Nothing beats a long walk with your pup on a perfect summer day, the sun warming your face and a gentle breeze blowing through your dog’s fur. And, then someone ruins your worry-free stroll by yelling at you, just because your sweet, affable dog wants to play with their dog. All you were going to do was remove your pup’s leash like you’ve done many times before. Everyone else does it.
Sure, there’s traffic, bikes, kids playing, you name it. But, all the neighborhood dogs frolic and chase one another here. This is your dog’s outlet—his social time.
You’ve never had any problems UNTIL you reach to unclasp the leash from your pooch’s collar. Then, three people start clattering “they are not friendly,” “get your dog,” “it’s illegal to take your dog off-leash here,” “PLEASE, get your dog”; “THEY DON’T WANT TO SAY HI.”
And, you walk away with your happy-go-lucky, loves-other-dogs pooch. Annoyed. Those people were so rude.
No, those people were responsible. Those people were alarmed, surprised, and doing your sweet pup a HUGE favor by not letting him rush their dogs’ faces. Those dogs were really rattled because they never hear their two-legged friends use the harsh, loud tone of voice that they heard when you startled them.
We were these people. From a distance, Mindy and Wally look like nice dogs. And they are. They’re both awesome. But, what you’d never know unless you asked is how much work went into Mindy’s training for her to be able to stand three feet away from Wally, sitting calmly on a leash and looking at her mom with a soft, knowing gaze that she’ll be rewarded if she continues to stay relaxed. If you’d seen us when we first met dear Mindy, you’d have yelled at us from much further away because she was easily startled, nervous, and would have barked, lunged, and spun in circles if she caught a glimpse of your dog. You’d have never been as close as you were with your amiable dog.
We LOVE happy, social dogs. We want them to stay neighborly, continue to wiggle and squirm at every canine they see on the street. We’re sorry if we came across as impolite. But, if your dog came any closer to our leashed dogs who were both paying attention to us, they would have barked. Our pleasant pups don’t like other dogs in their face. And, if your pooch is uber sensitive, that one bluster could negatively change his behavior forever. We wouldn’t want that for your pup. And you were super lucky. Mindy and Wally are noisy. But, not dangerous, in any way. If your darling dog rushed the face of a different dog, you might not be as fortunate. Dog attacks can be brutal. And, nothing ruins a delightful walk more than a trip to the emergency room.
When you don’t ask the person holding the leash of a dog, you don’t know, “does he or she want to say hello?” a fun outing on a beautiful day can turn tragic, very quickly. And we truly believe you wouldn’t want that for your dog. We want your pup to stay goofy and always to adore other dogs. So, please, ask. Without one question, “does your dog like other dogs?” your life and dog’s life could change FOREVER. And, not in a good way.
P.S. Mindy and Wally were on a leash because it’s the law in many places. Please keep your dog-friendly dog safe by choosing fenced-in Dog-Friendly Areas only for off-leash play.