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Dog etiquette

Dog etiquette, he’s friendly

If you like to train your dog or you have or have had a dog that was reactive or fearful of other dogs, you are bound to like reading this article.

If you love to have your dog race up to people and thinks that’s ok because your dog is friendly, you may not enjoy it as much. But, I would suggest you read on anyway because there may be some home truths that could help you be a more appreciated dog owner.

I could not even come close to guesstimating how many people have been accosted by the off leash dog tearing up to their dog followed by a hail of “it’s ok, he is friendly!”

It’s not even funny or giggle worthy really, it’s a major problem and as dog owners we need to get together with some accepted etiquette or at some stage, the restrictions we have with our beloved dogs will most certainly get tighter.

First, it’s actually not “ok”, whether he is friendly or not. If people don’t want your dog to rush up to theirs for any given reason, they have that right.

There is no arguing that. If they don’t, they don’t, it’s their dog, it’s their choice.

I am far from immune to these problems myself, especially when I have a dog that I am training for someone and I am in my local town.

Here are some personal experiences that have happened to me in just the last few weeks.

I was waiting outside a shopping centre with the dog I was training. He was practicing a sit stay to develop his impulse control.

Based on the elapsed time a good reward was coming when a lady walked past and saw the dog sitting next to me

She started to make a kissing sound to get his attention, which she did.

He didn’t break the sit so she stopped and made more sounds and began talking to him.

I mentioned to her with a smile that I was training him  and she rolled her eyes and stormed off.

?

I re tasked the dog and rewarded him when it was due, but why?

That same day I was walking this dog alongside the main park in Richmond.

It’s not a dog park or off leash park but a cricket ground.

I see a lady being dragged by her dog toward the one I was working with. The dog I had on this occasion was nervous of dogs and I was building confidence with him.

I looked at the lady and she said “he just wants to say hi”

I asked her to stop because my dog was not comfortable with dogs and she let go of the leash allowing her dog to belt up to mine and stand over her.

I grabbed her dogs collar and asked if she could please take him away.

She tried to drag her dog off, he protested loudly frightening the dog I was working with.

Why?

If I have a dog in a public place does it mean that this dog has no rights to his or her personal space?

I was having a coffee at a shop with another dog who was almost finished training. The dog I had was happy and relaxed laying in the outside area of a coffee shop.

A guy with a dog came by and his dog picked up my dogs scent and started looking for him. The dog I was working was behind one of those al fresco area barriers so could not be seen.

The guy said “have you got a dog there? Mine will find him!”

I said “yes I have a dog here and were actually training so if you don’t mind could you not?”

Next thing his dog has pushed through the side of the Alfresco area, knocking over a pot plant and is standing over mine in the coffee shop.

I had to stand up and move my dog away as he was just standing there allowing his dog to do as he pleased.

Why?

We all love our dogs, of course we want them to be happy, of course we want them to enjoy their outings, but surely we need to consider other dogs too?

It surely is the dog handlers right to decide on whether he or she would like to be approached by an unknown dog?

There are off leash parks where dogs are unleashed and free to approach others (even though I don’t feel this is a good idea), but outside of that area I think there needs to be some etiquette developed so us dog owners can avoid ending up squabbling in front of the general (perhaps non dog owning) public.

When sitting at a restaurant, if a person would like to take one of the chairs from the table I am sitting at, it’s often “sorry to bother you, but are any of these chairs not being used?”

My child is on the swing at the park, she hops off and other parent “are you finished with the swing?”

It’s obviously not too hard to be courteous?

I had finished a training session and opened the back of my truck and lifted up the dog I was working into the truck.

I went to close the door and a hand darts past me, grabs the dog by the jowls and shakes it’s head saying “who is a good boy?”

Why?

A year or so ago we went away to a country town for a friends birthday. She is a dog person so we all brought our dogs to this dog friendly venue.

Over the weekend a staff member approached my friends dog and pointed her index finger at the Border Collie and commanded sit, down! All Ceasar Millan like.

The dog is very well trained but not for this stranger so did not comply (no reward history).

