Leashed dogs, tethered dogs

Dazincoat   I live in  the inner city. What that means is that I live in close proximity to a lot of other people who are not my relatives.  I choose to live this way.  There are a lot of positive aspects to living in a population dense area:  we have  public transportation steps from my  back door.  We have so many restaurants, including ethnic restaurants.  So many resale stores (which  I love), and cultural events: movies, plays, lectures, comedy.

What we also have is…people …who are in denial about how much control they have over their dogs, and how this impacts their neighbors.

I have to admit, I have, at times, been less than considerate.  I have  gone out early in the morning, or to a remote spot in the park, and had my dog harass picnickers, or  other dogs.  I have gotten control of my dogs as quickly as possible, but I knew I was in the wrong and apologized.  Once,  one of my dogs got out of a fenced area and started harassing another dog.  My idiot dog was missing teeth, so he was just harassing and possibly in danger when he did this, but I had put both dogs in a dangerous situation.

You know the response people give when their dog menaces you: “He’s just playing!  He will not bite your dog!”  That’s really not a good response if my dogs are leashed and yours is not. The dynamic of leashed dogs is they–instinctively— protect themselves/the person they are tethered to. They don’t even think. They immediately go into defense mode.  That means YOUR DOG is in danger.  If you can’t get control of your dog, then I have to work harder to control and calm my dog. I am working on it. He  is a dog in training, YOUR DOG is clearly not.

This is the problem with dog ownership in the USA: unless you get your dog  from an ethical hobby breeder, breeding for the betterment of the breed, OR a very well run animal shelter or rescue, your dog  most likely did not come with handling instructions.  You are left to your own devices and common sense, but most people don’t think that deeply about their pets and safety.  Who is to inform them  if these pet owners think what they are doing makes sense?

In Illinois, it is now illegal to tether a dog outside.  Too many dogs  are sitting ducks to  wild animals and uncontrolled dogs. They get  wound up in their lines/ropes/tethers.    I  was surprised this law passed, but it did.

I  recently worked  for a dog grooming business where the owner didn’t have a clue about safety and dog behavior—and her method of restraint was tying up dogs rather than crating the dogs. Why? She  was thinking of a crate as a dog jail rather than as a den.  She really thought she was being more humane.  She could not see—because she had never trained a dog or worked with a dog trainer—-that  she was actually enhancing the stress of dogs coming in for grooming.  Granted, they  didn’t have their owners to  protect, but that’s only part of the stress.

Not only that, but  she promoted harnesses, not just because she didn’t know any better, but because she discounted that people could not control their dogs on harness, and she felt that people didn’t want to restrain dogs.  I  am not sure how this  whole way of thinking—feeling guilty about being in control of your dog—started, but you can’t confuse people with the facts.

I’m not sure how much of a difference knowing about this will make to  most people, but I see that more and more people are  opening dog care businesses without knowing anything about  dog psychology, or dynamics.    This is capitalism.  GDazincoatood luck to us all.

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