Retractable leashes. Can I rant a second? I guess it’s not really the leash that I despise, it’s the dumb-dumb on the other end of it. Deana, my mostly dobie, is not super duper strange dog friendly. She’s good in most situations, but doesn’t care for strange dogs running up on her while on lead. In order to work with her we go to PetSmart when it’s not busy, either right at opening or a little before closing, and walk around a bit and look at new treats and what not. We stay far enough away from other dogs that she is exposed to new things and new dogs, but not close enough that a dog on a traditional leash can come up and she only gets about 6 inches of leash to play with (I keep about an 8 foot berth). Well, today, this nincompoop was talking on her phone and perusing treats and not paying ANY attention to her flufflykins and that he was now 10 feet away from her screaming his little lungs out at us and trying to jump on Deana’s face. I couldn’t turn out of the aisle fast enough, as someone had come down the aisle behind me, so I’m screaming “MA’AM! MA’AM! YOUR DOG! HE’S GOING TO GET BITTEN!” while holding Deana’s mouth shut and trying to shoo the little pup away with my foot (her dog was a 2 chomper-2 chomps and gone). Without getting off her phone she looks at me and says “He just wants to play. At least HE is friendly.” Being that it wasn’t one of my finer moments, I said “Try running up at me screaming and see if you don’t get bit!”. She got huffy and raised a stink with a nearby manager about allowing dangerous dogs in the store. Luckily the manager is a friend of mine and explained how she was at fault and we weren’t thrown out of the store. What would you guys have done? Next time I think I’ll say “Oh yeah! She loves little dogs. She thinks they taste like chicken.” and see how fast the little one gets reeled back in.
I’d be so upset.
I have a Rottweiler and have identified two types of stupid people: those who assume my dog is aggressive and melt into hysterics on the sight of him, and those who assume both my dog and I are second-class citizens and undeserving of respect, boundaries, polite apologies, etc. Luckily, since moving to the city we live in now, we’ve encountered none of these people. In our last city, though, they were rampant. Environment sure does play a role, huh?
While my dog is good with other canines, he’s a typical Rottie and has a medium-high prey/play drive, and a strong herding instinct. Put this together and you have a dog who doesn’t “like” joggers. You’d never believe the stories I could tell.
I like the response you came up with! That was some good thinking on the spot. Another option is to say your dog is a “working dog in training” – no need to specify anything 😉 This takes you off the rude owner’s playing field and removes her ability to think of you as a “bad dog owner,” since you position yourself as a trainer and your dog as a worker in training. Thus, all the misinformed notions about ‘friendliness,’ and ‘just playing’ go out the window, leaving her pretty much defenceless in her inability to properly manage her pet.
Oooohhh Working dog in training! I like it! Maybe I need to find some sort of vest… I know I steer clear of dogs wearing “working dog” or “assistance dog” vests, unless I’m in a position to ask for permission to greet them. And thank you for understanding. By nature, she greets strangers with skepticism. She sits politely, but will give you the “side eye” when you approach. She still has relaxed posture, but she’s aware. That’s part of what I love about her, and the breed in general. Her ears and tail are all natural so people assume she’s a bouncy friendly lab (I think that’s actually what her tiny bit of a mix is). But no, she isn’t. Couple all of that with the fact that Dobermans aren’t all too common where I’m at. It is very much my responsibility to protect her, and also myself, from liability, so I am hyper aware and careful in public. She’s always at heel and under my control. What really grinds my gears is if she HAD reacted, because she’s a big dog, everything would have automatically been her fault. I don’t have a problem with little dogs, I love all dogs big and small. I do have a HUGE problem with irresponsible people. In the media, and in the public eye, when a big dog bites it must immediately be put down and banned and rallied against. When a little dog bites the reaction is “GASP! What did YOU do wrong?!”. I’m sure as the owner of a large breed dog, and of one that comes with its own misconceptions, you can relate. (BTW, never met a Rottie that I didn’t like. I love their big ol’ noggins!) Oh, and the joggers! Lol! I had a GSD mix growing up that tried to herd the neighborhood kids on their bikes. Made her crazy to watch from the house or fence. She didn’t want to “get” them, but oh boy did she want to herd them into a circle.
