Three times I spoke up for my dog

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Often, people with reactive dogs are overly concerned that others will judge us for the uncontrollable, barking, lunging, frothing beast on the other end of the leash. We need to get over that and just worry about our dogs.

I have gotten better and here are three examples where I was proud of speaking up on behalf of Leo.

1. For some reason, people like to ride their bikes on a path through our only unfenced off-leash area. This field happens to be next to a sewage plant. There’s signage at the top of a path, which I’ve wanted to supplement with “Off-leash dogs. Bike or jog at your own risk.” Or even “Walk your bike, please.”

Recently, we were working our way down the path when I noticed two bikes at the top of the path. They had a choice of directions; one featuring a view of the bay, the other the scent of sewage. If they came down my way, we were screwed. There’s no place to step off the path. I know because once I tried avoiding a jogger and fell embarrassingly down a hill. The jogger of course wanted to stop and help, and I was like, just go! Instead of letting the cyclists decide our fate, I called up to them, “Please don’t come this way. It’s an off-leash dog area.” And they didn’t.

2. Clearly I have forgotten what it is like to not live with one’s romantic partner, because it baffles me to see young people kissing and hugging in parking lots. So we’re walking up a path and I can see cars parked at the top, and the heads of a couple of people, and I’m thinking, whyyyyy are you parked there? when a shepherdy looking dog starts wandering down the trail. I called out, “Are you walking your dog down this way?”

The dude said, “No, we’re just hanging out.” And put his dog in one of the cars, and we were able to pass.

3. While this next one is a success story for Leo, it pissed me off to an unreasonable degree. It actually happened on the same walk as #2. We walk around a big sports complex where we can see triggers coming from a good distance. I had just bagged up some poop and was headed toward a trash can when I saw a 60-year-old guy on rollerblades, like it’s the goddamn nineties! I turned the other way and cheesed Leo while I tried to assess where Roller Dude was going. Of course his destination was the same trash can. Once he threw away whatever, he headed in our direction.

So we’re on the sidewalk, and he’s rollerblading down the middle of the street. Leo rumbles, like, a little bit, but honestly, I’d had more trouble managing him the night before during an encounter with a deer. Yay! Good boy, Leo. We throw out the poop and continue down the street. And then, Roller Dude skates back down past us again! And Leo rumbles again just a little bit and I’m cheesing the hell out of him, and he’s wonderful, but I’m watching this guy skate to the end of the block in the middle of the street like he’s motherfucking Gretzky. I mutter to my dogs, “This guy’s an asshole.” And he turns around again to skate past us a third time!

When he does, he turns to us with this shit-eating grin that probably wasn’t meant to mock me so much as to say either, “Ain’t life grand?” or “Look how cool I am on my rollerblades.”

I say to him, “Could ya not keep skating past us?”

We got to the end of the block before he had time to make it back our way again, so who even knows if he would have, or planned to but didn’t, because I so bravely spoke my mind. But it sure made me feel better.

Positive Training

This is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. All positive reinforcement training posts are welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long.

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11 thoughts on “Three times I spoke up for my dog

  1. My pet peeve is those people with babies that thrust their toddlers at my Boys. I know they are gentle but I’m thinking “really lady (or man) you don’t know me or my Doodles – yet if they were to ever hurt/harm your baby,I’d be on the lamb running from you and the authorities. I just wish humans would ask me first…

  2. Thank you for writing this – since I also live with dogs with leash reactivity I really related to this post. My favorite line is “cheesing the hell out of him”. I had to get a new dog walker up to speed and I think I used something similar when it came to describing how she needs to handle walking Sherm…

  3. I have to agree with Cathy, kids are more of a problem where we like to walk and hike. Bravo for speaking up! I think I need to do more of that and help educate some parents.

  4. I have a hard time critiquing other dog owners…as a childfree person, it’s extra hard for me to tell parents they’re doing it wrong, but oh, how I want to!

  5. Thanks for joining the hop! I definitely need to be better about speaking up for Mr. N. I’m OK when it comes to blatantly bad things like letting your off-leash dog charge him but people who pick him up and pet him without asking… That I have a harder time with.

  6. Argh! It really baffles me how people can be so clueless sometimes. I try to remind myself that my reactive dog is no one’s problem but mine, but just some awareness/common courtesy would be nice. I’ve been getting bolder about speaking up for my dogs, too. Thanks for joining the hop!

  7. Good for you speaking up for them! I have a hard time with that if I’m in my ‘hood. (Don’t want to be rude/get into it with someone I’ll have to see over and over and over.) But at the beach or when we’re out and about, I’ll say something. Like if someone has their dog off-leash in an on-leash area and the dog charges us (which of course Rita hates!) I always say, ‘You’re dog shouldn’t be off leash if you can’t control it.” Makes me mad!

  8. Good on ya for speaking up! It’s such a weirdly hard and scary thing to do, but people usually take it better than I expect and even if not, I can’t remember ever regretting standing up for my dog(s).

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