Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you.

30 Jul

“He was just being friendly!”

Those five words may seem benign, but they actually constitute one of  most rage-inducing phrases a dog owner can hear.

We’ve all been there.  A dog charges up to your dog, gets right in their face, invades their personal bubble, and pesters them until your own dog gets sick of the shenanigans and either avoids the offending dog or snaps at them to tell them to back off.  Both behaviors result in the other dog’s owner proclaiming that your dog is a jerk for not allowing their “friendly” dog to molest yours.  Actually asshats, it’s your dog that needs a lesson in manners, or more precisely, you do.

That’s right, your dog isn’t just being friendly, he’s being an asshole.  Here are just a few signs that your dog is a jerk.

1.  Your dog routinely lifts other dogs feet off the ground when trying to sniff their derrieres

2.  Your dog starts all greetings by jumping on the head of strange dogs.

3.  Your dog goes right to another dog’s face and proceeds to either incessantly lick them or tries to lean over the other dog.

4. Your dog humps strange dogs within seconds of greeting.

Mind you, we understand that dogs are being dogs.   That Lab who rushes your dog is just being a Lab (sweet, but socially inept and completely unaware of the rules and regulations as dictated by the herder overlords), but as a dog owner it is YOUR responsibility to manage these interactions and understand what is “rude” in dog language and not allow your dog to be a repeat canine offender.   It’s not a coincidence that many dogs take issue with the bouncier, “in your face” breed of dogs. Imagine if you were on a walk and a stranger came running up to you full speed and took a flying leap into your arms and proceeded to lick and nuzzle you as you tried to get away (For the record, BusyBee, who seems to be a freak magnet has not yet had this happen…knock on wood).  Not cool, right?  So why would you let your dog do the same?


My Cattle Dog probably hates your dog.  It’s nothing personal (It probably is) but while she doesn’t want to kill your dog, she would rather your dog not be …alive anymore.


I have spent literally years dealing with her gangbanger tendencies. She’s not perfect (Despite what she thinks), but she is so much better than what she was that I am basically on a minimal management plan. That being said, if pressed I will explain that she is in fact dog aggressive (It’s more like pissily selective with unfamiliar dogs, but the shades of gray are hard to explain) and please don’t let your dog get in her face. I am not however above admitting that I can and will use those tendencies to teach object lessons to idiots. My bad owner confessional being, I’ve let her go cobra on dogs we know, because their owners are being dicks. Out and about however, I do my best to minimize her potential for mayhem. I’m not being ‘rude’ when I physically block your dog. I’m sure your dog is lovely but our experiences say otherwise so if I’m putting myself between my dogs and you, that’s not an invitation to get closer. Really, back the hell up. I’m trying to get away from you and your dog in questionable control. I’m protecting your dogs as much as my own.

Not exactly what we meant by ‘Go Cobra’ but close enough.

Also as a note, dog aggressive dogs under control and with responsible management have just as much right to be out and about as the friendly neighborhood pal. Muzzles are frequently a responsible compromise, and proceeding to lecture on why the ‘vicious’ dog shouldn’t be out is frankly ridiculous and narrow minded. I don’t like being accosted by strangers and neither do my dogs. Respect the bubble.

…and the Bubbles


Mr. T is exceedingly patient as a general rule.  He’s one of the best puppy-raisers around.  He tends to be ok with excessive sniffing, face-licking, and general tomfoolery from most dogs. But, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his limits. If a large dog persists on bouncing all up in his business like Tigger on crack, he’s not going to be happy.  And nor am I.

But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is… calm the fuck down.

People who understand dog body language have often commented on how appropriately and judiciously Mr. T doles out corrections.  Generally I try not to let dogs act inappropriately toward him and will step in if I think a dog is going too far and the owner is obtuse.  People with “friendly” dogs**, however, tend to think that anything less than complete tolerance on his behalf  is a sign of aggressiveness and that I’m being rude by not allowing their dog to torment mine.  Heaven forbid someone correct their sweet snookums who was only trying to show affection by clinging on to Mr. T’s  head like those tacky Garfield car suction plushes.

Except the window is Mr. T’s head

**Pro Tip–if your “friendly” dog is routinely in the middle of melees and draws the ire of most dogs it encounters, it’s probably (past) time to rethink how you are letting your dog interact with others.


I was raised by a border collie, and my first dog that was really mine to train was an Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix, so even though my current Poodles aren’t easily offended by rude dogs- I am.

My dogs are also kept in this bubble.

So even though my poodles are going to tolerate your ass-y dog flinging himself into their face… I won’t. I’m going to step in and move your dog away. I don’t really appreciate being called a bitch for doing this, so I would appreciate if you could keep your comments about me under your breath, just like I keep my comments about you under mine.



401 Responses to “Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you.”

  1. Antoinette July 31, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Matt, my ACD is not aggressive. She will not go after another dog without provocation…. ever. Now if that same dog comes up and wraps his paws around her head, she’ll pin him down and growl in his face like a honey badger; and I don’t stop her.
    She is gentle with puppies, they don’t understand decorum yet. Her behavior changes when those puppies grow into adult dogs, and have not learned. The lessons become more harsh, more showy. She has never broken skin on another dog, but she’s scared the hell out of a few inexperienced dog owners.
    Children are human puppies. She is fond of them, since they are sticky and generally taste like jelly. 🙂 But in all seriousness: children smack her, lean on her, pull her tail, and all she does is head butt them and lick their little puppy faces. You can not say that just because an ACD expects manners out of other dogs, she will harm a human child. It isn’t a fair statement.
    And as far as breeding aggression out of my ACD, you’re treading a fine line. Instinct, and drive are not aggression. Those traits make herding dogs domineering, not aggressive. They like to control situations: it is their job. It is also my job to control those traits. Wombat is NOT allowed to heel children, or people. She is allowed to heel other dogs – as long as she’s not too big a bully. If she does start to do that, I recall her and control her. That is what I expect from the bouncy tigger dog’s owner. I don’t expect them to be any less bouncy or “friendly,” but I expect their behavior to be mitigated by their person.
    My dog has every right to walk the sidewalk and not get harassed by overly friendly animals. I have every right to enjoy my neighborhood and city with my chosen companion. I wanted a dog that was loyal, smart, and sassy, so I got an ACD. I love her breed for everything they are, even if they’re sticklers for manners.

    • TheDogSnobs July 31, 2013 at 8:03 pm #


    • maureen September 15, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

      bravo, 3 acd’s and one a true alfa female. Usually a curled lip is enough and I have seen 160 lb mastiffs shake and drool when she gives them the stare. what did she do, like the alfa she is she turned her head and let the dog go, He ran tail between his legs as fast and as far as he could. Lesson learned

  2. IV July 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    My dog is off-leash trained and disciplined enough to never approach other dogs unless I approach them and permit him to say hi too. I understand that dogs that are not dog-friendly are sometimes agitated by the sight of an off-leash dog, but I am not sure that is reason enough for me to keep him on a leash at times when he does not need one. I have had him for 7 years and there has not been a single incident, except when three off-leash dogs who were NOT trained and were very aggressive attacked him… while he was on a leash. Thoughts?

    • dorannadurgin July 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thoughts? Obey the leash law.

      Look, it’s not about your dog’s need for a leash. Leash laws exist to protect *other* people’s needs. Just because *you* haven’t had trouble in seven years of disregarding courtesy and regulations doesn’t mean that other people haven’t had trouble with you.

      It’s not just other people with dogs, either. There are people out there who fear dogs, or who have children who fear dogs. If they see your dog off-lead, then it causes them anxiety. Period. People who don’t want to be approached by dogs–for themselves, for their dogs, whatever–should not have to worry about off-leash dogs in an on-leash area. Don’t be that person who privileges your convenience over everyone else’s rights and safety. You’re just not that special.

      My take–as I watch dog friendly areas shrink and hotels close their doors to pets–is that every time I’m out with a dog, I’m an ambassador. If space is tight, I step aside and put my dog on a sit so the other person can have confidence they won’t get jumped on, drooled on, shed upon…whatever. I make it clear to others that I’m aware of and respect their space.

      You see the little flip there? It’s not about you. It’s about THEM. No one should ever have to worry that they’ll have an unwanted encounter with your dog. Ever.

      • Amy August 1, 2013 at 3:30 am #

        Excellent post.

      • Jennifer August 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

        I’m sorry, but I have to disagree. Leashes let people who have minimally trained their dogs take their dogs places that other people who HAVE trained their dogs go. Unfortunately, due to the general ignorance of your run-of-the-mill dog owner, they saw others taking their dogs off-leash and decided that they could “do it to”. Of course, this caused the necessity of the leash law – to keep people from letting their ass-hat dogs with next to no actually training run amuck amongst the general public. By training my dog well, I have made it just as much about other people as I have about myself – my dog goes where I go, and he goes off-leash because I’m the only person he cares about in public, which is as it should be. Yes, my dog will snub your dog in public, because I’ve trained him to focus only on me. Which is the way it should be.

        Being able to go off-leash is a privilege that has to be worked for. It is only tolerated for dogs who are truly ready. These people who have “anxiety” about dogs off-leash are being babied if I put my dog on a leash, and they aren’t learning anything at all about how not all dogs are going to run up to them and maul them, regardless of whether or not they’re on a leash. I wouldn’t avoid an area just because it scares my dog, I make my dog train through it. I have never had an issue with somebody trying to avoid a dog being mauled by my dog off-leash, because he doesn’t leave my side. When I walk my dog through the public leash-less, I show everyone what a well-behaved dog SHOULD look like, because I have obviously taken the time and energy to train my dog. I don’t need to step aside and sit – because if I stop, my dog stops, sits, and waits patiently for our next move.

        NOW, this being said, if your dog has within the past three months taken off, blown you off, refused to sit on cue or has a tendency to wander off at the heel, you probably aren’t ready for leash-free work in public yet. If you are going to go leash free in a public area – regardless of leash-law – your dog should look like a golden retriever in the middle of an OTCH trial. (It looks more fun with a standard poodle.)

      • Anna August 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        My dogs are excellent offleash, but I still keep them on leash in area where the rules require it.

      • awesomedogs August 1, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

        I disagree with Jennifer about off leash dogs. My mother has had two hip replacement surgeries. Part of her rehab was walking, then biking. During rehab she was unstable and easily toppled. Even now, she has the nagging worry that at nearly 70, while biking, she will get toppled and break her hip.
        The mere sight of an off leash dog is enough to make her nervous. She does not know the level of training any particular dog has had.
        I’ve been there and watched those “perfectly” trained dogs. You know the ones that NEVER disobey. You can bet, those are the dog that are running up to her with the owner screaming, “OMG, My dog NEVER does that.” These are dogs that I’ve seen behaving perfectly for years. Yet – then there is that one time and of course it’s to someone who recently had major surgery.
        A leash is a sign to other people in the community that you care for their feelings and limitations. It’s a clear sign that their dog cannot reach them.
        An off leash dog terrifies people – people who naturally like dogs – but perhaps are nervous for other reasons.
        A dog that is well trained, won’t mind the leash, because it is well trained.
        Off leash dogs inspire fear. It might not be your dog that did harm. I know far too many people that scared to death for very valid reasons – whether previously being attacked, medical conditions or having a senior dog that cannot take the excitement of a young dog jumping on them.
        As a driver, if I see an off leash dog on the side, I’m fully expecting to have to avoid it. I shouldn’t have to monitor the behaviour of off leash dogs while driving. I should trust they are on leash and not have to worry. A leash tells me, “You’re over there…good.”
        And I like dogs. Imagine how people who dislike them feel.