The lady stepped toward the dog, finger no pointing at the dogs face with a with a “HEY! I SAID SIT!”

The dog took a back step to avoid her, and she stepped toward the dog again. The dog snapped at her and ran out of the room.

I stepped in and asked the lady to leave the dog alone, after her giving me a dirty look she left.

Why?

The dog was sitting on a mat minding it’s own business and the lady stepped up and started yelling commands at the dog, not taking no for an answer.

Dogs off leash that are out of control racing up to people (with and without dogs), leashed dogs dragging owners down the large

Into coffee shop al fresco areas, people seeing a dog in training and going out of their way to distract the dog, reaching into cars to pet dogs…

So many people are suffering at the hands of these people surely something can be done?

What do I do?

This is far from perfect or advice, it’s just what I do.

The dog I am walking will not be allowed to jump on people or race up to a dog anywhere. If I had a dog that somehow escaped my control and did this I would as fast as I could retrieve the dog and apologise.

If I am walking a dog and a dog is going to cross my path, if my dog is fine I will observe the other dogs behaviour, if my presence is causing the other dog to misbehave, become fearful or over excited, I will divert my course to make sure the situation does not get any worse for the other dog owner.

If I see a person with a dog doing anything, I leave them alone. Coffee shop? Walk on by.

Having fun playing with their dog in the park? Choose the free side of the park and keep my dog with me.

Overall I do not want to create an uncomfortable situation for the other dog owner and I don’t want to make a public display that would make a scene that depicts “dog owner’s are a crazy bunch!”.

A few months ago, dog owners were given a benefit in a world where restrictions are high. Bunnings advised that you were welcome to bring your dog into their stores.

I thought great! Great socialisation opportunity for puppies and great exposure to dogs I might be training when they were at the proofing level.

It doesn’t rain in there and there is no hot sun, great opportunity.

A few days after this freedom was offered, I was in Bunnings (no dog) and walked into an isle. Next thing I know a German Shepherd is lunging at me trying to take a piece.

The owner pulled back the leash and started trying to get the dog to sit. The dog was clearly fearful and I probably startled the dog by walking into the isle. But, people will walk into isles at Bunnings…

Staff came running to see what the barking was and the lady told them her dog was protection trained and was just protecting her. They were a little hesitant to believe her and asked her to place her dog in the car.

It was only another few weeks until a statement was released by Bunnings to say that people can bring their dogs but they would need to be muzzled as a few people had been bitten.

That freedom that dog owners got came and went before I even got a dog in there!

Why?

We need to take responsibility for our dogs or the powers that be, will. We already have so few places that we CAN take our dogs so we need to clean up our act and make sure we keep what little we have.

Some of us may need to apply some self regulation with our dogs in some situations, because if we don’t, the government restrictions will be much more restrictive. If you think nothing will come of what is happening, consider what is happening in the Greyhound Industry right now (https://www.facebook.com/k9pro/posts/1230401250303732)

Why do these things happen so commonly?

I know there will be hundreds of people reading this saying “yes! that has happened to me!”, so why is it so common? Let’s explore the reasons briefly

Dog rushes up to yours and you ask owner to call their dog. They respond “it’s ok! he is friendly”

Know that their dog probably has no recall and they are avoiding calling him because this would highlight their lack of training ability.

Other’s perhaps can see that you are anxious or look frightened perhaps so they may be trying to reassure you that there is nothing to worry about; but if you have a dog that is not comfortable then this does not help.

Dog pulls owner up the street to greet your dog

Well it is clear that their dog does not have great leash manners but often on top of that, the owners are taking their dog for a walk to entertain him or her. So in their mind your dog being available to stimulate and make their dog happy is a good thing. Of course if you are training your dog or your dog is not comfortable around other dogs, and let’s face it, many aren’t, then this causes a problem for you and when you don’t allow their dog to do as it pleases they too get upset with you.

Dog runs up to your dog and starts rough play

The other person is used to their dog playing very rough with his or her friends at the dog park, so they see no problem with him or her jumping all over your dog. Why? I guess because they feel that their dog means no harm. Of course if their dog is much bigger than yours or yours is frieghtend of dogs, or you are frightened of dogs then this is distressing to you.

