahead. As it turned out, we now have a story to tell that has a happy ending!

If your dog spotted an unfamiliar creature, what would s/he do?


Something caught Zuzu’s interest. . .

Fortunately, our close encounter with a porcupine ended well for everyone!