5 Things Dog Owners Are Doing Wrong On Walks
To My Fellow Dog Lovers,
You own a dog and therefore you’re great! If you adopted a dog instead of buying one, you’re AWESOME! Hopefully, you’re doing everything right when it comes to caring for your dog and interacting with the community… but in case you’re not, here are 5 tips for dog owners when you’re out and about.
1. Leash your dog
Putting your dog on a leash is the law… pretty much everywhere, and for good reason, too. There are about a million reasons why it’s a good idea, even if your dog is off-leash trained and is wearing a dog bark collar.
KIDS: If you’re out on the street and have a big, friendly dog that loves kids of any size, your dog may get excited and bowl them over. Or the kid might freak out, which might make your dog freak out. Or, the kid could just be a little a-hole because that’s a thing, too, and who the hell knows what might happen.
CARS: This one is kinda obvious – you don’t want your dog to get hit by a car and if your dog is off leash, the chances of this happening goes up about a gajillion percent.
BIKES: I have known dogs that will completely freak out about passing bicycles. You don’t want your off leash dog chasing a person on a bike – it’s a bad day, because now you’ve opened yourself up to cars, kids, pedestrians in general…
HUMANS: Yeah, not all people like dogs. You might think people get upset if a big, lumbering, one hundred and twenty pound Bernese Mountain dog comes loping toward them, but I’ve seen an adult male well over six feet tall and built like he was training to star in the next Rocky installment recoil in terror at one of those little Shih Tzus clamoring at his shins.
LOCAL WILDLIFE: If you’ve had a dog for longer than five minutes, you know your dog will probably chase birds, squirrels and basically anything that moves, from a piece of paper to a f@cking garbage truck. Small animals, though, seem to set off a special gear in a dog’s brain, probably because this would have been their prey in the wild. (Remember, dogs are predators… in a pack, they could actually take YOU down if they wanted, but over the centuries, we’ve convinced them that it’s better to chill together. Dogs are the ONLY one of our predators we’ve managed to domesticate… and recent studies suggest it was partly their idea… but I’m rambling.) Over the years, my dogs have had run-ins (that ended badly for the second party) with birds, squirrels, snakes, skunks (The horror… the horror!), groundhogs, bumblebees and who the hell knows what else that I’ve managed to repress.
And let’s not forget the chance that the animal could be rabid; your dog is probably (hopefully) inoculated against such a threat, but it’s still not a good thing for your dog to get bit by the local wildlife.
OTHER DOGS: I’ve noted over the years that dogs have an amazing ability to identify their own kind. I guess it’s instinct or whatever, but dogs certainly know other dogs by site, or smell or… something, but they know. Now some dogs love other dogs and meeting another dog is the best part of their day, while other dogs…
Yeah, it doesn’t always go well, and meeting a new dog on a leash is not the necessarily the best way to do it. Your dog may feel confined and that they have no place to go (nowhere to run to, baby; nowhere to hide…) and that their only option is to stand and fight, and this is where your fun interaction on your block turns into a crazy dog street fight that neither dog owner knows how to stop… which makes sense because they didn’t have the forethought to prevent it in the first place.
Anyway, do yourself and the neighborhood a favor and leash your dog.
2. Retractable Leashes Are NOT For Local Streets
Apparently, humans, hurt themselves using these all the time, but that’s not the reason you shouldn’t use one – the problem here is people just let the dog take off to the full extent of the cable. When a dog gets too far from its human, you’re just inviting trouble. I’ve seen dogs wander into the street, dogs wander up people’s driveway, into their bushes (you never know what’s in a suburban bush; it could be nothing, it could be a rabbit, it could be a peeping tom… you never know what’s lurking), getting too close to other dogs, and not to mention–
3. Your Dog Goes Between The Curb And The Sidewalk, Not Between The Sidewalk And The House
You don’t have a yard or you just like walking your dog? That’s cool, I’m into it. I do, however, need you to keep in mind that your dog isn’t supposed to walk on the proper lawn. But you retractable leash f@ckers do whatever you want, so let me explain the social contract we had in place before you folks started running rampant.Dogs are supposed to do their “dirty sinful business” between the curb and the sidewalk, and as the human, it’s your job to make sure that it goes down as such! Also, keep in mind that people are fertilizing and weed killing their lawns with who the hell knows what and they’re at least less likely to spend time and money on the grass between the sidewalk and curb. (Hence, it’s not a bad idea to wipe your dog’s feet after a walk.)
And keep in mind that when your dog gets that close to my house, my dogs lose their damn minds, which is never a good thing.
4. Clean Up After Your Dog
Seriously, folks, if you’re going to let your dog walk all over the part of my lawn they’re not supposed to be crapping on while my dog is trying to break through my bay window because your dog is two feet from my living room, can you at least pick up the poop? I know you can’t, because when I go to mow my front lawn, I step in it, because you off lease and retractable leash SOBs with your little eight hundred-dollar toy ten pound dogs are either: A. on your phones and blissfully unaware, B. think it’s too small to bother, C. just aren’t paying attention in general, or D. (my favorite) don’t seem to give a shit. (See what I did there?!?)
Basically, you people are the worst and don’t deserve to have a dog and I hate you.
5. Using The Right Collar For The Right dog
This bit is the hardest.
There are sooo many kinds of collars and harnesses, but if you use any kind of choker, I not only think you’re cruel, but I also think you have no idea how to train your dog. I also think that standard neck collars are for displaying ID and emergency situations only, so that brings us to harnesses (which are a must for the car) and head collars.
I know it looks like some kind of crazy muzzle torture device, but I found that the head collar works well for my dogs in the respect that they don’t hurt themselves (dogs can choke themselves on a hardness) or me when temptation (aforementioned animals, humans, other dogs, etc) suddenly rears its ugly head. There are a million kinds of harnesses out there, but I have seen a dog wiggle their way out of one (dogs slipping out of a neck collar is a standard trick), but the head collar seems foolproof by design; nobody wants anything squeezing their face, so my dogs just acclimated to it and walked slower… But we do still walk the dogs on the harness sometimes…
It’s a tough one and you’ll need to experiment. Some dogs can’t wear a head collars because their susceptible to… oh, maybe it’s nasal issues? I forget, but you should read the box and check with your vet before going the head collar route. Harnesses haven’t necessarily let me down, but I wouldn’t say they’re the greatest, either… again, it’s a tough one. Do a dress up montage at the dog store and talk to your vet – that’s probably the best way to figure this one out.
Well, that’s the end of my dog walking rant. I hope this was helpful and keep in mind that I’m out there, watching and silently judging you.
Posted on May 5, 2015, in Animal Photos & Videos, lists and tagged animal rights, dog collars, dog leashes, dog owners, dog walking, dogs, open letter, the simpsons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.