      • dorannadurgin August 1, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

        Jennifer, I find your words appalling at a stunning level of intensity.

      • Donamin August 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        There are no leash laws in my area. Maybe the same applies to poster, just a thought!!

      • Darlene August 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        While I do agree with most of your points (a leash can make others feel more secure), the “leash” law in many places only requires control of the dog, not necessarily a leash. Some dogs are also much more agressive on leash than off.

      • dorannadurgin August 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

        Darlene, then those would not be defined as “on-leash” areas, so I’m not sure of your point.

      • Deb August 15, 2013 at 8:11 am #

        Well said!!! I feel the exact same way. I have a 40 lb high energy year & a half old, mixed breed pup & especially living in multiultural, down town area I think of her as ambassador too. I know that on many of our walk routes are families whose children have no experience with, or only poor experiences with dogs. So I always make sure to make space for them & put her in a sit stay so that they can feel more sure she won’t jump.
        (Curiosity, do you work in the animal/dog care industry? 🙂

      • Susan August 15, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

        I certainly understand the concern about people with a fear of dogs. I took my Boston terrier puppy (about 3 months old) to a park and a little girl was convinced he was a pit bull. She began to run and scream and of course he started to chase her. I learned my lesson about taking even tiny, young dogs out without a leash.

      • Dogsontheball1 September 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

        AMEN! It’s not about “you”, it’s about everyone else and their dogs. Why can’t people get that?!

      • KaD September 27, 2013 at 1:31 am #

        Leash laws protect dogs too. From other dogs, from falling off cliffs (I’ve seen a few news reports), from getting swept away in riptides and drainage canals, being hit by cars, etc. People who love their dog leash their dog.

      • pennar October 1, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

        Jennifer, can you make your case for not following the leash laws again? It would really help if you quoted the wording in the law that specifically states Jennifer is exempt from this law. Ok? Thanks. Seriously though, your arrogance is going to get somebody and their dog seriously hurt. Go off leash all you want on your own plot of fenced in land.

      • T.J. June 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

        I know this is an old comment but to Jennifer, you said,
        “Leashes let people who have minimally trained their dogs take their dogs places that other people who HAVE trained their dogs go. Unfortunately due to the general ignorance of your run-of-the-mill dog owner, they saw others taking their dogs off-leash and decided that they could “do it to”. Of course, this caused the necessity of the leash law – to keep people from letting their ass-hat dogs with next to no actually training run amuck amongst the general public.”

        So you acknowledge both that leash laws are neccessary and unleashed/trained dogs encourage untrained dog owners to forego the leash.

        Then you go on to say you will allow your supposed perfectly behaved pup to go without a leash. Doesn’t that make you as irresponsible (maybe more so) than the ignorant dog owners? You know you’re encouraging potentially dangerous behavior from owners who aren’t so bright. You claim to be a responsible owner, yet you encourage danger…

        You also are ignoring the potential danger to your dog. What happened when another dog or a pack instigate a brawl? It doesn’t matter how well your dog listens when he feels he is threatened or even more likely, when he feels you are threatened. Flight or fight is a natural reaction in all creatures. If a soldier can lose control of a situation, what makes your dog so capable of holding strong? If you have him leashed, you will have better control of the situation.

        You are that kid in school who always expected things their way. Special treatment for you, but how dare they get it too.

    • Isis Baily August 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

      My thoughts are very similar to dorannadurgin.
      Leash laws are there for a reason.
      My dog is currently on 3 different medications because he is ill. We had been avoiding ALL dogs and telling other people and neighbourhood kids even, that they couldn’t pet him because of this sickness, especially if they have pets.
      One afternoon, we took him out for his regular potty break and a walk. We were careful to keep him close to us and to shout out to other dog owners not to let their dog near him, we came around the corner of our building and an off leash dog spotted him and came bolting towards us.

      I was forced to put myself between the 2 dogs and even tried to separate them by grabbing the offending dogs collar and pulling her away. She wasn’t hurting my dog, and my dog wasn’t going to hurt her, but my dog is SICK and because the owner of this dog wasn’t obeying the leash laws, who’s to say his next vet bill won’t be caused by MY dog? Who was ON leash.

      Did I mention I’m 7 months pregnant? And that my 4 year old who’s only recently over a fear of dogs was with me?

      Please keep your dog on a leash unless you’re using the designated parks in your area for off-leash dogs.

      – Isis.

      • lilyatwt August 2, 2013 at 3:01 am #

        I walk a chi/beagle mix, 9 years old. She heels beautifully until she sees other dogs wigging out on their leashes. Off leash dogs cause me to scoop her up. She’s 15 lbs of nasty. Your dog might be super duper friendly, but when confronted with my Jos spitting in your dog’s face, I assume your dog will become defensive. I don’t care how well trained your dog is, or how friendly (famous last words), I protect both Jos & myself with a stun baton. C’mon, bring it. For the first time in literally years, I walk my dog anxiety-free. The baton has a 130 dB alarm on it, if that doesn’t scare your dog away, it means business, and shame on you for not understanding your dog is an animal! Never the dog’s fault … oooh but it’s trained don’t ya know. My dog is mean, and so am I. Get your dog on a freakin leash asap. You don’t know me, and you don’t want to.

      • Susan August 2, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

        I think I have a chi/beagle mix, also 9 years old, that we adopted a year ago, from the dog pound. He, too, can be mean (think mini-Cujo) if you don’t pay attention to his warning growl. We just try to cross the street when we see other dogs coming and if the dog is unleashed, we turn around and go the other way.

      • AALabs August 3, 2013 at 1:54 am #

        Wow, Jennifer, the AKC would wholeheartedly disagree with your stance regardless of your dogs OTCH title. The most basic title given by the AKC (their CGC) in which the owner is required to sign a responsible dog owner pledge. Number 2 is that you will be responsible for you dog’s safety by agreeing to “properly control my dog by providing fencing where appropriate, not letting my dog run loose, and using a leash in public.” That’s right, if you refuse to use a leash in public, the AKC deems you an irresponsible owner.

        Regardless of how well behaved a dog off leash, I cringe. First, I worry it is going to run up to me and my two dogs who are both very obedient and have been attacked 3 times by “friendly dogs who have never done that before.” Two, even if they are the best behaved dog in the world, I think their owner is a moron because all it takes is once. Once it gets startled, once it decides to chase a squirrel, once it gets a bee up its butt and takes off, it may have been awesome its entire life, but all it takes is once and that dog is squashed by a car and it is their owner’s fault. There went that awesomely trained dog because the owner couldn’t be inconvenienced by an almost weightless, 4 feet of nylon.

      • gwenwivar August 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

        I think you have confused the AKC Puppy STAR with the CGC. With the CGC the dog is also evaluated for aggression and your ability to control your dog on leash.

      • cheryl August 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

        So true, I just recently read an article by a dog trainer who lost her dog because it didn’t listen to commands this one time. I am always told at hiking areas to let my dog run off leash. Crazy people, I own a weimaraner. Although she is a velcro dog, her hunting instinct exceeds everything else in the world. I would never, ever take the chance of losing her because of a stupid desire to hike her off leash. I also live 20 miles from NYC, not the most open area.

      • AALabs August 6, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

        CGC Test Item #8. This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

        Both dogs ARE LEASHED, and the test dog does no more than stand next to its owner. It does not show interest and does not engage with the dog being evaluated. Yes a dog can fail the test for being aggressive, but a dog can also fail the test for going toward the other dog, attempting to engage in play, sniffing the test dog’s butt, etc. The whole point of this test item is to show that your dog will IGNORE other dogs while in public.

    • Marilyn August 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      Thoughts? Please keep your dog on a leash in those areas where a leash is required. No matter HOW well trained you think he is. When my senior standard long-haired Dachshund was less than a year old, I was walking him and his sister. We were attacked by a large I-don’t-know-what. Shadow and Sunny drove him off. To this day, more than 14 years later, Shadow will not permit dogs not of our household to approach me — I was attacked on his watch once, and it will never happen again. My friendly, mild-mannered, loves-everyone-Dachshund, turned dog-aggressive. He’s gotten better the last two years that we’ve been going for water-therapy, because he encounters large dogs on leashes who are under control and knows they are not a threat to me. He’s okay at obedience class where the dogs are under control. But a dog running loose? Running at me? You may know your dog is well-trained. You may know your dog will answer to you. SHADOW doesn’t. Neither do I.

    • Shandra August 5, 2013 at 7:05 am #

      A leash is your dog’s friend. All dogs have predator instincts. Something may trigger him to chase a small creature, like a squirrel, into traffic. And if your dog’s not on a leash and gets it in his head for whatever reason that he *must* have that squirrel, you will probably witness a horrible accident.
      Leashes exist for a reason: Safety.

      • KaD September 27, 2013 at 1:38 am #

        And if your dog is in the street and gets hit you will likely also owe the driver for damage to his car, damage to anything he hit trying to avoid your dog (like other cars), or you may face charges if someone is injured.

      • madimd October 17, 2015 at 4:06 am #

        Sometimes you have to release the leash when others dogs come charging and running faster than you. It is called fight or flee.

    • Lisa Marie August 7, 2013 at 12:44 am #

      Yeah, my dog was off leash trained too for 3 years. He impressed everyone with how well he behaved. Until one day he saw a jogger on our busy country road and took off to see him. All my recalls were ignored and he was hit and killed. It only takes once to lose your dog. My current dog is never out without his leash unless we are in a pasture.

      • Patti Goettler August 7, 2013 at 1:35 am #

        All of my dogs are Off Lead trained,,,when are they off lead?…RARELY!! The most well trained, smartest dog in the world has the metal capacity of a 2 or 3 yo CHILD…would you walk across a parking lot and NOT hold a 2 or 3 yo’s hand?! I hope not, I LOVE my dogs , so yeah, there is a leash snapped to their collars…they don’t pull, they walk sweetly by my side- so what is the issue ? There you have it…I love MY dogs, I do NOT turn them loose in areas where there may be the slightest chance of them coming to harm. And if YOUR off lead dog tries to harm one of MY dogs…God help it and you.