It seems crazy that just taking your dog out in public means that you will or may be subjected to this type of behaviour…

My Tips on Dog Etiquette

These won’t work for everyone, and some will just scoff I guess, but here they are anyway.

If we have access to a public place with our dogs, only uptake that option if your dog will be an ambassador and make people smile at his or her behaviour.

If your dog is not ready to or able to behave well, train him or her and reward yourself and your dog with more inclusion to these places when he or she is ready.

If you see somebody with a dog, perhaps ask from a distance if they would like to meet and if you get a no, please don’t be upset, offended or angry. I’m certain their dog just isn’t ready for yours or would not enjoy meeting.

What will this cost you?

Actually nothing because if you don’t ask, these people will be frustrated, angry, anxious and or upset with you and there will be no playing anyway, all you will lose is the upset between you and a person who lives on this earth that shares your love of dogs.

I’m sure that only a tiny percentage of the people that say no are anti social unfriendly people, the others have a good reason and they very well may be working on making their dog better, so how about not kicking them back a few levels with selfish behaviour.

If you own a dog, you share that common interest with me and everyone else who loves dogs, try to lead with an excellent example. Sure this may mean your dog does not get absolutely everything he wants, but who does…

 As always, thanks for reading and we welcome all your comments below!

Steve

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57 comments

  1. Great article. Unfortunately, the people who need to read this are not likely to be doing so. I am lucky enough to be able to take my young bitch into Bunnings, other hardware stores, pet barn and have even been invited into clothing stores many times with her. She sits quietly while I look around, greets people calmly and has been invited back ‘any time’. I am gratified by the number of children that now ask politely (often with parental prompting) if they can pat her and although it sometimes gets frustrating when I’m trying to have a coffee etc to be constantly interrupted, feel it’s my duty to thank them for asking and educate them gently on appropriate behaviour. Why do some other dog owners seem to feel that if their dog is not drawing blood (as my friend says?) then it’s ‘under control’? These are the ones that need to read this article, but even then they would probably have the attitude of the groomer.

  2. That’s such an excellent article and should be compulsive reading for every dog owner and potential owner. I wish they taught this in the many puppy preschools popping up too. You’re totally correct and on point about every aspect of people’s responsibilities and how we all should strive to be good ambassadors for our community’s dog owners and the breed of our dog. As a German shepherd owner and now ACD owner it gives me so much pleasure to have people marvel at my dogs calm and social behaviour – even to the extent they change their preconceptions about the breed being aggressive unstable or untrustworthy.
    Whether it’s Bunnings, a cafe or a strata building – we all play a part in colouring the way people think about allowing dogs into our day to day lives. When owners stuff it up with their dogs bad manners and a lack of suitable contrition – it ends up ruining it for too many other for such a long time.

  3. Hi Steve, I have a German Shepard who is nearly 10 months old, he was desexed about a month ago, I have been training him to become an assistance dog, Things we’re going great and then about a week or 2 before I had him desexed he started growling ,barking, lunging at other dogs he saw most of them were called back or retreated any way but he continues to carrying on while he can se them, I have tried to sit him till he calms down , sometimes I can’t get him to sit so I turn him around and start walking the other way or stand in front of him till he calms, then attempt to let heel him and see if he starts to not respond to the other dog. Can you give me any hints tips or advice so I can get him to not respond to other dogs that way please. He has been attending obedience class once a week since February and has progressed a level up from beginners and may be put up another level next week, his behaviour has only happened once at obedience. Any advice you can give me would be so appreciated.
    Thank you
    Catherine and Brock

    • Hi Catherine, there could be a number of reasons he is displaying this behaviour but all of them would benefit by increasing his impulse control abilities. This would be done away from other dogs ideally so that he can learn the expectations.

      Having that said I suggest that you seek the help of an experienced behaviourist because as a young dog you want to get this behaviour sorted out before he begins to mature, or it will be harder to remedy.

