I can tell it is time for vacation. I have the pre-vacation crankies. The ones that tell you that you are overdue for some time away. Good thing it is coming soon.

But before I go, permit me a short rant. (Or don’t…up to you.)

Why is it that some folks think they know your dog, or the dog you’re walking, better than you do?

I walk a small terrier most days. We actually call him a terriorist sometimes, because that’s how he behaves when he doesn’t get enough exercise. But he’s a cranky soul in general. He doesn’t like to be pet, and he really doesn’t like to be pet on the head. And he’s not too keen on other dogs either. Most of the folks in his neighborhood know these things about him, and respect that. A few folks seem to be clue-impaired about these aspects of the little guy, even when I tell them about him.

I was walking B one day, and there’s a house in the area with a reactive little dog who, thankfully, stays within his yard guarded by an underground fence. One day, however, his person thought it would be nice for Reactive Dog and B to meet. I crossed the street as the guy started to bring Reactive Dog forward and told him that B wasn’t good with other dogs, that he could be unpredictable. That didn’t stop Reactive Dog’s person… “Oh, my dog LOVES other dogs!” and they kept advancing. I had to be stern.  “B does not like other dogs – we’re going to walk over here.”

We passed by the house, and what do I see but guy and Reactive Dog trying to follow me. What part of “my dog doesn’t like other dogs” did he not understand?

Today, walking B, another person, out walking sans dog, approaches us. As he reached out for B’s head I warned him: “B doesn’t really like to be pet much.” OK, the guy puts out his hand for B to sniff. B  is good with that. But what does the guy do after B sniffs for a moment, but reach to pet B’s head. As B shirks the hand I remind him: “B doesn’t like to be pet, especially on the head.” But that doesn’t really deter the guy. What part of “my dog doesn’t like to be pet” did he not understand?

The guy who tried to pet B then proceeded to approach Reactive Dog, who was just ahead of us. Reactive Dog was barking like crazy, guarding his borders, and growling between barks. And the guy proceeding to go up the driveway and try to approach Reactive Dog anyway. Really…what part of growling did he not understand? Reactive Dog was being as clear as he knew how to be.

I get that people like dogs, want to interact with them, and sometimes that is well and good,. But forcing an interaction with a dog who doesn’t want it is rude, and more than that, it is asking to be bit. And not listening to the person who knows the dog, when they give clear information, is also rude, and at least right now, with my pre-vacation crankies, also an invitation to get bit, by me and not the dog. Luckily I’ve had my rabies vaccine.

There…I’m done. Pre-vacation rant complete. I’ll feel better soon…I promise.

9 thoughts on “What part of ….don’t you understand? : A dog walker’s lament

    1. You’re right about the “not smart” stuff. And they blame the dog when the dog bites…sheesh!! And thanks for excusing the crankiness. 🙂

  1. Woooowoooooooo! Sometimes when Mama tells people I am a little shy of strangers and to just let me approach them (instead of them following me with their hand up over my head) they think they can follow me anyways because they think I am so cute (which I am). That just makes me nervous and pace and then tangle my sistah in my leash. Maybe they are deaf or something? Ku

    1. Or something…not deaf! I do believe that they hear me say that this dog doesn’t like other dogs, but what they HEAR is that my dog doesn’t like other dogs except theirs. Or doesn’t like to be pet on the head by anyone except them. Not what I said…clue impaired. I know they mean well, but…I’m sorry that folks don’t listen to your mama either!

  2. O gosh. We have a neighbor with a highly reactive Chihuahua. I always walk my dogs (Shih Tzu mix) on a leash. Not so bright neighbor refuses to put the Chi on a leash. Chi gets too close to “mommy” (me) and Shih Tzu bark a warning at the Chi. Chi takes it badly and goes after my dogs. They are small dogs, but too heavy to pick up both. Chi bites my dogs then carries on like someone had just tried to kill her. And bites me. Owner says it’s my fault. Finally I called Animal Control, and eventually they brought me an aggressive dog complaint to sign. If the neighbor does not have the Chi on a leash and she comes after my dogs or me, it’s a $200 fine on him. In the past two weeks, I’ve seen him pick up his unleashed dog and trying to sneak her home before I see the Chi. As long as she doesn’t bite me or my dogs, I will pretend I don’t see anything. But mercy! Why do we have to go through this?

    1. I’m so sorry for your experiences. We have had to call the authorities at times too, when folks consistently leave their dogs loose and the dogs cause problems. Such an unnecessary misery for all involved, people and dogs!

      1. Thank you. I know you understand. I wish people knew as much as they think they know. Or even half of what they think they know would do for a start. Maybe a class on having a pet is not ALL about you?

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