      • AD November 25, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

        Geez Patti, judgmental much? Well we are on The Dog Snobs. Just because you let your dog off leash does not mean you do not love your dog. I love my dog, and I love seeing him happy. What makes him happy? Being off leash and being free to sniff what he wants and run around. Of course I want him to be safe too, so I have trained him and let him off leash in safer areas to do so. There are risks to letting your dog off leash no matter what but you can minimize those risks with proper training, management and common sense. if you walk across the parking lot of course your going to hold your kids hand, but if you are in a playground you are not going to unless you are a really weird parent. There are risks to not holding your childs hand 24/7, like letting the kid go to school (especially now a days), letting your kid ride in the car with you on a highway, or just in general allowing your kid to be out in the big bad scary world. But that does not mean you should ban these things.

    • Justinekay Merrill October 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I run mine off leash, they have lovely manners, do not get in other dogs faces, and they are safer off leash when the reactive dog lashes out, they can move way back. before that happens they are out of their space, seri can now read nasty dogs fast. and rarely closes in under 10 feet.
      great article, we need one about nasty dogs at the dog park!
      I do not like off leash dogs with no manners and no recall! they belong on leashes!!
      its sad but dog training standards have fallen so much since the 70s and 80’s. I see such nonsense now, it drives me crazy.

      • T.J. June 9, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

        Your dog off leash creates a hazard to others. Period. You see, no matter how trained he is, some ignorant dog owner does not notice nor do they care. They see an off leash and take it as a cue to follow your lead. This makes you as irresponsible as they are. When your behavior encourages others to behave poorly or irresponsible, yet you as a supposed responsible pet owner continue to exhibit said behavior, you’re being irresponsible and you should know better. Their ignorance is by not knowing better. Yours is worse as it’s by choice.

    • slw July 16, 2014 at 1:43 am #

      Jennifer, You’re response is “anarchy”. You choose which laws to obey? Leash law is not one of them. Then why should I* not be able to steal your wallet? I choose not to follow that law.

    • Chelsea April 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      I LOVED this article!!! More people need to teach their dogs how to act!!!

  3. Colin July 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I agree with everything people are saying about controlling your dog in public and on leash. My dog is a “friendly” dog but I keep him clear of people and dogs on walks, except for children, he refuses to walk on untill he can say hello to children. My question is, at the dog park he can get pushy and upset (lots of play posing and barking) when he meets a dog that wants nothing to do with him.

    I get that you and your dog have the right to space in public, but it seems to me the dog park is there for dogs to socialize.

    • Jennifer August 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      Dog parks are some of the worst places on the face of the planet. Too many people take their dogs there who shouldn’t, for a variety of reasons, whether it be lack of socialization as a puppy, aggression (over anything), or just a lack of training on the owner’s part.

      Dog parks are large, open areas with fences where people can take their dog off-leash and let them stretch their legs and run. Sometimes, with a good mix of dogs, you can get a little socialization as a bonus, but most of the time the other dogs at the dog park are negatively affecting your dog’s behavior, not positively affecting it. IE, they’re teaching your dog bad things, not good things. If a dog ignores your dog at the dog park, and your dog barks at him and harasses him, YOU need to step in and correct your dog. Because eventually your dog is going to meet another dog who is going to over-correct that behavior, and you will have no-one but yourself to blame.

      • gwenwivar August 1, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        It is obvious that the dog parks you have seen are bad and that is unfortunate. In my area there is a dog park every five miles and size seperation to stop size aggression becoming a problem. There are also rules set up that if your dog acts aggressive then that dog must leave. If the owner does not take their dog away the pound is called and they remove the dog from the park and owner. So, we all are careful about how our dogs act at the park. The fines for not following the rules are really stiff. I like it because it keeps the riffraff out of the parks.

      • debdrunner April 4, 2014 at 2:18 am #

        well said!

    • Antoinette August 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      Colin, we take Wombat to the dog park periodically. The people at the park we go to are really nice. They are generally suburban housewives with their pretty Goldens, or happy Labs, or bouncy Boxers. My ACD is a weird and foreign dog to them. Her behavior is weird, her shape is weird, her color is weird. People fear things they don’t know or understand. I try to explain why she behaves the way she does, but if they don’t understand and get upset, then Wombat and I leave. I don’t want people to fear that she will hurt their pet (she won’t). The park is a place to play and have a good time. It is not the place to provide lessons to the under-educated.
      The scariest thing to ever see is two ACDs playing. It is loud, and snarly with flashing teeth and full body tackles. It’s kind of like the WWE in your living room. ACD’s are tolerant of rough play. They’re not tolerant of careless play, and it is hard to make other owners see that. I would just rather remove my dog from the environment than involve her in a potentially escalating situation.
      I agree with you that the park is there for dogs to socialize, and each breed has a different way of doing that. It is our job as dog owners to assess those situations and include our best friends, or decide that maybe the park would be better on a different day. Seems simple enough to me. 🙂

      • michele January 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

        Yes ACD’s are intense players! And also protective. We had a run in w a neighbors dog who they let out without even a collar on. He is a big stupid lab and ran up on us. Of course a protectice cattle dog is going to have a problem w that. I had to use our leash w a slip knot to drag their dog back to their house and I was greeted w indifference. I now can’t walk my LEASHED dog in my own neighborhood. It doesn’t matter how friendly a dog is. No one should be harassed. We live a fairly country area where the leash laws are enforced by a call to animal control so by the time they get there it’s way over. Irresponsible dog owners suck.

    • nuviyamals November 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      It sounds to me like your dog has been allowed to set some of the rules instead of being made to follow them. Refusing to move on until he can say hello to children and getting pushy at the dog park are both unacceptable behaviors.

      The dog park is there for dogs to socialize, but it should also be a positive place for dogs to learn social behavior. If your dog does not already have good doggy manners (which it sounds like yours doesn’t) then you need to work on his social behavior and properly leash and correct your dog at the park until he learns how to interact properly.

      If you are unsure of what that means, find a good trainer in your area and work with them. (That does not mean the classes at Petsmart or Petco unless you find one that is the exception.)

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 12:32 am #

      Your dog should not be pushy, it is very disrespectful.. This tells me he does not have dog manners. I suggest enrolling in dog training (manner class). Dog parks are suppose to be a place for mannerly dogs to play with other mannerly dogs not unmannerly. Dogs that are are mannered will avoid your dog as if he has the plague. Please work with your dog with approaching children. It is apparent your dog does not respect you “he refuse” he should always look to you for guidance and leadership. Best of luck in training.

  4. Melissa July 31, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    SERIOUSLY EFFING NAILED IT!!!! ‘NUFF SAID. Hahahah! Love this post!

  5. cheryl July 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I carry an aluminum hiking stick and an air horn. I’ve used both and they work wonderfully on charging dogs. Basically I tell the owner to get their dog, not my problem I used my deterrent on them and just keep walking. Aggressive little dogs abound in my neighborhood. When I suggest training the response is, I pick him up or he’s only a little dog. Really people?

    • cheryl July 31, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

      FYI, deterrents are for walking and hiking. If you need that in a dog park, use your common sense and just leave.

    • Zoomiecorns August 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

      OMFG, I got that once from a woman at the dog park. Her little dog ran up to my lab/golden mix and just attacked her, completely unprovoked. I started out calm, but when she said, “She just does that.” and then laughed off my statement that dog aggressive dogs do not belong in dog parks (“Good thing she’s a small dog, I’ll bring her where I want!”), I lost my cool. I warned her that should her dog come near mine again, I would kick it with gusto to protect my own dog. Some effing people, man. I think I’ll invest in an aluminum pole and airhorn for next time this happens.

      • Zoomiecorns August 1, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

        Just saw your follow up about how that’s for hiking. The dog park this happened at for me is in a state park and known for hiking, and it was also the first (and so far only) time my dog had been attacked there.

      • Justinekay Merrill October 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

        check craigslist for the ads “you need to contact me, your dog DID DO DAMAGE TO MINE AT THE DOG PARK AND YOU NEED TO PAY THE VET BILLS”

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 12:41 am #

      The Sheriff told me to carry pepper spray and spray the dog if the dog charge at me and my dog. I keep the spray on my wrist. So far I only took it out once but did not have to use it. The owners got their dog, I told them their dog was going to be sprayed. They apologized and now the owners put an electric fence up so he can’t charge when people walk, run or bike.

      • Cheryl October 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

        Happy that worked out for you. I prefer to carry a walking stick since there is no chance of accidentally spraying my own dog or myself. Owners who have their dogs running free generally are not so kind or embarrassed by their dog’s bad behavior.

  6. Kate P July 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I must live in an extremely civilised town…I have a dog-aggressive dog which I find quite stressful taking out for exercise and almost without exception the other dog walkers I meet, either in the park or in the countryside will immediately leash their off-leash dogs when they observe that my dog is on a leash (and therefore potentially not wanting to be approached). It is always me who feels like some kind of major ass-hat for the horrid way my dog behaves as we pass by…:(

    • chrissie July 31, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

      my dog is the same she is great with children, my friends dogs people that she knows but when she sees other dogs she barks and creates a scene and makes me look like i cant keep her under control ! it is awkward and i know how you feel i just dont know how to nip her behviour in the bud 😦

      • Stephanie Sorensen August 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

        You can either sign your dog up for a reactive dog class (depending on availability), or you can attempt to resolve the problem yourself by desensitizing your dog to being in view of other dogs. Start by making your dog sit as soon as you see another person with a dog. Have treats with you (and a clicker, if you clicker train). Then, every time your dog so much as glances at the other dog, immediately praise with a high-pitched “Good boy!” or a click of the clicker, and treat. At first, you want to make sure your dog is well enough out of the way so that the person and other dog do not walk right by. You want to maintain distance at first and slowly over time, you can work your dog up to being closer.

        This usually works better in a controlled situation. A dog park works well (bear with me, as I know this sounds crazy), because you and your dog can stay outside of the fence, but if your dog is reactive to the dogs inside the fence, you can control your distance, clicking and treating every time your dog glances at another dog.

        Your ultimate goal is to get your dog to associate other dogs with positive things. You want him to be sitting and looking at you for a treat instead of acting like an ass on the end of his leash! I hope this helps. 🙂

      • madimd October 17, 2015 at 12:42 am #


    • Heather August 2, 2013 at 5:49 am #

      Don’t take it personally. My friend and I would make it a habit to leash our dogs if others were off leash. She couldn’t control hers off leash, but mine would stay in a sit stay at my feet until the people and dog passed us. She would never run back to see a dog. She continues forward with the rest of us. In other words, leashing your dog when you see someone with their dog leashed, they probably understand that maybe your dog is not great off leash, and theirs aren’t either, so they leash them. You pass, and probably eventually they unleash them. What is good about you is that you understand that you have a dog with issues that needs to be leashed. Thank you!

    • KaD September 27, 2013 at 1:40 am #

      You haven’t thought about working with a canine behaviorist/professional to fix your dogs potentially dangerous behavior?