Obviously the other lady was a moron but when you have a dog you can’t trust, you constantly have to be on guard! My dog would never bite anyone/any dog but she will bark like she’s CUJO if she can’t go and visit every dog around so she has not moved up to the Pet Store yet. Still walking at the park and trying to get her over her extreme enthusiasm over all dogs, big or small. Honestly, if I had a dog that I thought would bite another dog, I would not go in there with him because really anything could happen. A dog could even get loose from their owner. NOT saying the other lady was right…JMHO…
I see what you’re saying. And, for a long time, she simply didn’t go places where there would be other dogs. But, I decided if I was ever going to help her get over it, we HAD to go out of the house. That’s why I picked some place that was spacious enough we could keep 8 feet of space between us and others, not busy (by choosing a time of day that was perfect for that), and she’s on a halti with a 6 inch handle only leash so I have strict control of her. And, it’s helped, we’re on the right track. A dog getting away from it’s owner is something I can see coming, since we do stay so far away from others. However, this dog was leashed, as they’re supposed to be, but still not under it’s owner’s control which is really chaps me about the whole situation.
It sounds like you are doing the right thing. I can feel your pain with trying to get your dog used to other dogs(socialized). I’m in a little bit better situation because my dog doesn’t want to bite, she wants to play but at a distance from other dogs, she barks and that can be very scary for a some dogs. I’d hate to traumatize a little dog because Kayleigh barked like Cujo at them…GAH…
I hate retractables. I’ve been at pet stores where the dog is in one aisle and the owner in another. Vets offices are also no place for them, IMO.
If I was you, I’d talk to the store manger, explain about these leashes and suggest they not let them be used in the store. Probably wont work but worth a try. I wonder who is liable if a dog who is on a retractable and not under the control of the owner, gets hurt because that dog gets too close to another dog?
I think retractables have their place–in the middle of absolute nowhere, teaching your dog recall, and you don’t want to fool with 30 feet of check cord (been there, done that, it was a tangled mess!). I keep one on hand in the box of spare stuff just for walks out in the middle of nowhere. I’ll ask my manager friend what corporate policy is on that sort of thing. I imagine they take some sort of report to absolve themselves from liability?
I’ve had many dogs but only three that I used a retractable on and all were Shelties. Only time I used them was on a walk, never in an enclosed area
Where I live the leash laws even say how long your leash can be, no more than 8 feet. Of course it’s stupid that they had to legislate something that ridiculous, but I’m sure it’s because of people like the lady in the store. People are clueless.
Hound Dog MomParticipant
My two cents.
Concerning retractable leashes: There’s a time and a place. I own retractable leashes and use them when I’m walking the dogs on back roads or hiking the woods. I would never use a retractable leash walking through town or in a public place (i.e. vet’s office, pet store, etc.).
Concerning one dog going after another dog: IMO, no matter the circumstance, the dog doing the attacking is always at fault. I agree some people are idiots and don’t know how to handle their dogs (especially the little ankle biters) however you can’t expect other people to be looking out for your dog, you need to look out for your dog. You can’t bring a dog into a situation where he may react regardless of whether the reaction is caused by something someone else does. Gus (my dog that passed a couple weeks ago) was a problem dog – there were many situations I couldn’t bring him into, not because I didn’t know how to manage him, but because of the unpredictability of the other people in the situation. When a dog has issues with other dogs, people, etc. it’s the owner’s responsibility to manage the dog and ensure it’s never put into a situation in which it will react.
Sounds like that lady was a moron indeed. I know this is a generalization and not all little dogs are like this, but having worked at a shelter for over three years and having temperament tested many many dogs – little dogs are by far the most aggressive breeds of dogs (in my experience). I can’t even count the times I’ve gotten bit by a little dogs – I have never once gotten bit by a large dog (nope, never gotten bitten by one of those “vicious” pitts, rottis, shepherds, etc.). I find chihuahuas to be an exceptionally aggressive breed. What drives me absolutely crazy (oh you’ve got me on a rant now lol!) is that many owners of little breed dogs act like the behavior is acceptable just because the dog won’t do any serious damage! My grandmother owns a very aggressive 8 lb. “yorkipoo” – this dog has bit me (drew blood on me a few weeks ago), bitten her and bitten numerous other people and she lives in denial about it any constantly tried to justify it (you can’t justify a dog biting, it’s never acceptable!). To clarify one more time (so as not to offend any small breed owners): I’m not saying all little dogs are like this or that all owners of little dogs are like this; I know several very friendly small dogs and several individuals that own small dogs and don’t allow them to get away with certain behaviors simply because they’re small – just saying I see these issues more often in small dogs.
Thank you for your response. I read in another post where you work in a shelter so I know you have been exposed to a lot of different dogs in a high stress situation. I’ve never been bitten, thank goodness. I have been scared back into the bathroom by a friend’s unstable boxer though. No doubt she would have ripped my face off if I hadn’t gotten the door closed.
