Home > Dog Days > I hate you and your dog

I hate you and your dog

“Um…I don’t even know you.”

If you are a dog owner, I probably hate you. Well, hate is too strong of a word. Let’s just say there’s a good chance that you irritate me. Keep in mind that this comes from a dog owner who loves my dog.

The reason is you probably don’t realize that owning a dog is a responsibility. It needs care and a responsible owner. You need to care for it like a family member, but also treat it like a wild animal because, tame is it may be, it is still a predator with innate aggressive instincts.

In May, I adopted a beagle mix named Kaylee. She is a 1-year-old puppy who is the sweetest dog in the world, instantly loving all people she meets, but dogs make her nervous. This is clear to anyone who has an IQ above room temperature, as you can see her cowering with her tail tucked between her legs. Despite this, whenever I walk her and come across someone walking a big, hulking pit bull, they decide they should let their dog come over here and “meet” my scared 25-pound puppy.

Here’s an idea, dog owners: Before introducing two animals, maybe you should ask first. That is especially true if one of the dogs is twice the size of the other, the smaller one is scared and the bigger one is a breed of dog that was created to fight and kill other dogs. Is that too much to ask? Apparently.

Sometimes when a big dog is terrifying my pup, I will give a signal even clearer than her body language: my words saying “she’s afraid of your dog.” To some, that’s still not a clue to keep their dog away. One idiot then took his greyhound off the leash so it could run over and play with her.

And that brings me to another thing. If your dog is not leashed, I have no choice but to assume that it is a vicious dog killer. It could be the nicest dog in the world, but for our protection, I have to assume that your dog is Cujo. For that reason, I will try to avoid your dog, but if it approaches I will have pepper spray aimed at its eyes with a finger on the trigger, ready to defend myself. If that bothers you, leash your dog.

The exception to that is a dog park. I have been trying to get Kaylee over her fear of dogs through exposure therapy. To that end, I have been taking her to the dog park, so she can be exposed to friendly dogs, realize they don’t want to hurt her, and the fear will be extinguished. The dog park is the perfect place for this because every dog there should be friendly. I mean, you’d have to be an idiot to take an unfriendly dog to a dog park, right?

Yes you would, but apparently there are a lot of idiots in my town. If your yappy little ankle-biter is going to bark and growl at other dogs whenever they are near, maybe you shouldn’t take them off the leash around a lot of other dogs. Just a thought. Worse yet, at a dog beach in New Smyrna there was a huge mastiff going around roughhousing with terrified dogs that it outweighed by more than 100 pounds. The mastiff’s owner did nothing about it because she was a) not interested in disciplining it and b) not strong enough to do so.

“Can I get your name before you jump on me?”

Some dogs are stronger than others. I think before you can adopt a pit bull, Rottweiler or other strong animal, you should have to prove that you are physically able to restrain it. If I see an 80-pound teenager walking a large pit bull, that pepper spray is coming out again. And please, pit bull owners, spare me your bullshit about the dogs being harmless and falsely accused because of discrimination. “But mine is so nice and has never hurt anyone,” you say. You know who else says that? Every single person on the news who was interviewed about their pet pit bull killing their toddler!

Not all experiences with other dogs have been bad. Kaylee has made a few friends at the dog park who she likes to play with. They key is for them to be calm when approaching her so she can see that they mean no harm. Then once she’s comfortable, they can play. I guess it makes sense. If some stranger ran up to me out of nowhere, put his arm around me like we were friends and was all up in my space, I would be nervous, too. It’s best to start with something simple, like a handshake or butt sniffing (here I’m talking about dogs again).

Categories: Dog Days Tags: , ,
  1. July 15, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I agree with you that a lot of dog owners are lax in how they care for and handle their animals. Unless in a dog park or in your own fenced yard, dogs should be on leashes specifically so that other animals and people are not exposed to an unrestrained dog they don’t know. Being responsible for a dog goes beyond feeding it, playing with it and making sure its basic needs are met. It means, like being a parent, being aware of the environment your dog is–is it safe, is it secure? Those sorts of things. Lax responsibility, I think, is responsible for most dog attack incidents. My mother was in Illinois on vacation walking her two dogs when a woman’s two dogs broke through their fence–which was only decaying wood–and attacked my mom and her dogs. Tetanus shots for everyone! If the dog owner had been responsible for her dogs’ environment they wouldn’t have been unsupervised in a space that wasn’t secure. Those dogs might only have wanted to play but they were running full speed at my mom and her dogs; she put herself between the dogs defensively and prepared to defend her dogs, which turned out to be necessary. A neighbor had to run over and help her because the other dogs were both of a large breed.

    Not being mindful of the space and environment your dog is potentially dangerous to everyone–those on the outside of the fence as my mom learned, and to your own dogs. What’s to say those dogs that attacked my mom broke out of their rundown fence, ran into the street and was hit by a car? Those who own pets–dogs, cats, hamsters, etc–should approach their ownership as a parent to a child; as an owner you are the one responsible to not only what happens to your dog but also to what your dog does to others.

    • July 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Thank you. I agree completely. It’s sad how many people feed and walk their dog and don’t really do much other than that. It is a commitment and a relationship and most bad dog behavior of the result of the owner not fulfilling their commitment.

  2. July 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Pit bulls scare the shit out of me. My neighbors (who I like) have two of them, one makes a lot of noise, the other stalks everything. They terrify me because they’re 100lbs of muscle wrapped around a gigantic jaw.

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