  7. Nicole July 31, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    I think I am almost scarily in love with this blog. Seriously. I just lost my 15 year old ACD mix, and like you spent years battling asshats that thought it was cute for their ill-behaved little bastards to rush her… ya know.. the dog will only tolerate so much, and it’s usually 2 steps longer than I tolerated. I let her snark one when she was about 10, got called a horrible owner and then I proceeded to tell them that they were the jerks, not my dog. Then… there is Tonka.. Tonka, almost 5 year old BC that redefines the word dog aggressive (he’s sneaky, not a chickenshit, but sneaky quick). We were in a store, minding our business, when an older gentleman walked in with his lab. She was quiet, non-bouncy… but he was allowing her all of the 20 foot fecking lead that she was on to roam around the store. My dog and I are checking out the treats as this dog comes about 2 foot from Tonka…. I literally, grabbed his face as this dog stepped into his bubble (because I could see the shit storm that was about to unleash hell) and slammed myself between the nosy lab and my ever vigilant protector of the couch…. I voiced very loudly that perhaps he should take in his leash so his dog didn’t lose her face…. I got a dirty look, the store employee asked me if I needed a muzzle, to which I replied for me? Or the dog? Dear people… my dog is pretty damn well behaved, has upper level agility titles and has his CGC… but he will not be pressed into a strange dog invading his bubble…

    • gwenwivar July 31, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      One of the rules AKC CGC dog owners follow is to NEVER allow your dog to invade other dogs space while on leash. Many seem to not understand that when a dog is on leash they relent control to their owner and count on them to maintain that bubble. When someone else approaches with their dog not under control it puts the under control dog on the defense. My dog is very dog friendly, regardless of the dog size, but will maintain his bubble if a dog approaches that is not under control.

      One of the key things to think on is the stance a dog not being controlled has. More often than not the dog has a head forward stretched to full length and/or chest out. These stances are considered to be aggressive in a dogs mind. That is why even the best dog will cower or snap at a dog not in control of the owner. This is also why the retractable leash should never be used. When a dog pulls against the lead being yanked in the head goes forward and/or chest goes out making the stance an aggressive stance.

      I agree with you. People should learn the reason and uses of leashes before bringing their dog outside their home.

      • nuviyamals November 4, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

        AMEN…. retractable leashes are for public area potty breaks only IMHO.

  8. kiniska July 31, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Beautifully stated! And let me stress how important it is to teach our human pups manners as well. Rude children might get bit by any breed.

  9. Catherine Duke July 31, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    I own one of those buffoon dogs with no manners when he greets other dogs…he’s also an unstoppable humper if I let the cycle begin.

    It’s really *Quite* easy for me to manage him and keep him out of other dog’s faces when we’re out and about. In fact, all it takes is a four foot lead and the barest effort to pay attention to where we’re going. I don’t understand why this is so hard for some people.

    • TheDogSnobs July 31, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Responsibility is hard. 😛

    • Anna August 1, 2013 at 3:14 am #


      I think I love you.

    • Antoinette August 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Thank you for loving your goofy, happy dog and understanding him for what he is! 🙂

    • Jen January 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Thank you ~from my scaredy cat dog Cisco who would be afraid of your friendly pup!

    • carriewehmeyer July 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

      Good for you!

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 12:56 am #

      He will be rejected by well mannered dogs. Please enroll in dog manners class.

  10. tjkinkead July 31, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    We have an 18 lb triple coated black & white parti Pom that we take a lot of places with us. When we are somewhere crowded or indoors (like our local indoor flea market) she rides in her stroller. Yes, my dog has a stroller. You would not believe the nasty comments I have gotten. Have been asked if she has legs. If she is a cripple. I have been told that she would not be so fat if she walked. She rides only in situations where walking her is ill advised. She is very well behaved and does not confront or react to other dogs. But her one downfall is other dogs trying to climb on her stroller. She really sees that as an invasion of her personal space.
    I just really wish people would get over acting like her being in her stroller is some freakish thing.
    BUT, people are so impressed when she can sit in a chair at a car show for hours without giving us any problems. She is harnessed and leashed whenever she leaves home, but in her stroller or lawn chair is mostly unnecessary.

  11. C-line August 1, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    Put a yellow ribbon on your leash and their collar. That means your dog needs space.

    • Creeky August 1, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      This is actually being rethought in Vic,Aus as new Dangerous dog laws are now targetting owners more and more…..

      All it takes here is a “concerned” citizen to dob you in and you could end up with a minimum $200 buck fine for charging… 3x Charging fines later and your dog is now listed as Dangerous…. One more step to your dog being euthanised and you possibly landing in jail or a banning of never owning another dog again…

      By putting notifications/labels/ribbons on your dog you are admitting liability for ANYTHING that goes wrong in an interaction with other humans and dogs…..

      • gwenwivar August 1, 2013 at 7:30 am #

        In the US it is considered polite to warn by ribbon and not an admittance of aggression. I am glad our laws are not as strict as Aussie’s.

    • dorannadurgin August 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Yellow ribbons? Never. My dogs deserve their space by default, and so do I. I won’t label them in an attempt to get others to live up to their basic responsibilities. It’s one step too close to bearing the consequences of other people’s failures.

      • Leigh June 5, 2014 at 7:16 am #

        A-FREAKING-MEN. Dorannadurgin!!! 1000 times yes! People should keep their dogs to themselves. They should NOT rely on me to signal to them (via ribbon) to understand this basic courtesy. I live in NYC and my lovely mix breed dog is daily assaulted. She needs no ribbon, and I shouldn’t need to constantly tell people to ask first before allowing their dog to approach. Almost makes me wish she were dog-aggro…almost…. It defies all logic. .

      • terrierdog June 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

        Where in the US is it considered polite to warn by ribbon? A leash is the best hing you can do for your dog… My dogs are both protective and assertive… So take your “yellow” ribbon and stay off the street.

      • nuviyamals November 4, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

        In my understanding the Yellow ribbon thing is for dogs who need space over and above the usual personal space “bubble”.

        It is especially helpful for dogs who are recovering from surgery, neglect, abuse or working on other anxiety issues. Also it is meant for those who are out training or working. (Or, training to work. 😉

        That being said:
        1. Not all dog owners are well informed and I would say at least 50% of them (probably much more) have no idea what the Yellow Ribbon means on a dog.
        2. It is the responsibility of the owner with the Yellow Ribbon dog to ensure their dog has the needed distance. If you’re walking down the sidewalk with your Yellow Ribbon dog and another dog walker approaches…. YOU should be the one to move.

        It is NOT meant to tell people your dog needs normal personal space. People should respect that already and allow for proper introductions and get permission to approach into that space and accept it if need to politely decline.

        I would even include well behaved, but not dog-friendly dogs who are well controlled by their owners in this group of dogs that only need normal personal space.

  12. Debbie Straw August 1, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Look up the Yellow Dog project. You tie a yellow ribbon on your dogs leash or you can buy bandanas and vests from them that say “I need space”. Our rescue greyhounds don’t like any dogs other than greyhounds as they’ve spent their whole racing life with just other greyhounds.We have yellow ribbons and have downloaded the posters which I put on all the “poop” bins where I walk. Usually when we see dogs off lead heading our way we stop and shorten their leashes to keep them right by us. Most people realise and put their dogs on their leads until we’ve gone but you get some idiots that don’t respond so we have to shout over to them to get their leads on. I hand out the leaflet size versions as well. The more people that know, the better the walks will be.

    • Heather August 2, 2013 at 5:59 am #

      I have a service dog. People see the vests but never seem to read them. “Do Not Distract” is in big letters, but apparently they are visible only to a few of us. It is a good idea though.

      • gwenwivar August 2, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

        Unfortunately people see service dog and think “friendly dog” then go and pet the dog or distract the dog. They don’t understand that these dogs can break their training by people acting irresponsibly around them by distracting them from their work. My niece’s seeing eye dog had to go back to training for a few months because her teacher did not stop the children in her class from messing with the poor thing. My niece had such a hard time getting around without Trent. It is best to keep yourselves and your dogs away from working dogs. Often these dogs are detrimental to the life of the owner.

    • SamIAm0874 August 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

      I have a retired racing greyhound. They LOVE other dogs. I have NOT met one who didn’t! I have met hundreds of others. They can misunderstand the white, jumpy, fluffy, barky little dogs for prey, but they’re not jerks or snobs.

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 1:11 am #

      We will see dogs with yellow ribbons and we will move away and sit until the dog walks by. If more people and their dogs would be well behaved the greater the rehab for the yellow ribbon dogs. My dog is used to help rescue greyhounds to build up their confidence. I support yellow dog project.

  13. Deb August 1, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    My dogs have also been on the receiving end of those little annoying butt head dogs who rush up to them jump in their faces and bark and carry one like insane things. I have a Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Mix and a Lab / Shep Mix they are a pack and as such will protect each other. So when little Suzy’s dog comes up on one of them and is non stop annoying say at the dog beach and I am like hey can you get your dog away from mine and am trying to block the little B…and you as the owner sit on your butt and do nothing then complain that my dogs are aggressive for getting snarly at yours..Really control your dog (s) like I do which is to keep them under watchful control when out and about….It is so annoying esp since Terriers and Pits have a bad rap anyway and my dogs on their own without your dog in their face are quite content to mind their own business and space. Just because your are a lazy what ever and cant bring yourself to get up to tend to your dog dont blame mine when things get a bit nasty…

    • Lolly October 3, 2013 at 5:11 am #

      Sounds like you’re not controlling your dogs either. You expect that everyone should bring their dogs to heel while yours go aggro-pack on others without bringing yours to heel? Try “Leave it!” as a thing you could teach your dogs if they like to attack little dogs saying hello, don’t expect someone to go charging into your pit bull pack to rescue little Suzy. I personally would wade into it with a stun baton, and use it on you too if you thought that letting a bully pack go after a solo little dog was all kosher and cool and not your problem even though it’s YOUR pack.

      • madimd October 17, 2015 at 1:26 am #

        It sounds like the Pit was not bothering Suzy’s dog but Suzy’s dog was molesting the Pit. Yes, I said molest. It is rude for any dog, big or small to invade another dog’s space unless has permission from the dog. Yes, dogs communicate with one another but some dogs are rude, pushy and ill mannered due to the human owner. Lolly, do you allow your dog to molest others? Next time your dog invade another dogs space, asked yourself, would you let Charles Manson tongue you in the mouth?

    • michele January 27, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

      We live near the beach and it happens a lot. A dog comes running down the beach and you yell at them to control their dog from a half mile away and point out the leash laws YOU are the bad guy. Our dogs are leashed even when we play ball on a deserted beach. Just in case. People don’t take responsibility for anything anymore

  14. Chelynnah August 2, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    We had one of those over the top friendly dogs (she was friendly, but we also admit she was being rude!), and it was so embarrassing. We worked so hard with her, but sometimes she just caught us off guard. And she had such a need for approval she just honestly didn’t ‘get’ the ‘back off’ signals – in fact they made her try harder to please her new ‘friend’. Eventually we found a toy that had such high value to her it could call her off anything including a rabbit (she was a sighthound so this is a big deal). We never had this issue with our other dogs – they prefer to be aloof and don’t like to be on the receiving end of dogs as effusive as our first (unless they know them). So I completely understand both sides.

