I thought this was a nice link.  How to safely introduce your child (and yourself) to an unfamiliar dog.

I've had three types of interactions when it comes to Cosette: 
1 - people are indifferent and just take note of her, if at all
2 - people see a large black dog and are instantly fearful
3 - people are overly friendly, and assume that is safe to pet her

I much prefer #1 and #2 to be completely honest.  Even though she'd only lick you to death, I don't mind that if I'm walking down the street alone, someone would be afraid of her.  That's okay with me.  #3 I'm a bit more persnickety about.

It's okay with me if someone wants to pet Cosette, but I would also prefer to see people like myself come up to pet her -- athletic dog lovers that could push a dog off if they needed to.  Cosette is fairly well-behaved, with the exception of meeting a new person.  She tends to get very hyper very quickly, and if I'm not paying 100% attention to her, she has been known to jump up (a habit I despise and have had trouble breaking her of).  She's also just a big Lab, which means even when she isn't jumping, she can be wiggly and energetic.  That's not a comfortable zone for me when a young child wants to come up and pet her.  I'm afraid she'll accidentally knock them down.  Or, if an adult wants to pet her, they suddenly will become very offended if she dares lick their hand or leans into the legs.  I'll end up getting dirty looks, and I think, you know, you could have just not come over here and left us alone.  I don't know.  I'm kind of split on the issue.
I know personally that if I see a calm, well-behaved dog in a store or out and about, I may ask to pet the dog (like a gigantic Dane I saw a few weeks ago).  But, if the dog is straining at their leash, acting goofy, or otherwise bad mannered, I'm less likely to do that (in fact, very unlikely) because of the stress I may cause to the owners.

Cosette is trained and 90% well-behaved, except for the occasional "HOLY CRAP I'M A LAB" feeling she goes through.  So if you ever see us out together, be sure and ask, "Hey, is it okay if I pet your dog?"  I'll really appreciate it, and hopefully be able to give you a good experience with my dog.

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