Dogs are what I see mostly out on my day to day activities and I see some tied up outside shops and I'll pet them, I'll also pet some in passing i.e. just stroking them as I walk past and sometimes as they're walking past me (if they come over towards me and sniff my shoes or something). After I've pet them the owner will indicate if they don't want anyone petting them or not i.e. "Ah sorry, she's really shy!" if they shy away, or "She's not good around people" or simply call their dog over/pull the lead or something like that and they won't say anything normally if they don't.
I'm not a dog owner so it may seem obvious to some. I'm very laid back and would let people pet my dog without asking me if I had one (depending if the dog enjoyed being stroked). Which made me wonder, should I always ask a dog owner before I pet their dog?
I've never had any problems with this previously, any angry owners or anything. (Which is why I'm asking) They generally just walk off with the dog, but I'm thinking more about someone who has a dog. Is it more polite for me to ask than for me to not?
Note: I'm not talking about service dogs, they have a job to do and shouldn't be pet. I normally see them as a working dog, rather than a pet.
What is the etiquette for asking a dog owner before I pet their dog? Is it required to ask, or can I just pet the dog?