    If the owner of the offending dog is honestly apologetic and obviously trying to work hard I do give them leeway. Been there, done that. If the owner is the type to blame my dogs, or completely ignorant (in both senses of the word) they get no leeway at all and get told what I think very loudly.

    On the ‘polite’ front, if my dog/dogs are offlead and we see dogs coming toward us onlead we gather ours up and either hold them, or put them on lead. We don’t know if those dogs are on lead for a reason such as nerves, not friendly etc. And to be honest it doens’t matter. THEY are on lead, therefore they are NOT to be bothered. And even if I’m walking with the dog who likes to play, if she is on lead I expect the same courtesy as the people coming toward my leashed dog has no idea why she is leashed.

    I’m not against dogs playing together,and if we meet up and control a greeting and they want to play I’m happy for that. But it’s all about being in control.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with the poster above about off-lead dogs near roads. They drive me crazy. I’ve seen a dog run over before. I do not wish to be the person running over someone else’s dog. YOU may know that your dog won’t all of a sudden see something and bolt, but *I* don’t. And for every owner who I’ve heard had the perfectly controlled dog I’ve also heard the same number of stories about the ONE time they didn’t listen and were killed by a car. I don’t want to be that driver of that car.

    Great blog – I’ve added you to my blog list.

    • Beth October 22, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      I too have one of those over the top friendly dogs, who on lead appears aggressive as I work to redirect and regain focus. She’s a rescue who had no training or boundaries, or rules, or much of anything for the first year of her life. In the year we’ve had her, she’s come a long way and still has a long way to go. She does much better with greetings off lead versus on lead but that doesn’t mean I will allow her off lead in situations where other dogs may appear because rather than wait for permission to greet (as my other two BC’s do) she will charge any person or dog she sees in excitement to visit. Off lead is for appropriate locations, we use a local dog park (where you get a private large fenced area), or the local school’s fenced fields for running/training.

      But really the next worst thing to off lead when they should be on lead is those flexible leads! When I keep my dog under control and take her up a driveway 10 feet from the side walk and put her in a sit stay so you can pass unaccosted, DO NOT let your dog on a flexible lead come visit without asking me first. That one incident set us back 6 months of training and it happens way too often.

      • Kez June 24, 2015 at 5:04 am #

        with you 100%. I have the same issue with my little girl she was attacked by another dog and her previous owners couldn’t afford to have it fixed so they had to actually amputate her leg at vet then give her up, she is somehow though not aggressive toward other dogs but is soooo over anxious (probably a combo of scared and passive aggressive?) that she not only goes nuts when she’s on leash but sometimes even messes herself if she too overstimulated. Off leash she has more interest in people than other dogs and is still a bit over friendly but much easier to keep under control. I’ve recently had someone new in my neighbourhood who just does’t get it when I ask for space (maybe 3 times now) they think we can be puppy friends and I keep saying no that when we’re on leash were training and working on behaviour so I know what you mean one slip up can take you back 6 months we were doing very well until this new puppy moved into the neighbourhood. do you have any tricks you’ve found that work better than others? I try to walk the other way get her to pay attention to me instead of the other dog with treats and getting her to look me in the eye and so forth but i feel like we’ve just gone from doing really well back to 0…. feeling very frustrated…

      • madimd October 17, 2015 at 1:34 am #

        I think flex lead should be banned. They have caused more dog fights than a regular lead. It is also against the law in my state to have a dog in public space with a lead over 6 ft. but ppl do it all the time. I commend you for rescuing instead of buying, hats off to you! Thank you for being a responsible dog owner and not giving up on training .

  15. Susan August 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Interesting subject. I live near a open space area where you can hike and walk your dog on or off leash. I have been asked several times why my dog is on leash. My answer: Although many acres, it is not fenced and is bordered by streets, my dog has a good return but I’m not 100% confident that with the many distractions that he would obey, I don’t know all these other dogs running around, and he doesn’t like strange people running up to him and sticking out their hands at him. We are reinforcing his training to walk nicely on leash and ignore distractions (I carry treats and he gets lots of praise). I control all of this by keeping him on leash and we keep moving, and yes he has his CGC. He will stop and let dogs approach him (I’m doing a quick evaluation before they get close) and then we are off again. We also chose the less popular trails when possible. Both of us need the exercise and walking here is safer then walking on the streets. We are also in training to start obedience.

    What bugs me is that the majority of the people with off leash dogs are talking together and not paying attention to their dogs and let the dogs out of their sight. I can’t tell you how many times we are coming around a curve and there are 1 or 2 dogs running toward us with no owner in sight. Thirty seconds to a minute later, they come around the curve. The majority also readily admit their dogs don’t recall well. And then there are those that grab their dog when they see mine and as we pass by their dog is growling and sometimes lunging). Um, maybe that dog should be on a leash.

    What are they thinking?!

  16. Paula Lexington August 6, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    I’m going to print this and hand out copies every time I take my poor old harassed dog for a hike from now on.

  17. SamIAm0874 August 9, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

    I am amazed at some of the behavoral issues that people make excuses for. “I just pick my dog up to avoid a situation”. Do you realize that you are feeding into the issue by giving affection at the worst time? I understand in the case of a charging dog, you have to control the situation, but giving affection when your dog is reacting, creates a greater reaction.

    When it comes to greeting other dogs, I pick and chose who my dogs interract with. I don’t let them greet every dog or ever person, or even every child. I don’t want to talk to every person I meet, why should I force my dog to?

    In regards to the “off leash” discussions: it takes ONCE for your dog to just be a dog. Dogs are not robots, they can never ever be trained 100%. You are lucky if you get 98% obedience out of heavily correction trained obedience dogs. That means 2 out of 100 times, your dog is going to do what ever it wants. Most other dogs who have only been through obedience instruction, are looking at 95% compliance at best. Are you willing to cope with the grief and loss when your dog gets hit by a car or killed by another animal? That’s a lot of guilt for one person to handle. Fact is that most humans have the “not mine” syndrome. “Not my dog”, “not my child”. RIIIIIIIIIGHHHHHHHHT! Reality speaks volumes. Realistically speaking, YES your dog, YES your child. No one is perfect and no animal on the planet is going to be 100% happy 100% of the time. It takes ONCE for you to be responsible for the death of your pet or someone elses. Keep that in mind.

    • KaD September 27, 2013 at 1:23 am #

      On the basis of cases which he handled or was involved in, Mr. Phillips is of the opinion that one of the things that makes any dog dangerous to people is its propensity to attack other dogs. The reason is that the owner of the other dog is often nearby, either trying to pull the dog away, holding the dog, or breaking up the fight. Dogs that are dog aggressive often RE-direct their aggression when people try to separate them.

      Keep in mind that average settlement in a dog bite case is over $26,000. A simple lunge and facial tear is a six figure injury. The average settlement in a pit bull mauling is over $500,000. The settlement in a dog bite case is most times NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy either.

      • iamsam0874 September 27, 2013 at 1:45 am #

        That is not what I am referring to. I was referring to people who would rather avoid a situation than to seek the help of a professional to properly address thw issue.

      • cheryl September 27, 2013 at 11:03 am #

        Now this is the one statement that will make people more responsible for their dog. It’s a bit sad, but true.

      • madimd October 17, 2015 at 4:29 am #

        Being a runner and cyclist, I was constantly being molested by unleashed dogs .I have been chased, barked and bitten by mini -pinchers, aussies, maltese, poodles, golden, labs, boxers, beagles, poms, vizsla, etc. I now carry mace. I run almost everyday in my neighborhood around this cul de sac. I see a pit bull who is out in the yard unleashed with her owner ( no electric fence). The pit bull just sits on the grass or lays in her pool watching me run by. Not once has this dog barked, lunged, chase or bit me, she is not fazed by me. I had to stop and tell the owner that this was the best trained dog I have ever seen. If all dogs were like this pit bull people would not have issues with dogs. KD- I have had to get stitches but I never received $26,000.00.

  18. Kerry Stack August 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Excellent article that had me nodding my head and laughing in agreement. Yes, it’s rudely stated. But the issue at heart is rudeness. Fire with fire.

  19. Leslie Royer Batchelder September 16, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    One of the biggest killers of our dogs is our trusting him not to act like a dog.

  20. Katie October 1, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    I would love to read your take on the folks who stop just short of yelling “Animal abuse” when you (appropriately) correct your own dog for annoying another dog. Pure positive trainers are the worst about that. Mine likes to sniff butts (obnoxious, I agree) and the dirty looks I get for correcting… a leash pop, collar grab, or even a verbal reprimand… amaze me.

    Somedays, it seems like there is no middle ground.

    • Justinekay Merrill October 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      don’t even get me started on 100% positive trainers, I get to fix their work with the spoiled dogs, 8- 18 months. you would be amazed at what their owners have been told..
      one of my new clients just packed her dog up, out of the nonsense, came home and called me for an appt.

    • michele January 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

      My dogs are trained w positive reinforcement and aren’t asshats. And a leash pop isn’t the definition of negative reinforcement. It’d a tool yo get attention. I hope you are confused w what is real negative reinforcement training. The way police dogs are trained is neg reinforcement. Screaming and physical punishment. Throwing them down on the ground for jumping and hitting for correction. Basically using fear. That’s why police and guard dogs are so aggressive and hiw pitbulls, dobermans, and shepards are trained for protection. Getting a dog’s attention w a leash jerk or firm command isn’t neg reinforcement when combined w praise and treats

      • casdog1 January 28, 2014 at 3:53 am #

        How many actual protection & police dogs do you know? Because they’re trained with TOYS & LOTS of praise & play. And they’re not “made aggressive” with harsh treatment. They’re BRED with that temperament & it isn’t aggression, it’s drive. They absolutely live to chase & bite bad guys.

      • Leigh June 5, 2014 at 6:56 am #

        Love this blog to death and agree whole heartedly with respecting leash laws, PERIOD. No exceptions. You’re not special, neither is your dog, and if you think you are, well, you’re the subject of this blog, friend. 🙂 And special mention to Dorannadurgin. Just, yes.

