A few days ago, my husband and I were walking our beloved furchild, Koji, in the park near our house and another couple was working with their puppy off leash in a corner of the park. We made the conscious choice to walk in a direction that would have us avoid their path until we exited the park.
See, I know my dog. Despite my best efforts to have a friendly dog, I don’t. He is as friendly as can be with people and children but when it comes to other dogs he tends to be protective and aggressive. I know this about my dog and consistently make the best decisions possible about where I take him for walks, what times I take him, how I deal with other dog walkers etc. I am always aware of a situation before I take him somewhere. Specifically, because he does not do well with new dogs he hasn’t met before.
So when I take my dog to the park in my neighborhood that has clearly posted leash laws and see other people who allow their dog off leash, I begin to get a little annoyed. Most people who allow their dogs off leash have dogs that are very well trained, obey every command, and don’t give any attention to me and my dog walking in proximity to them. Most. And most of the time, I’m not annoyed by them. They don’t pose any threat to me or my dog or our walking experience so I get over their choice to go off leash pretty quickly.
However, there are always exceptions to this occurrence. Which is what we experienced a few days ago. Luckily, the interaction was brief and the other dog was just a curious puppy who clearly hadn’t learned his “no” and “come” commands. I understand that people need to expose their dogs to different situations so that they can fully learn those commands, but I think all dog owners need to be more aware of those of us who have unfriendly dogs.
Not everyone has a friendly, interactive dog. And not everyone wants one.
When your off-leash dog approaches someone who says, “My dog isn’t friendly” I think the owner shouldn’t laugh it off and wait to see what happens.
This is why dog parks exist, my friends. For those of you who have beautifully behaved dogs or even ones that are just good at socializing. Those are the parks for you! They are specifically made for you to allow your fur babies to run as far and as fast as they want and even safely not listen to your commands. Parks, where there are clearly marked leash laws, are not ideal for you to take your puppy or untrained dog and unleash them and just hope for the best.
Now, this isn’t a call for all people to just follow the leash laws and leave me and my asshole dog alone. Like I said before, I know most people who take their dogs off leash are responsible pet owners just like myself.
I am, however, asking that dog owners bring a little more awareness to your walks. Don’t let your unleashed dog approach someone with a leashed dog while they are walking. You can’t always assume that because my dog is a medium-sized adorable looking dog that he will be friendly.
I know from experience that I have friends and family members with friendly and unfriendly dogs. Those of us with unfriendly dogs are very aware of our dog’s tendencies and do our best to only allow situations where our dogs can avoid these kinds of confrontations. Trust me, I don’t enjoy having to explain that my dog is an asshole to everyone all the time.
So if you’re someone who takes their dog off leash, please try to be a little more conscientious and aware of your surroundings and your dog’s behavior. More than likely, there’s someone out there like me and my asshole dog that just wants to enjoy our walk and wave at your and your dog from a comfortable distance.