Deana isn’t without her issues, behaviorally speaking. She came with them and we’re working on them. I’m hyper careful, probably to the point of contributing to her neurosis. Lol. She’s muzzled in close quarters (vet’s office, vaccine clinic, etc) and faaaaar away from other dogs in an open area with no play in her lead. And you’re right about protecting my dog and not assuming the other person has control. Though, I know without a doubt, that this never would have happened if not for that darn retractable!
I just want to say I hate retractable leashes, for the most part. I used to use one in my own yard (large yard) when we didn’t have a doggie door (we didn’t have a fence then) to take the dogs out to potty. I also used to work part time in a pet specialty store and I would cringe when these ladies would come in, talking on their phones, and letting “junior” go all out on their leashes! InkMarie, we would definitely have the owner in one aisle and the dog in another. They would only pay attention if “junior” would knock product off shelves. And, of course, they wouldn’t offer to help pick up said merchandise. We also had the dog in another aisle doing its “business” and when we told the owner they’d say, “My dog did that?”! Whew…..I don’t miss any of that lol. I agree that the only place for retractables is in the middle of no where. I used to go to dog festivals in the summer and they would stop you before you entered the park if you had your dog on a retractable. They’d either ask you to use a borrowed leash from them or leave the park, yay! Of course these people were dog savvy. I also still have the one I used to use in the yard somewhere in all my dog paraphernalia.
Btw, to the poster……this is not intended to offend anyone, but please reconsider getting a vest that says “working dog in training”. Your dog isn’t really that, and the people that seriously need vests like these for their dogs get flak quite a lot because people don’t trust that their dogs are truly what they are, sort of like the handicap parking permits that sometimes get misused. When those who don’t really need them take advantage it hurts those who do. For lots of stories about this go to http://www.dogster.com and look under the service/therapy dog section. Again, I’m not saying this to offend anyone. I have Therapy dogs and sometimes people I know will try to get me to take them places using their vests that I know they shouldn’t go….I decline because it just wouldn’t be right.
Lots of interesting comments.
First to Mom2Cavs regarding the Therapy Dog vests, you’re right: no one should put fraudulent tags/ clothes etc on their dogs… or their houses… or their cars. Etc. Totally agree. However, one can order a vest that simply says: “IN TRAINING” or “DO NOT APPROACH” etc. This sends the same message to silly people who do not respect boundaries, but isn’t claiming the dog or handler is something it isn’t.
Just one interesting thing to add: I know people who take advantage by having their dogs certified! I know one woman who is extremely, neurotically attached to her dog. They are codependent. So she had the dog certified so she could take it shopping and out to eat. She also walks this dog off leash everywhere, ironically, convinced nothing will ever happen. This all disturbs me quite a bit.
In terms of dog owners taking strict and full liability for their animal’s actions, this is only reasonable **IMO** if we assume 1) an owner knows all of their dog’s issues 2) there is no contributory negligence. IMO, dogs off leash on the street, antagonistic yappers, humpers…. owners of these dogs MUST accept liability if their dog is injured. I believe this should extend to people, too: trespassers, joggers in off leash dog parks, solicitors who show up when you have ‘no solicitor’ signs, kids running amuck at dog obedience meetings, etc. To say the owner must be responsible, period, completely removes accountability from dog owners who break rules: laws, bylaws, and basic decent common sense.
Returning to my point about a dog owner knowing their dog’s issues. Often, we don’t learn our dog has a problem until s/he’s done something problematic. There are many dogs that lunge. Not all of them will lunge and eventually bite. Some will. Should owners assume that if a dog shows the first sign on the aggression spectrum, s/he will inevitably go further to nip < snap < bite < bite hard < bite repeatedly , maul?? (I use the < sign just to indicate this is a big, wide spectrum).
Some people might say yes, owners should assume the worst. I don’t know that I definitely disagree on this, but what I do know is that if you live anywhere other than the countryside with an in-call vet, it is just about impossible to completely avoid potentially troublesome situations. And this is why we need EVERYONE to be accountable.
One last thing.
I really do think it is useful to think about things – as people are – in terms of PROTECTING our dogs from other people’s ignorance/ negligence/ bad attitudes, etc.
I know as a Rottie owner, I can really go on the offence when it’s suggested I should have to take different measures for my dog or deny him certain opportunities based on breed. Still, having seen the type of idiotic behaviors I’ve seen from other dog owners and non-dog-owning park users, I know think purely in terms of his protection, his safety, his longevity… and my home insurance!! 😀
You really cannot ever assume other people will be responsible. You will be so disappointed!
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