        Wanted to chime in on the incorrect training info being bandied about. 1) there’s no such thing as “positive reinforcement only” training regardless of what people call themselves. Impossible to use only one quadrant in learning. 2) training is a technical craft, and when speaking technically, whether a trainer’s action (such as a leash jerk) is punishment versus reinforcement is defined by the behavioral result over time (if the leash jerk decreases the target behavior (say, butt sniffing) then it was punishing; if it has no effect it may be aversive but is not punishment, and if it increases the behavior it is reinforcing. 3) Your pairing leash jerks with treats does not make leash jerks reinforcers. Leash jerks are intended to be and generally are unpleasant consequences, and I strongly suspect there are few if any dogs who are reinforced by leash jerks. 4) negative reinforcement is not “negative” meaning “bad” it’s negative as in subtraction. An example of negative reinforcement is the seat belt warning in your car. If you sit in the driver seat with the car on, that bell chimes loudly and aversively — when you snap the buckle of your seatbelt, the chime stops. The appropriate behavior removes (subtracts) the aversive chime (annoying but not a punisher by definition) from the situation, and the actor is reinforced for the appropriate behavior of buckling up. I think it’s important to understand something well before making criticism. Leash jerks are probably aversive, possibly a punisher, and may rise to the level of animal abuse in some severe instances. But generally speaking, a leash jerk is an imprecise tool used by embarrassed or aggravated people to send an aversive message to their dog that they are displeased, The wiser course would be to anticipate and control the dog’s unwanted behavior (management) and to train appropriate behaviors to a high degree of reliability, behaviors which then can be cued instead of the unwanted behavior. If you haven’t properly trained and proofed your dog’s behaviors, it isn’t fair to be administering aversives to your dog (such as pops). To yourself, maybe, for not training better, but not to your dog.

  21. BoBo October 20, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Dog owners that do not take the time or expense to train their canine slaves are fucking assholes PERIOD!

  22. C. Cousins November 26, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    I have 3 poodles and a Malinois. People are just stupid, and most of them have a terrier who would really like to start something with my girls. Even unleashed children want to start something with my dogs, which frankly only annoys me and the Malinois, although the Malinois is much more vocal about it. I have the same problem with dumbasses pushing their hands INSIDE the cages in the back of my car. So this kind of stupid is prevalent, universal, and immune to the poodle barking in the next kennel. Why do people what to pet a Malinois in cage? Its like trying to hug a tiger. But my only saving grace is how big of an asshole I am, being offensive to others just comes naturally.

    • C. Cousins November 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      I guess I should be more specific. I blame Older White Women walking terriers. Only once has a male jogger had a pit bull on a 30 foot lead, but at least he kept running.

    • nuviyamals November 4, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

      This is why I always leashed my children. 😉

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 1:55 am #

      Breedism , Racism, Xenophobia has no place in the world. I hope you are not one.

  23. Angela December 3, 2013 at 2:38 am #

    Jennifer, I feel like I have to point out that it is not up to you to decide if those with irrational dog fears are being “babied” You are not their therapist and you have no idea what experience or developmental issues that may be dealing with. I think dogs are the best thing on earth and I love it when a dog shows great off leash behavior, but people who disagree with me on that should be given the respect of any human. Obey the rules!

  24. cheryl December 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    So Dog Snobs, thought of this post intermediately at a Pet Expo in NJ. Why? There was a trainer there that only advertised off leash training, yikes! Now we know where some the assholes are being created……..

  25. andy January 27, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I just took a dog from a rescue centre. He is 8 and they told me he doesn’t like other dogs. He is a mongrel dog who looks like a small lurcher. I live on the cliffs by the sea so I took my boy to the beach this morning for an early walk, before most dog owners have got dressed! As we walked the cliff-top, we approached a ramp that leads up from the beach and an unhealthy looking (horribly overweight) bull terrier cross appeared at the top of the ramp. I could see no owner. I looked over the cliff edge and saw a very unhealty looking woman (also horribly overweight) with a second very fat dog, struggling to climb the path, at least 100 yds away from here own, unleashed fighting dog. Once her dog reached the top of the path, she couldn’t even see where it was or what situation it was walking into. Her dog turned out to be a massive ass-hat and, even though I tried to put myself between them, was determined to get in my (now scared) dog’s face. A little scuffle broke out and I had to throw myself into the fray to stop my dog being eaten by this bull terrier. The woman had now reached the top of the path and came and took her dog by the collar and pulled it away. I asserted that her dog should not be off the leash in such a public place and she replied “It’s not my fault your dog doesn’t like other dogs”.
    These fighting breeds (maybe all breeds) should be controlled and the owners registered. There are SO MANY people now who own a fighting dog, not because they want to take responsibility for another life or for companionship, but because it is a fashion accessory or for protection because they are scared to walk down the street alone. They don’t really care about their dog’s. It’s all about what the dog can do for them rather than what they can do for their dog. I strongly believe in some kind of revokable dog licence or owners register to help ensure that owners who do not care for their dog’s are not allowed the privelage in future. What do you think about this?

    • Kyle January 27, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

      Bullterrier is NOT a fighting breed.
      They are hunters.
      Nevertheless, they have to be leashed.

      • andy January 27, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

        There are several breeds of bull terrier. A staffie is a hunting dog, yes, a pit bull terrier is a fighting dog. Fighting breeds are banned in UK so people just cross with staffie. These dogs ARE fighting dogs because that is how the owners train them. I do not know anyone who owns a staffie who actually takes it hunting! I do however know loads of staffie crosses that are trained to be aggressive and taught how to fight by their owners.

      • Kyle January 27, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

        Bullterrier is a hunting breed, so is Staffordshire Bullterrier.
        Pit Bulls were bred for fighting, and they are a breed group. They are still not recognized by an FCI. Unlike American Staffordshire Terrier, which is essentially a pit bull with the standard, but they have very strict selection by temperament, where dog aggression is eliminated.
        Bullterrier has nothing to do with the pit bull.

      • andy January 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

        Okay, you clearly know a lot more about this stuff than I do. I would like to point out that I never used the word, Bullterrier. I wrote bull terrier. This was innacurate as I really meant, …. bull terrier (fill the dots), but even that would have been wrong. There are a prolification of …. bull terrier crosses that are bred and trained for personal protection and “look at how tough a guy I am with my dangerous dog who is only scared of me and will kill you if I tell him to” purposes. Strictly speaking, these are not fighting dogs, they are cross-breeds. I apologise for any confusion caused, I forgot that this is the internet and someone will always pick up on any small mistake/omission, even though it has no relevance whatsoever to the question being asked or the point being made.
        As far as breed temperament is concerned, outside of the show ring and in the real world., any breed can be made agressive and taught to fight by humans. In the real world, many people have

      • Kyle January 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

        Absolutely agree.

      • michele January 27, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

        The American view on pitbulls are ridiculous. No pit owner will admit what they have; a potentially dangerous dog. They claim they don’t have ingrained fighting traits which is bunk. If my cattle dog knew how to herd as a puppy and my foxhound can track then a pitbulls haven’t just lost the traits they were bred for. We have an extreme over breeding problem here and a denial problem.

    • Patti Goettler January 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      She is a twit and we are not allowed to fix that….

    • andy January 28, 2014 at 11:57 am #

      I appreciate all the comments on my post. I am new to dog handling (i don’t feel comfortable calling myself his “owner”) as an adult, after having had a very well trained and well behaved dog in the family as a child. (incidently, we lost this dog when she was off leash as she 1 time, mis-understood 1 command and got run down and killed in front of us.).
      I really would like to know peoples opinions about licencing or establishment of a register of keepers, making it much easier to ban/sudpend bad handlers/violent criminals/drug dealers etc’ from keeping dogs.

      • andy January 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

        correction – ban/suspend*

      • aspiecatholicgirl May 3, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

        btw, sorry if my comment seemed snarky. SInce my own dog is a pit bull type, I can be a little defensive sometimes.

        It is true that the pit bull types are among the breeds that tend to be likely to get in fights with other dogs. I also find that some other breeds, the collie or shepherdish types mainly, tend to show aggression to other dogs, or at least my dog. I am very cautious when it comes to other dogs, and keep my dog under control on a leash.

    • aspiecatholicgirl May 3, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

      A dog should only be called a “fighting dog” if that dog is actually used for fighting. Please don’t carelessly throw around terms like that.

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 2:09 am #

      Breedism is immoral. Owning a dog is a privilege not a right. Every dog owner should have to pass a test before owning a dog ie drivers license. Kuchi and Central Asian Shepherd dogs are fighting breeds they are here via wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      • casdog1 October 29, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

        NO they are not. They are livestock guardian dogs. Just because some idiots have decided to fight their own dogs does not mean the entire population has become a fighting breed.

  26. Bonnie Gibbons February 1, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Try having a pack of Shiba Inu – they believe their personal bubble is about three times their own size and woe the dog who sniffs them without their consent. I love ’em, but they are the original assholes.

  27. Clarjo February 3, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    I have a Tigger on Crack (though hopefully not an asshat, as he is nearly five)… I love my lab mix more than anything, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t allow him to approach other dogs on leash. I know he wouldn’t harm anyone (and isn’t quite as annoying as the dogs in the article), but his energy levels can drive other dogs insane.
    I also want to punch strangers who think it is ok to come up and hug my dog. Yes, he wiggles and is adorable, but I don’t want you all over him!

  28. BoBo February 21, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Dogs are pack animals and by nature need to be trained. That said we have a sociopath Pit Bull owner in our neighborhood who has never once put this animal on a leash. He got himself a good ass beating when another neighbor was driving down the street slowly and his dog is in the middle of the street’ He yells at the driver to “slow down”. (Big mistake probably doing 15 in a 25) driver pulls over and tells the dog owner to put his dog on a leash, tuff guy dog owner says “F” you at which point the driver turns and Dog owner attempts to sucker punch him. He sees it coming and BAM! lays big mouth out cold in the middle of the street, blood pouring out of his nose. We see it all and applauded. Now “Killer” is on a leash. There is a God!

  29. Jacklyn March 12, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    Thank you for saying I’m not a bitch just because I don’t want your dog around mine. My dog is very good with “friendly” dogs but it doesn’t mean she should be subjected to it. Now that she is older her patience is a little thinner and I don’t want risk her getting injured, so I will block other dogs from her. I have, when needed, told other people “my dog’s aggressive and will bite yours,” which I know she isn’t and won’t, but some people just can’t take a hint. And the looks I get after that or the things people say are horrible. I’m looking out for the safety and well being of my dog, its called being responsible not being a bitch.

  30. debdrunner April 4, 2014 at 1:52 am #

    That happened to me today. Took my dog to the dog park and before we even got in there was a dog barking at my dog. Could not even get in the gate. I was thinking the owner of the dog would come over and stop there dog so I could open the gate and come in. She just sat there talking with some other women. I opened the gate and the dog proceeded to bark in my dogs face. My dog walked to the other side of the park trying to get away from him. This dog followed my dog and when my dog started doing his business this freakin dog got up in his face again and started barking again! My dog finally gave him a growl to let him know that’s enough buddy. I figured I would leave because the owner was not doing anything. When I was about to leave the gate I asked the owner what kind of Dog she had and she told me it was a rescue Dog a terrier,beagle mix. I told her I adopted my dog as well and there were things you can do to train them. This other woman that she was talking to came up to me and said There is NOTHING wrong with her dog.I said well actually there is something wrong and the dog shouldn’t be allowed to bark in another dogs face like that. She said well everything was fine before you got here. Well after that I said some things that I really don’t want to repeat . Let’s just say it was not kind words. I just don’t get it. Why are there such assholes in this world?