  4. A thousand times yes to everything in your article. My dog is 9 years old and suffers from Arthritis, he has no patience for strange dogs just jumping on him out of nowhere. But he would be the villain cos he is a Dobermann and of course he’s “mean”. He’s not mean. Hes old and stiff and shouldn’t have to put up with strange dogs jumping on him and hurting him.

    But in response to the comings and goings of the freedom we had at Bunnings I too never even got to take my dog there! But what makes me mad is the comments in response where like “I’d never make my dog wear a muzzle because he’s friendly.” or the fact small dogs get exemption from the muzzle rule if they are in a trolley. I put a muzzle on my dog and people climb up trees, dive down aisles etc cos he must be vicious cos he has a muzzle on when Infact out of the fluffy little dog in his owners trolley or the muzzled Dobermann on the ground on a leash he’s actually the safer dog for somone to stand near.

  5. Great article 🙂 I also have a reactive dog that does not like other dogs outside her pack. I have 3 dogs and they get on fine. When I do go out in public she is always on a lead whilst passing other dogs. Other dogs will rush towards my dogs and I tell the owners to call their dogs and they say don’t worry he is friendly to which I reply, mine isn’t so call your dog please or it will get killed. I have to put myself between strangers dog and my dog which isn’t a safe place to be when 2 dogs start going at it. I have been told rather rudely that my dog has no right to be out in public if she has behavioral issues, the fact of the matter is my dog does not have behavior issues she is fear reactive and needs her space. I very rarely take her out now or I try to pick the least busiest time. Very sad that people don’t take responsibility for their dogs out in public. My other dogs are super friendly but guess what, when other dogs are around or passing us mine are on a lead and are not allowed to run up to strangers. It amazes me that people can’t seem to see that this is not ok 🙁

  6. In Tassie, if an off lead dog menaces your on lead dog and your dog responds, the owner of the off lead dog is likely to be successful in a complaint. And people know it! Ask them to control their dog and they say ‘if your dog hurts mine I’ll sue you’. It’s happened to me. Chased as we tried to get away, then told my dog should be put down. Kind of discourages on lead walking. I don’t see why people can’t observe on- and off-lead areas.

  7. Fantastic article!!
    I have a 1 year old german shepherd who LOVES going for drives and walks and getting out of the house. Unfortunately though he is very reactive when he sees other dogs and trying to teach him manners is near impossible when owners just let their dogs run havock. I get so worried that one day a little dog is just going to run up to him and not that i think he would do anything (or at least he hasn’t yet) i am worried that one day he might feel so uncomfortable as he normally does and have a snap.
    We constantly go 10 steps forward and 5 steps back because of irresponsible owners…
    He is very protective of me of course, being a shepherd they are but if only people respected what you were trying to do. I work in a petshop and he used to come to work with me all the time until he started being so reactive (im still yet to put my finger on what triggered it) and it upsets me that he can’t come with me anymore because of his behaviour. He is just the most beautiful dog. Any pointers would be great!

  8. Sharyn Thompson

    Great Blog. I have been in this situation many times. I have a large dog and its often the little ‘I am going to yap in your face” followed by isn’t that cute you tell that big dog. Its not cute and not funny. Thanks so much for this discussion.

  9. Great post! I’ve come across many of these scenarios and it is often difficult to remain polite.
    It was really highlighted to me once I got my Assistance Dog. Going shopping would take all day if we stopped for every ‘distraction’ that people deliberately make towards my AD.. We don’t attend dog parks unless we are travelling and only then when it is empty.
    Cafés on the sidewalk I’ve found to be difficult with every man, woman and child with an extenda lead!!

  10. CHRISTIANE WEISSBACH-BERGER

    Fantastic article because…. Well, I do have a reactive dog and it is VERY hard, even with dog owners who basically should know! I am working on his reactivity, will probably have to book a session with you at some stage – if only you weren’t so far away – and I hope that many dog owners, particularly those with smaller dogs, read this article. Because…. For the owner of a small dog it is very easy to say “he’s friendly”, as the damage in the worst case would be somewhat limited, but if a big dog is involved it is very likely that he will get the blame!

    • Well as you can see all the feedback we are getting says this is an issue, so hopefully it will help get the message out.

