Dogs Off the Leash: Or, Why Must I Feel that every Loose Dog is out to get me or my Goldens.

Huntington Harbour Dogs: Not Just Our Problem

There is a proliferation of very nice people rescuing all sort of dogs –very large dogs (Dobermans, German Shepherds, Sharpeis), to the small. We’ve lived here twenty-one years. So we’ve seen the changes in the neighborhood pet supply.

That should be a good thing. A wonderful thing. Stores implementing no sell from puppy mill rules. Rescue groups. No-kill shelters. Yay. Or not.
What good is it for a human being to rescue a dog if they are going to use it for a cheap burglar alarm locked in the garage all day, or a tiny fluff ball who looks great in costumes but bites your neighbor and can’t defend himself? Who never gets a walk? Mental stimulation? Is used as a surrogate teddy bear? Isn’t the rescuer actually doing a disservice to the dog not to learn how to become an informed, thoughtful, dog partner in this new relationship? Or what the best techniques are to help fulfill these dog breed’s intended life? If you adopt a “herder” dog, expect to have lots of energy yourself. If you adopt a German Shepherd, expect to do some training to bring that dog under control. If you leave your Beagle in the backyard while you go to work, is that constant howling going to win you friends? Or help build the bond between you and your dog? And if you have no control over your dog because you are not there, how is this dog going to turn out? Have you heard of pet-sitters?

However I can confirm that from my office window, I see a twenty-something with her cell phone glue to one ear holding and two leashes simple clipped to the dogs wide, very wide collars. Mind you, these are two rescued shelter huge Sherpherds with only a flimsy “pull out” collar between their dogs and mine. Or those of your neighbors, friends, family. I’m beginning to see those two German Shepherds – one brown, one black in my nightmares. Even their next door neighbors are terrifed that those two dogs will break down their side gates. No one wants to cross in proximity to “that” house.

Also there is la-de-dahing by is a a teenager, twelve, walking a doberman with a “pull-out” leash at max range. Also, an elderly Asian woman walking head down, observing his feet, with her meatball-sized dog leading the way (waiting, I may add, to draw attention to them by larger dogs. How many bones might she break when the dog leaps out of the way and pulls her over? Can you say “Broken hip.” Homeowners Insurance? It’s a lot less expensive in the long run to train your dog than have to un-train them.

Or on walks we encounter oblivious dog owner who opens his front door so his wild who-knows-what aggressive little dog can go to the bathroom, but seeing us sprints into the street. I don’t have to ask for whom the dog runs, it’s runs for us. In that case I’m more afraid that the little dog will be hit by a car than that I wouldn’t be able to protect my dogs or myself from him.

No matter what morning, afternoon or evening, walking dogs these days is like Halloween fright-night 364 days a year — you never know what dog or when is going to charge you. Does their dog’s bite bleed less if “Schmoochie” wouldn’t hurt a fly? Or “Is your leg broken less” because you didn’t see the unleashed hybrid charge leasehless around the corner?

Then there are the uneducated child (and adult) who rescues a cute little “Bitsy” or “Muffin” from the shelter, only to find they’ve brought home Frankenstein. Despite those issues, they keep these dogs in the back yard next to the pool (not all dogs have the right paws to swim or are themselves buoyant), walk them on the bizarre thirty-foot pull-leash, walk them off leash (the owner thinks they can scoop puppy up if need be). However in my opinion, the lunges, attacks, skittish dogs taking off, etc are unanticipated by the majority of dog owners. In extreme situations, they will never be able to save their own dogs life. What kind of a service do they do a previously troubled, rescue dog to bring it into a home where the the Human Beings can’t even “read” their dogs body language?

Many new dog owners don’t even have a clue as to why their dog might have problems he or she may have to work out. They don’t get it that Fluff ball is the size of a good appetizer to a hungry coyote. Or Fluffy’s neck can be easily chomped on by any large dog and broken. Typically vets can’t breathe life back into a dead, dead dog.

Is it helpful or a waste of time to greet the dog behind the iron gate who’s barking at you like he wants your thigh, those of your dogs, and your neighbors? Can you, the hapless passerby, ever think that owner would care enough about you and your dogs to take a few dog training lessons from a reputable trainer? If the owners don’t matter that Fido has broken through one by eight redwood slats to get at passing neighbor dogs a top an eight foot wall, what kind of people are they? I certainly hope they understand the pain and suffering they could inflict on their friends, family or innocent strangers on what was to be a lovely morning stroll.

We all deserve to walk dogs without fear of being jumped, lunged at, or intimidated by suddenly ferociously barking by dogs left alone all day. All too often, it’s the gardener or construction worker who blithely opens the side door to your house thereby allowing “Max” or “Buddy” to scamper down the road in quest of his next adventure.

We should not all feel that we have to carry a two by four. How much thought do you give to protecting “me” on my walk?

Dog trainer extraordinaire Sue Myles recommends a dog chlorophyll “butt blaster” which can be pointed at the offending face as it close in on your and your dogs. I pop the butt blaster in my pocket every time I take the Goldens out. You truly do not know who you will meet on your walk. Sue works out of the Fountain Valley area, but also works with troubled owners and the rescues in their homes. Her work can be found at: http://www.suemyles.com..The author must note that it was eight years ago that she was attacked by the neighbor’s “friendlY” dog. The author received a broken leg and torn ACL. The knee will never be the same.
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2 Responses to “Dogs Off the Leash: Or, Why Must I Feel that every Loose Dog is out to get me or my Goldens.”

  1. meimeihu Says:

    Thank you for the eloquent plea, advocating responsibility on behalf of the physical and psychological safety of the humans AND their doggy friends! Not only are the two-legged terrorized, the four-legged, in the worst case scenario, may be euthanized. The dissolution of our mutuality/community has vanished as neighbors have disconnect into their own bubbles. I agree that is it time to renew our commitment to each other and each pet friend.

  2. adrienneparks Says:

    Thank you, Lucy.

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