  31. Mikey April 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

    My God man, what would you people do just 30 years ago when neighborhood dogs would freely roam? It’s truly a wonder that myself, my playmates and our family dogs ever survived those times in tact…at least according to some of the fear-mongering here masquerading as responsibility.

    I see a classic case of projection here. The person who carries an airhorn to scare away other dogs on a hiking trail while always keeping her Weimer on leash. The person who keeps their dog on leash at all times including at a deserted beach. Just because YOUR dog can’t handle off leash (due to lack of training or breed characteristics) doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t enjoy off leash responsibly.

  32. mia May 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

    LEASH YOUR DOG. PERIOD. It’s people that think this law is for everyone else, but not them, that are the problem! If your dog is ‘off leash trained’ then you can take him to an approved off leash space. He STILL has to be on leash anywhere else. Fool.

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 2:28 am #

      Not all places have per se leash laws many have ” at- large” “roaming” laws- which means having physical ,verbal or hand commands of dog.
      If leash law is the law in your area this also includes cats too.

  33. eadard00dlesandcheese June 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    First, I’d like to say that I really enjoyed your post about “Your dog isn’t being friendly”. I’ve experienced the aggravation of nonchalant owners letting their dogs do whatever they want to, driving me and mine out of public places and back home.
    I have four dogs, the smallest is a scarily submissive mixed breed who is 38 pounds full grown and came to us tiny, starving, and infested with a wide array of bugs inside and out. At home she is audacious with the other dogs and doesn’t take shit from anyone, but as soon as she steps out the front door she shrinks into herself and tries to convince you to take her back inside. We take her places (along with one of the other dogs), with the hope that she will make enough positive associations with the outside world that she can relax and enjoy hiking and parks and going to get dinner or an ice cream cone with us. When she was about 7 months, we took her to the dog park at a time we knew attendance would be low so she and our Vizsla could run like fools without being hassled. There was a woman there with a terribly overweight chocolate lab who was a humper. By employing the use of a ball and my sad pitching arm, we were able to keep my two entertained at a far corner of the park away from Mr. Humpy. My Vizsla never corrects other dogs for inappropriate behavior except when they try to mount him. He takes great offense to it. As we were leaving the park, Mr. Humpy and his owner finished up his shower by the gate and ended up walking out with us. It’s one of those double lock things, you go through one gate, close it and then go through the other. My guy held the first gate open for me to pass through with our little pound puppy and the woman with the fat lab slipped into the gate trap behind me. In seconds, her big bear had mounted my little girl who was maybe 30 pounds at the time. His whole 130 pounds focused on her back hips with her head forced into the gate corner. I knew she was too submissive with strangers to even warn the other dog off, so I pulled the lab back by the collar and put myself between him and mine. As her dog tried to push through my legs to get to my dog again, the owner just laughed and said, “O he must really like her. Relax, it’s just a dog thing.”
    There are few times in my life I have ever been so angry that I wanted to commit violence on another person – that incident was one of those times.

    Also, to the commenters who took off on the leash-no leash debate. We love our dogs, but they are animals. Worse than that they are animals who have been confused by human rules imposed on them against their own instincts. Never succumb to the delusion that you have ultimate control over your dog. The leash keeps everybody at a safe and manageable distance (at least that is its purpose). Use it.

    Finally, I don’t care how biodegradable it is, pick up your dogs’ poop! I can’t tell you how many places in my area won’t even allow dogs on the nearby sidewalk because dog owners refuse to be responsible for the poop. The people who think the rules don’t apply to them are ruining it for those of us who enjoy gadding about with our dogs (and accept the rules).

  34. Rebecca Kain July 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    Sounds like that stick has well and truly been engulfed by your asshole, doesn’t sound like it’s coming out anytime soon, I’m afraid. This chick needs to put a yellow ribbon around her entire head and get some cats to live in her bubble – dog people are usually positive, happy people – too bad, so sad. C’est La Vie rant rant rant moan moan moan, woe is you. I feel sad for such hateful people like this, how truly miserable life must be (in an ‘intense’ way) ha.

  35. Ophelia July 12, 2014 at 4:50 am #

    I love this post so much, thank you for writing it!
    My girl is an older GSD rescue and I’ve been working on her outdoor manners for six months.
    I get that all dogs have their flaws, and mine can act up with the best of them. She is incredibly dog aggressive for such a people-submissive girl. First time I saw her with a person, she rolled over and submitted, first time I saw her with a bratty dog, she lunged for all she was worth.
    So I started walking her through my neighborhood, with backyard ‘invisible’ dogs and people on their driveways to start off her tolerance training. I soon realized this was a horrible idea.
    My neighborhood had AWFUL dogs! Dogs that would hide behind cars in full sight of their owners and charge us off leash. Dogs that would lunge on their leads, dogs that would break out of their yards just to attack.
    Thankfully, my girl has been the biggest by far and has used her aggression to win fights in under five minutes without a single scratch, but this is completely unacceptable. It went from ‘teaching my girl to accept other dogs’ to ‘trying not to make this week’s progress in tolerance disappear with our next dog encounter’.
    The owners are even worse, they NEVER check or reprimand their dogs, they NEVER apologize after an attack, some have completely ignored their dogs and the mess they’ve gotten themselves into, even more have let dogs smaller than footballs ‘overpower’ them and pull them toward my extremely alert GSD.
    One full grown man even saw his terrier squeeze past the gate (second time this has happened) and began barking at us. My girl had improved and didn’t charge him like last time, but this gave the little brat confidence and he kept us from moving up the street any further. The man lazily called ‘sit, no, sit, stop, come, sit’ for I-kid-you-not FIVE FREAKING MINUTES. It got to the point that I was using passing cars to get to a tree so I could tie my girl up and grab the pooch myself. I was NOT going to throw away the wonderful restraint my girl was showing by not only not engaging the terrier, but sitting quietly next to me and waiting for it to go away. Eventually he got out of his yard and got the dog and I was so disgusted with him I almost attacked him. If my dog hadn’t been there, I would have tossed that terrier right into his face.
    I stopped going through my neighborhood and began taking a trail that is hardly used, there’s a frighteningly vicious dog in a yard right next to it, a few kids that use it as a route to a park, and a couple of joggers that may or may not own a dog of their own. It’s good practice, with enough time in between meetings to get a game plan going and understand just how to react to the next obstacle.
    It’s worked surprisingly well considering how terrible all the dogs are
    Against the odds my girl barely looks at dogs behind fences and completely ignores dogs walking across the street. People can walk by without her curiosity rearing and she’s stopped pulling to check out kids playing in drive ways. She’s even learned to walk loose leash, with corrections only needed at the beginning of walks and while confronting an aggressive dog head on. She’s done wonders and I would love to work with her even further.
    It would be so nice if every dog owner had to read this article, so many are completely content to allow their dog to yank on the leash, snarl and attack other dogs, and make a mess out of everything. Out of all the attacks (I’m counting six in the past six months that included bites), only one owner even bothered to open their mouth.

  36. Mary S. July 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    SPOT ON POST! This on leash off leash discussion, some people are missing the point. If you are in a busy area, leashing your dog is best no matter how well trained it is off-leash. As my boss once told me on the horse farm ‘just because you can do xxxxxx with the yearlings does not mean the others can, so don’t let them see you do it.” As others have already pointed out, if the asshats see you do it, then they will think it is OK. We can’t control them so #1 rule is it is our responsibility to protect our dogs. Anything else is just ego. I had both my dogs (GSD overlords) on leash and an untrained lab 9 mo old pup came rushing up into their faces and both of mine went postal, the female treated him just like a pup, grabbed skin and started wringing it back and forth. Did not leave a mark but between my two hopefully that dog learned a lesson.

  37. Denise Barrett November 2, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    So, I agree with all of the on leash comments here. My dog stays on a leash to protect HIM. He’s an old buddy now, but he’s a Chocolate Lab and years ago if he saw something exciting, he may have run after it and gotten smooshed by a car. In terms of aggression, he is the least aggressive dog and is never too sniffy with other dogs, big or small. However, I used to live in a town with a great wooded area with a pond where dogs could swim and the dogs would run around together. Until you’ve seen a bunch of Labradors roll around and gnaw each other, you have no idea what you’re talking about. That’s how Labs socialize with each other. The first time I saw it I nearly freaked out but I learned that’s what they do and what they like. Conan doesn’t do it with other dogs. I let him do it – maybe I am an asshole but I’m not going to let this blogger with personal space issues call me one!

    • TheDogSnobs November 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      So you let your dog act like an asshole? If it’s mutual it’s not an asshole on innocent bystander situation. If it’s not mutual and approved by both dogs then you’re the asshole, full stop. Also off-leash in an on-leash area would also make you an asshole.

  38. Jen November 16, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    Wow. Hell of a discussion. What it comes down to is what possible reason would someone have to a) disobey the law b) disrespect the needs and wishes of other people and dogs in public spaces and c) think they are better than everyone else?

    Use a leash in public places where a leash is required. Use a leash if you’re unsure whether you need to use a leash. There is just no good reason not to use leashes. To me, it signals a brazen disrespect for everyone else regardless of how well-trained you believe your dog is, and whether you are a rank beginner or master trainer. People seem to think it is super cool to have their dog walk without a leash. Sure, I get that. But you can train your dog such that the leash is a mere accessory and you have that beautiful J-shape loop at all times. I can feel like a million bucks walking with my dog like that, and knowing anyone around me is safe and happy with my dog (Who weighs 12 lbs- having a toy breed does not disqualify you from this). All I need to worry about are the other people walking without leashes. There is little to no enforcement of this bylaw in our city so there is little that can be done.

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 2:44 am #

      How would a person without arms walk a dog on a leash? Who is being brazen and disrespectful “knowing anyone around me is safe and happy with my dog”.

  39. Jane March 24, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    If your dog doesn’t like excitable dogs then walk him in a less dog-populated environment. Are those dogs being actually aggressive to yours? No. Is it YOUR dog who is being an intolerant little asshole actually. Just seriously think. And by the way sometimes dog ARE unpredictable and won’t come back.

    • simba July 24, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Wait, so only acts which are ‘aggressive’ are rude and inappropriate?

      So if a stranger came up to you and licked your face you’d be fine with that? I think not. Learn more about dog behaviour.

      Yeah, sure, I’ve had my dog be unpredictable and approach someone else’s dog and not come back when I called. I apologised, grabbed her, and put the lead back on. If that was the norm you’d get a lot fewer complaints.

  40. yote54 May 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    I was told that my #1 job is to protect MY dog. I see too many people in public who want to ‘show off’ how well trained their dog is off leash. So effing what?! It’s not all about the you and it doesn’t account for other untrained, stray or otherwise dogs. MOST IMPORTANTLY, It also means that the uninformed (ignorant) will think it’s OK for them just because you can do it. So, If this means having my dog on a leash in public, so be it. Dogs are sentient beings, so no matter how well trained they are, it only takes one split second incident to do harm for life.