      Hope things get better for you and your dog.

  11. Fantastic article, I have 4 Great Danes, 3 are rescues, out of the 3 one is deaf and sight impaired and one has a dog version of PTSD due to the puppy farm he was in at the start of his life until he was seized and came to me. My poor PTSD boy was getting quite good at being out at things, I made sure that anyone who approached were told to pat one and leave him alone. Last year I was at a local festival with 2 of my Danes, Lucius was coping well, he was glued to my side but I was so proud of how he was being. I stopped to talk to a friend and in a few minutes we had people surrounding us, I said to pat my girl, but he was a rescue and to give him space. Next thing I know, this man I didn’t know reached out and grabbed Lucius on his ear, as well as reached out to my sons, poor Lucius started to growl and shake, I told the man to get away from my kids and dog, I was so angry, over 2 years of slowly rehabilitating my dog and he’s screwed it up in seconds. I haven’t taken him to such a busy environment since, he has really gone backwards.

  12. Great article Steve and opened my eyes to a few things. I posted your article on the community noticeboard for the town I live in and got mostly positive comments. I am curious to know your thoughts on this one though. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way lol!

    For goodness sake people really…..If your dog is aggressive, train it and control it!!! Dogs are very social animals and need to socialise to build confidence and strengthen their resolve. They are by nature a pack animal and will test other dogs at times for dominance. People need to stop being so precious with their dogs…….. you are teaching your dog to feel vulnerable and that they should be frightened. You are reinforcing anxiety in them by teaching them they can’t protect themselves and they should live in fear. I have a large dog and walk him at night where I am sure no other dogs will be……a walk on a lead for him is no walk at all. I am a dog groomer and work with dogs all the time, people have no idea how to train their dogs and no idea how to control them. It is so frustrating, stop blaming other people and train your dog to socialise, it is a natural part of their make up and something they need, it helps to shape their character and is very rewarding for them. My dog loves other dogs but I have trained him to not run up to other dogs although, it does happen sometimes, I will call him back and then that allows the other dog to have a choice to come a play. Just remember you dog likes to play just like humans like to play and interact, anti social people are training their dogs to be anti social and it is not in their nature to be so. The one thing that makes my dog the happiest is playing freely in the park with another dog or dogs. Are you denying your dog that freedom and enjoyment just because you have no idea how to train them or control them or because you are too precious? Yes some dogs are aggressive and should be on a lead but why are you allowing your dog to be aggressive? People need to have basic social skills and so should dogs. You don’t take your kids to the play ground and stop other kids from playing with them or stop your kids from playing with other kids. If they behave badly your teach them better social skills, just like dogs. Why are people so precious about other dogs say hello to their dog? I don’t get it??

    • Hi Cruiser, I actually covered people like the “Groomer” in my article. I mentioned that those who were doing the wrong thing would not like it, and there we have it 🙂

      Everyone is entitled to their option though, but when you make statements, they at least should be true.

      “Dogs are very social animals”.

      In actual fact they are pack animals, and they may be social with their pack. If a dog pack comes across another loan dog, they would kill it or run away from it naturally.

      “People need to stop being so precious with animals”.

      Actually dogs of today are more sensitive than they ever have been and if they are not carefully socialised, as little as one bad event can change their perception for life.

      “You are reinforcing anxiety in them by teaching them they can’t protect themselves and they should live in fear.”

      These dogs that display fear aggression are actually trying to protect themselves, when they are enjoying a walk in the park and other dogs race up to them, this is what makes them anxious.

      “It is so frustrating, stop blaming other people and train your dog to socialise, it is a natural part of their make up and something they need, it helps to shape their character and is very rewarding for them.”

      It is not rewarding for the dogs that are fearful of other dogs. It is not helpful when they are part the way through their rehab.

      “My dog loves other dogs but I have trained him to not run up to other dogs although, it does happen sometimes”

      Then I would suggest that her dog is NOT trained… I would also suggest that the reason the dog is not responding to what the groomer has taught is a two fold problem.
      1. The dog loves other dogs (because it has been taught too) and this is a greater reward than the owner is offering.
      2. Poor training and management skills.

