Friday, November 26, 2010

"Don't worry.......He's friendly!!"

It is a rare dog owner who has not heard these very words, or something similar, as an offleash dog comes barreling straight at you with no signs of slowing.

Some might be thinking, "No big deal", right?

Unless you are the owner of a fearful or reactive dog, or even just a dog in training.

Despite the fact that all towns, cities, and parks in Prince Edward Island have explicit leash laws, many people still allow their dogs to run free and to approach other dogs and people uninvited.

Many dogs do not enjoy meeting other dogs while on leash, as it is very limiting and does not allow a dog to express its full range of communication to other dogs. Yet others do not enjoy interacting with other dogs much at all, and may even be fearful of the approach of other dogs offleash.

Dog owners who have dogs with issues try to be proactive with their dogs to keep everyone safe, through leashes, training, and managment, only to be run upon by offleash dogs that cause a reactive outburst. Then the owner with the reactive dog is blamed, when in reality the offleash dog rudely interrupted the dog's space which is a no-no in dog-speak.
Also, many people without dogs are not interested in having all manners of uncontrolled dogs running at their dogs, without knowing the true intent of the oncoming dog's actions. Some people think that anything other than fighting is "friendliness", but there are many other pushy, overbearing, and bullying things that these offleash dogs do that go unchecked. Even people walking without dogs do not always enjoy the assaults of offleash dogs running at them. And letting an offleash dog run up to others without invitation may result in undesirable consequences for your own dog, if for any reason the other person/dog thinks there may be a threat and responds accordingly.
Being a responsible pet owner means keeping dogs on leash in leash-law areas, and if in an offleash area, under control with training so that your dog will leave other dogs and people alone unless invited to interact. Being responsible involves acknowledgment that others use the same areas and may want to be left alone.

Just remember -your dog may be "friendly" - but not all others want to make friends!

1 comment:

  1. Very well said. I think many folks are like me, we grew up with dogs that pretty much stayed on the property. I don't ever remember as a child, walking our dogs, they were just there, with us, around the house and yard. We didn't train, we just didn't take the dogs anywhere. Now we've grown into folks who want dogs and we live in Cities and we want to take them everywhere, which is great! But we don't give them any manners or any sense of 'this is how you have to behave when we go out'. We don't live in houses/apartnments that have lots of places to roam so we look to the green spaces around town. But a green space does not an off leash place make! Off leash should be the priviledge earned after lots of work. Too many dog owners think off leash is a right if their dog is friendly. That yelling 'she's friendly' from a distance is supposed to calm a person's/child's fear or prevent a parent from worrying, or keep a strangers pants clean! It really damages the non-dog owning public's perception of dogs in general.