This is Part One of a series we’re calling ‘Owner Profiling’. What better way to make large sweeping judgments on people than by classifying them into easy compartments. It also keeps our brains neater.
First up we have ‘The Weekend Warrior‘
Description: The Weekend Warrior is the dog owner that only manages to get their dogs out when it is convenient for them. Their dogs have very little training and are so pent up from being trapped inside during the week that they can’t contain themselves. These are the “oh, he’s friendly dogs”. The ones that are all up in a calm dog’s face, pushing even the calmest dog to the edge.
Common Locations: These owners are often seen at the dog park on sunny Saturday afternoons, and only on sunny Saturday afternoons when it is convenient for them to be there. They can also occasionally be seen at Pet Superstores, their dog straining on the end of a flexi lead, dashing around corners well ahead of their owners.
Breeds Owned: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and various ‘doodling (from a diddling by a poodle or another doodle) of the aforementioned breeds. The weekend warrior gets these breeds because they are described as “easy”, but totally ignores the fact that they are meant to be active dogs, not “active when I feel like it” dogs.
Skill Level: Moderate to Low. Personal physical fitness can make or break this owner. Those willing to manhandle their dogs into compliance frequently find some success with this methodology but most cannot be bothered.
Catch Phrases: “My Dog is Friendly!” , “Awww, he’s trying to play!” , “He pulls on the leash too much, so we just let him off to run off his energy.”, “He’s a purebred goldendoodle”
Potnoodle: I had always assumed that this type of dog owner had not managed to infiltrate the dog sport world. That was until I started to go to Dock Diving events last summer. At our third Dock Diving event, I was unlucky enough to be situated behind a Weekend Warrior in the line for the wave we were entered in. Dock Dogs, the organization we compete with, has a Four Foot Rule. Each dog, must be four feet apart in line. As the owner of a dog-selective (And by selective I mean she hated your dog so go away) in the past, I truly appreciate this rule. Luckily, my poodles are unflappable so I was not bothered by the Weekend Warrior who was allowing his lab full use of the six foot lead he had her on. She was alternating between lunging and fighting to back out of her collar. The owner was trying to corral his two children, not really paying any attention to the dog. She backed out of her collar not once, not twice, but three times just while we were standing in line. Eventually, another competitor brought him a slip lead and told him he had to keep the dog under control or he would have to leave. The man was, of course, offended by this and failed to see the harm in his dog running amok. It is worth mentioning that his children were also running around, drive by petting every dog they could get their hands on. Apparently, he took a similar approach to dog owning and parenting.
Fang: My boss owns a private dog park. Every day is amateur hour from open to close. It’s never any different. After a recent bout of cold weather we’ve had an upswing in clients and that has of course led to an upswing in stupid. A current Goldendoodle we shall call Satan has returned to wreak havoc on the unsuspecting masses while the owners claim loudly that’s “He’s just trying to play!”. It’s migraine inducing. Every day I hope they just decide the embarrassment that is their lack of commitment to their stupid, yet very high energy dog is too much and they’ll change, but as they still haven’t even tried to quell his efforts to pull them back to hell, I won’t hold my breath.
BusyBee: Living in a city where the sun rarely makes an appearance, I can fully testify to the existence of the weekend warrior, or as I like to call them “the nice weather newbs”. I am literally out, every day, rain or shine (ok, fine, mostly rain) with my dog either going on long walks, organizing play-dates with other doggy friends, or attending some sort of training class. I’ve accepted that owning a dog means hours spent out in the rain when I would much rather be inside staying warm and dry. When I first moved to this rainy city, it was in the summer and it was amazing how many people had dogs and seemed active. I thought I had found “my people”–a land full of dog devotees. However, come fall, it was literally only me trekking through the rain and mud to make sure that my dog got his exercise and stimulation. All sorts of things ran through my head… “Where did everyone go?! Do their dogs just not need exercise? Do they know something I don’t? Am I seriously the only one out in this mess walking my dog?”. Well, a few months later on a rare sunny day, I got my answer. These “nice weather newbs” had not in fact fled to warmer ground all winter, and their dogs were not some sort of super species that didn’t require exercise or fresh air. No, it was immediately evident that these poor dogs had been inside all winter with very little stimulation and attention. It was complete mayhem attending the same Sunday Farmer’s Market I had attended every rainy weekend for the past few months. Tons of out of control and pent-up dogs flooded the market with their owners, who were just so grateful the sun was out and they could finally take out their dogs that they had forgotten, or neglected to realize, that their dogs had not been properly socialized or exercised in months. In that one day, I saw more dog grumbling, rude dog behavior, and just general idiocy than I had seen in the past few months combined. I learned a valuable lesson from that sunny day: don’t bother going to public places when it’s nice out, the idiots come out from the woodwork and it’s just not worth it. Side Anecdote: Mr. T was attacked last summer (yes, by a breed commonly owned by the weekend warrior), and when visiting the vet for a follow-up visit to have his staples checked, I saw two other dogs leaving with staples and drains and was informed they were also the victims of dog attacks. I inquired about how common this was, and the vet quickly informed me that every spring they see a rise in dog-on-dog altercations, presumably because people come out of hiding once the weather gets nice and fail to realize that letting loose a dog who has not been exercised or socialized in months is probably a bad idea.