      So when the groomer is offering behaviour advice and she cannot train her own dog, this would help me determine the value of said advice.

      When the Groomer advises that people should train their dogs (to not be aggressive), many are trying when dogs like the groomers race up in their face.

      ” Just remember you dog likes to play just like humans like to play and interact,”

      So play with your dog? Play tug, ball, hide n seek, food games, training games, scent games… But of course if one is lazy then they just can allow their dog to play with others, then of course it would be frustrating if people didnt want her dog racing up to their dog wouldn’t it.

      “The one thing that makes my dog the happiest is playing freely in the park with another dog or dogs. ”
      Strange, the thing that makes my dog happiest is playing with me… And again the motive for the comments comes out, the groomer is telling us that her dog wants to play with other dogs, even when she has taught him not to race up (ineffectively), he still races up, and she wants this to happen and if people stopped, she may actually have to do something herself.

      “anti social people are training their dogs to be anti social and it is not in their nature to be so”

      In my opinion, if I am walking my dog and a dog races up to mine and the groomer is telling me “its ok, he’s friendly!”, the groomer is the anti social one. She is disturbing me and my dog on a walk.

      Yes the dogs should be trained but whilst they are in the process of rehab, uncontrolled dogs racing up only defeats the program.

      Even if everything the groomer said was true, people have the right to say no thanks and not be judged or questioned, its your dog its your choice.

      I think that the term “off leash park” means free for all to many. It simply means that you can have your dog off leash in this area if your dog is under effective control.

      I might want to use this park to play ball with my dog, I might not want another dog joining in the game? I might want to train my dogs stays or recalls, without him being jumped on but it appears if I go to the off leash park that the groomer goes to, her dog is going to race up to mine whether I like it or not. She wont be able to stop it because “it happens sometimes”. If I then ask her to remove her dog from mine I am anti social?

      It is incredible how far people will go to get what they want, even if it means aggravating other dog owners.

      I hope that helps Cruise?

  13. An excellent article, especially asking “What will this cost you?” It’s all about basic manners, & in an era where those are conspicuous by their general absence, this is exactly the kind of reinforcement required. Thank you, & well put, Steve 🙂

  14. Janette Cussons

    Another great read Steve – should be compulsory reading for ALL dog owners/handlers regardless of ‘experience’ level as every dog we own or encounter is different & it’s just commonsense & plain good manners! People training to extinguish anxious & reactive behaviours have enough to deal with without rude behaviour from other dog owners & their charges. Why is it so hard to be polite, my last Delta Therapy Dog was ruined by someone allowing their dog free reign on a beach where he hit my GSD in the shoulder so hard he flipped him over, it was the last day he ever worked in a nursing home unfortunately

    As for the person who stuck their hand in your vehicle, they were lucky not to lose it, growing up in the country with farmers/tradies etc. the first rule we were taught a skids was NEVER try to touch a dog in a car/ute as sure as apples he’d be guarding, after all that was his job. I’d love to see this blog as a handout at all council registration centres, vets & training clubs/schools.

    • I do wonder would a dog license be a useful thing to avoid so many issues.

      • Natasha Backhouse

        I have been saying for years that before someone is allowed to own a dog, they have to do a dog ownership course, covering exactly what you just wrote about and basic care and the responsibility involved among other things, then when or if they pass they are given a license and can go and purchase their dog, once they have their dog they must then attend mandatory socialisation and obedience classes for a set amount of time.
        But whilst some people think it’s a good idea most just rush out and buy an accessory that looses its appeal to them once they realise there’s more to owning a dog than just showing people how cute it is.

        • Perfect article. Can i share it? I live in the country where dog training is not even yet in baby shoes. The badly behaved people and dogs are majority. It is quite difficult to train your dog when everyone around are ignoring your advice or laugh. It is more difficult to train people than a dog and i ve been dealing with it first with my Labrador and now with my Amstaff puppy 11months old. The training is ongoing and never ending. Mine has very high energy – so i sense train, obedience, we go jogging. I have my eyes on him 24/7 as the pray drive is extremely high. What would be good age to start with agility? (i have to do my own ofcourse and in Cyprus – Europe there is no such thing)

      • I’m a big fan of licensing, or voluntary certification. Then Bunnings could insist that only certified dogs could enter the store.

  15. Hey Steve. Really liked what you had to say and the advice you have to offer. On the subject of “off leash parks”. I agree that all dogs have the right to be exercised off the leash but if owners cant control their dogs while off the leash and the dogs do not respond to voice commands surely they should remain on leash?
    I have a 7yr old Rotti and I continually have the problem of out of control dogs rushing up to mine and lunging on her. She does not like her personal space being invaded and more often than not takes a lighly dominant aggressive stance to assert her space, forcing me to have to constantly be the one to put the leash back on her to de escalate the situation and move away.
    My dog is well trained and responds well to voice comnands off leash and stays away from dogs as commanded. Why should she the one to suffer due to ignorant dog owners.

    Regards
    Chris

    • I dont do dog parks, no matter what. An environment with a high population of off leash dogs is too risky for me.

      Your dog should not be the one to suffer but to avoid suffering, you may be better off outside of a dog park.

  16. I am a dog owner other dog owners probably prefer to avoid. I attended a dog obedience club for 12 months, swapped a collar for a harness (which made a huge difference), but still can’t control my dog very well. She walks beautifully on lead with a harness compared to the constant pulling of the past, but still lunges and barks at every dog we walk past. I have learnt where most dogs live, so try to walk on the opposite side of the street where practical, I always keep walking and talking to her to keep her moving (works to a degree) and if I see someone else with a dog I either try to cross the street or make her sit on a short leash and face me until the other dog has passed. She is quite strong, so these measures have limitd success, and I am not really training the correct response. After 13 years I think I am defeated, so we don’t walk so often anymore, and when we do we walk it is dark and there are fewer chances of coming across another dog. It is embarrassing that despite all the effort I made when she was younger, I never managed to teach her the right etiquette. She is obsessive-compulsive (I figured out that she was taken off her mum too young), and has what I can only describe as panic attacks, but at the end of the day I am aware of our short comings and remain mindful of other peoples dogs. I was taught in the club to always, always ask before approaching or touching another persons dog, and I think that was really good advice, given you don’t know their dog or how they will respond, but the owner will.

  17. Great article and very true Steve. I’m sick of having to deal with those situations when out and about. Some people are very good and you can pass by really well or stop and talk but others are nightmares and don’t care what their dogs does. When i’m out and about its about keep my dogs safe and happy and making sure they are not put in situations where they are uncomfortable.

    • I guess its always the small minority but gee they dont feel like a minority when you cant avoid them!

      • Very True, its the majority we have to deal with that makes life difficult. If only they would read blogs like yours but sadly they don’t see their dog doing anything wrong

  18. Great post. We are working on training a new puppy (she is not yet 4 months old) and it has been a huge frustration. Not just because she is a puppy and they do frustrating things, which I have been prepared for, but because people don’t listen. Although I want to socialize her with people and other dogs, I don’t allow for her to jump up and some of the people that we come across encourage it. She is going to be a big girl and I have tried to tell them that while it might be cute now, it won’t be when she is older.

  19. This is one from the other side of the ledger , today Melissa was training Diesel for an up coming trial doing some formal recalls and then some sits and downs , there where a young family playing in the park when the two little ones spot Diesel yelling and screaming come running towards Diesel but there mum calls them back and explains to them in a loud voice that the puppy is in training and to come back a sit and watch how good he is , and that is what they did , when we had finished we made the effort to go over to where they where sitting and thanked them for the consideration then the little boy asked if he could pat Diesel , but with a nod from his mum we explained he is in training. it was so nice to see kids shown the right way around dogs.

  20. Excellent article..love all your articles 🙂 I have a 19 month old male Rottweiler in training…wokring in many things…but leash manners and manners around other dgs is key right now. I don’t allow close encounters with other dogs….we are working on control in close enough proximity. I don’t belive many dogs like having another dog running up into their space..just like we don’t like that ourselves. Off leash dogs and their owners are a hazard…in my opinion…running your dog off leash is more about human ego than anything else (Oh! look at me…my dog doesn’t need a leash..he will never leave my side ” DREAMER! BUT!!! if you love your dog…why would you ever put it at risk and not have a line on it at all times? “Oh! he’s friendly!” those are cringe worthy words if I ever heard them !
    Sonny is at 19 months doing great..I don’t want any encounter with an off leash holligan !

  21. Great article! Gosh this is my everyday. Sometimes i feel like i am the only one around who read the dog etiquette book in my neighborhood. My guy is super friendly to all & hence people want to come over and interrupt our tng! One of our neighbors consistently leaves his dog-aggressive small dog off-leash. When i wacked it with a stick after it went for Nelson (on leash) the owner told me he was ‘just socialising’. My guy didn’t react at all – bit surprised really. I told him I would be discussing his dogs ‘socialising’ with the council!

  22. Great blog Steve. I know it all too well. Thankfully Rosie is so much better nowadays that I rarely have any issues now.

  23. Omg I think I have experienced nearly every one of the above scenarios. My biggest bug bear is the dog off leash scenario. I have a GSD who is reasonably friendly but does not like dogs running up into his face. I try to avoid this situation everywhere I go but its amazing how many people allow their poorly trained dogs off leash.

  24. The people who read your blogs are already doing this. I was walking my dog and a guy had a dog who started to bark and lunge at mine. His excuse was that his dog didn’t like GSD’s. He knew but still let his dog have a go at mine! ?

    • Those are the people that I am talking about. Hopefully if this Blog gets shared, these guys will realise that they need to modify their behaviour and their dogs.

  25. Yep!!! It’s a bit nerve racking at times
    And makes hard work of proofing/training
    There’s probably a lot of trainers like me out there
    Who are by no means at a professional level
    And trying hard to train their dogs ,
    Running into hurdles like this all the time .
    I tried to explain to one person , that a dog off the
    leash was like driving a car without a license
    If anything happens on the road to you
    there is no right or wrong .
    “You have no rights as you should not be on the
    road to cause or be in a accident ”
    But after a while I learned to look out for and avoid off leash dogs where I can .
    Dog parks are a no no but he’s none the worse for that I’m sure . Ten + dogs and owners and dogs in a fenced off park is a recipe for a dog fight
    ???

  26. That was a great read, thanks Steve. I agree wholeheartedly.
    I had a similar moment the other week when I was walking Chunks, I saw an old man ahead getting his well behaved looking dog out of the car with no leash, when I spotted him I stopped and made Chunks sit so we could let them go on thier way, Chunks sat watching very calmly and was extremely well behaved, the old man said to me, ‘it’s okay, he’s friendly, you can go past’ my response was, ‘thank you but unfortunately my dog isn’t and he’s in training’ luckily the old man was really sweet and said ‘good onya’! If only everyone was as good as the old man coz we have faaaaar too many not so good stories, many of which Chunks was the catalyst but hey that’s why we are training with you and changing our behaviour as well as our dogs ;o) look forward to the next one.

    • Great work Nerina, best to avoid any problems rather than risk them.

      • We had an altercation just this morning. Thankfully our dogs behaved awesome, we were in the corner of an empty off leash dog park doing training and in from the other end runs a poodle full tilt. Owner screaming his name but he wasn’t responding. We saw this and sat our dogs down and kept hold of thier collars. The lady eventually came up and just stood next to us as we stared still holding their collars whilst her dog bounced around like a pogo stick in our dogs faces. I said to her ‘our dogs are in training’ her response ‘which ones?’ (We were holding 2 and the other was stood next to us) I said ‘the bulldogs’ her reply ‘OOOOOH their bulldogs? You know this is an off leash park’ I said ‘yes I’m fully aware of that, our dogs are here under control and being trained’ she stomped off and proceeded to point and tell any other dog owners that entered the park about us??!? WHY!!! Christian wanted to go up and dance and jump I her face and see if she liked it! But hey we’re better than that. Grrrrrrr rant over!

  27. Great blog Steve.

    Couldn’t agree more.

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