  41. ang May 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    I know, you’re the super guru of dog owners and I’m completely ashamed of myself in your presence but I shouldn’t have to even think about your unleashed dog approaching me or my tiny dachshund who probably can’t defend himself or my gentlemanly bull terrier who absolutely can. I don’t care how perfect you and your dog are because that’s not the point. As we rack up the miles together, my leashed, neutered bull terrier has been approached by numerous loose dogs. I can still see the one who came at us like a missile with blood in his eye, growling, while his owner stood off in the distance yelling, “He’s friendly!” and the golden who brought along his jack buddy who came barking spit in my dog’s face and snarling. Something in the way my dog remains calm but also squares off has thus far made them all think better of their original plans except for the snarling jack whom I picked up by the scruff of his neck while calling out, “Whose dog is this?” as my leashed bull terrier waited for our walk to resume. I was very afraid of the jack but his snapping teeth were coming dangerously close to a very powerful head.The golden took offense at me for hoisting his buddy and started growling as well. Great. Just when I was starting to wonder how “the white cavalier” was going to make out, two against one, the owner appeared and took the jack from me and walked away without a word, the jack still barking and the golden following. Are these owners idiots in the world of unleashed dogs? I don’t think so. I think I just happen to meet them on the inevitable day their average dogs failed their probably daily off-leash test.
    Leash your dog so that everyone- other dog walkers, bike riders, hikers, folks just walking along- can enjoy the day and do what they came out to do, which is to relax and not wonder about how well your dog is trained. I go out to be with MY dog, not yours.

    • madimd October 17, 2015 at 3:45 am #

      Being a runner and cyclist, I was constantly being molested by unleashed dogs .I have been chased, barked and bitten by mini -pinchers, aussies, maltese, poodles, golden, labs, boxers, beagles, poms, vizsla, etc. I now carry mace. I run almost everyday in my neighborhood around this cul de sac. I see a pit bull who is out in the yard unleashed with her owner ( no electric fence). The pit bull just sits on the grass or lays in her pool watching me run by. Not once has this dog barked, lunged, chase or bit me, she is not fazed by me. I had to stop and tell the owner that this was the best trained dog I have ever seen. If all dogs were like this pit people would not have issues with dogs.

  42. Sol February 5, 2016 at 5:18 pm #

    This needs to be said again and again, but I’ve never seen it said better. I love this post so much, I keep coming back to it years later.

  43. hettahr September 29, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    Yep, we have a BC and she does not like *some* dogs. The ones that taunt and don’t take the greeting slow. She does really good at focusing on her job of course, fetching/gathering sticks. She is not even two yet, and moved this year from a rural home to a city home with many people and dogs walking about or coming to say hi. So she is learning, she now doesn’t join in on the neighborhood barking sound off when walking by. But there is this snobby lady who I could tell from the beginning has just been annoyed by my dog barking when her dogs walk by. My border collie is okay with her big dog, who is more calm. But HATES her little, more excitable, in your face sort of dog. Today we were on the nature trail, letting our BC play fetch off leash and when I saw dogs coming, had my husband hold her so she wouldn’t cause a scene in case it was a dog she didn’t like. Which is a tough decision, since we could probably just keep her interested in fetch, and if she were to greet she likes being off leash so she doesn’t get mad if the dog decides to play a game and she is stuck on her leash, but I want to let the owner know it was okay, we had her under our control, not going anywhere.
    yet it’s this snob lady. And our BC was doing fine greeting her big dog, but she starts with her huffy demeanor trying to get the big dog on leash again, meanwhile her little dog is getting right in my Italian Greyhound’s face (he’s more submissive though). And when the little dog goes by, our BC barks and as she’s leaving tells my husband our dog is aggressive, and she’s been working with dogs for 25 years and has herded with border collies. She claims she has never met an aggressive one and our dog needs properly trained.

    Well, she said she didn’t need to give numbers or facts when asked how many she has had. BC’s need a lot of patience and consistency when trained, our dog has come a long way and is showing improvement with things she needs to work on. She is not even 2 yet. She has many dog friends, cat friends, including one of each at home
    She is always nice to people unless they scream or try to kick her or act all scared, all while she is behaving great. Then she gets nervous and barks. She soaks up attention from people on our busy street/scenic view. She loves it.

    Why do people expect your dog to just love every other animal and person in sight? And what gives them a right to act all huffy puffy while you have your dog safely under control? If we just let her run all over unsupervised, poop on your lawn, and bark at you in your own yard, I would understand. But not when you act like a dog know-it-all, perfect owner, and yet you don’t even notice your little dog getting in my other dog’s face and barking back at my dog, trying to chase her?? Then make snide comments to all the neighbors about how my dog is too hyper.

    People= reasons why I can’t wait to move back into a rural area. Judge your kids, your pets, your house, and how much carbon dioxide you let slip out of your mouth when you exhale.

    • CLK October 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      Sooo, you have a dog (off leash) that likes some dogs (not others) and you have to hold it’s collar when other dogs walk by. It’s amazing you don’t see a problem here, You are your dog’s problem. Keep it on a leash. Why in the world would someone try to kick & scream at a dog that isn’t being aggressive? Dogs don’t come first in this world, people do (although I wish dogs did). It’s owners with your attitude that ruin for owners that are conscientious and work with other people. We take our Weim everywhere. She is trained, she does not bark, jump or snarl. We are polite, we give way (that means sit, wait, no barking) to people because that is the correct thing to do. It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else………

      • hettahr October 13, 2016 at 4:50 am #

        We have a still puppy that is getting better and better the longer we have been training her. We were in the woods, playing fetch, because she needs the exercise. We can trust her to focus on her job of “fetch”. She is 99.9% of the time on her leash, and since she’s had the practice rarely even looks at other dogs walking by. She knows these commands and actually was being nice to the other dog that was ALSO off leash. However, the woman’s little dog, on a friggin 10 foot leash was getting in my little dogs face, scaring him, then starts barking at my other dog causing her to bark back. It irked me that she acts like her dog is totally innocent and her friends little dog, who is even worse, is totally fine.
        We don’t let our dog run amuck, like she was able to in our house with the huge yard and it is tough on her if we don’t take her on walks and find a spot to play fetch. Eventually, we will get a place with a yard again.
        She has never “snarled” at anyone, is very nice with people and well behaved in pet stores. She HAS been hit doing nothing but calmly walking along. Once an old lady hit her with a cane. She did nothing to deserve it. Some people don’t like dogs, and I understand that. If I sense someone is scared of dogs or they tell me, I make sure to cross the street or keep her out of their site while I speak to them at the door. But I DONT understand people who hit my dog when she is being good, minding her own business.

        When I take her on walks, half the houses have dogs barking and she ignores it. She doesn’t sit at the window and flip every time someone walks by, I have trained her NOT to do that. Do I look down on people that have dogs that DO? Hell no, because dogs bark. Most of them bark. I don’t think you shouldn’t be able to give a dog a loving home because you can’t teach your dog not to bark. Keep telling people that and they will give up on dogs and then none will have a home because you and that lady will be all snobby and say they ruin it for such holier than thou owners like yourself.

        Most people adore our dogs. Most other dogs get along just fine with our dogs. They stay down, do tricks for others, know their commands, are house trained, our older puppy never steals food since she turned one. We spend all day with them. There is an adult with them basically 24/7. They go on LEASHED walks, the BC is allowed to play fetch in places away from roads, where hardly anyone is. There are plenty of owners around that let their dogs off leash that come running up to our dog and she has never bit any of them. She might bark but never bit.

        You go ahead and assume we don’t train her, let her run amuck, and that she snarls at people before the couple times she got hit or screamed at. She is a not even two year old bordercollie, she looks like a wolf even if shes being nice so people scared of big dogs are going to misbehave.

        You and snobby bitch can sip tea and let your superior dogs walk with you while you tell owners not to own dogs. With your attitude going around, no one will be dog owners and we’ll see who is ruining it for other dogs and people. They will all be in shelters getting euthanized. Most people have dogs that bark. It takes patience to work with your dog. Sorry we wanted to play fetch in the woods one day. I’ll be sure to play into your judgement and just let her go running down our road.

      • CLK October 13, 2016 at 10:31 am #

        Once again, if it is not a designated off leash area, you need to keep your dog on a leash. It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else. This is a fantastic post from an earlier contributor ….

        dorannadurgin July 31, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

        Thoughts? Obey the leash law.

        Look, it’s not about your dog’s need for a leash. Leash laws exist to protect *other* people’s needs. Just because *you* haven’t had trouble in seven years of disregarding courtesy and regulations doesn’t mean that other people haven’t had trouble with you.

        It’s not just other people with dogs, either. There are people out there who fear dogs, or who have children who fear dogs. If they see your dog off-lead, then it causes them anxiety. Period. People who don’t want to be approached by dogs–for themselves, for their dogs, whatever–should not have to worry about off-leash dogs in an on-leash area. Don’t be that person who privileges your convenience over everyone else’s rights and safety. You’re just not that special.

        My take–as I watch dog friendly areas shrink and hotels close their doors to pets–is that every time I’m out with a dog, I’m an ambassador. If space is tight, I step aside and put my dog on a sit so the other person can have confidence they won’t get jumped on, drooled on, shed upon…whatever. I make it clear to others that I’m aware of and respect their space.

        You see the little flip there? It’s not about you. It’s about THEM. No one should ever have to worry that they’ll have an unwanted encounter with your dog. Ever.


  1. How To Avoid Being a Dog Snobs Blog Topic aka Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Ownership | The Dog Snobs - August 7, 2013

    […] You know how we feel about this […]

  2. The Week In Tweets – 19th September 2013 | Some Thoughts About Dogs - September 19, 2013

    […] Your dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you. […]

  3. “He’s just a puppy!” and other dumbass excuses for idiots and the responsibility challenged | The Dog Snobs - October 1, 2013

    […] Please don’t make us say this again.  It makes get all riled up.  Read our thoughts on this asinine phrase here. […]

  4. Din hund är en skitstövel, och du med! | - October 14, 2013

    […] Your dog isn’t being friendly.  He’s an asshole.  And so are you. […]

  5. Skeena at Buntzen Lake & Tiff with a Dog Owner - April 11, 2015 - Page 3 - ClubTread Community - April 24, 2015

    […] pointed to The Dog Snobs (a blog) by a friend who has spent years dealing with that kind of thing. Here's their take on it. In the comments, DorannaDurgin has a really good comment on people who let their […]

  6. Grumpy Bitch - June 27, 2015

    […] what I do. I don't know why people do that. Sneak up on a grumpy dog and the owner. PS it's this your dog isn't being friendly – he's (rude) and so are you Last edited by Hyacinth; Today at 08:28 […]

  7. It’s not complicated. #LeashYourDog | Pressed by Sol Chrom - February 5, 2016

    […] little bit? You’re getting hysterical.” — ed.) Special h/t to The Dog Snobs for this. Related […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: