Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Pet Peeves About Other Dog Owners

I actually have many of them, but some are fairly universal amongst dog enthusiasts.  I am sure not many people want to read yet another person's thoughts on backyard breeders, animal abusers, or BSL.

Inappropriate Use of Retractable Leashes
While I am not completely opposed to retractable leashes, I feel that they are used too frequently, and in many inappropriate locations.

They are nice to have around to let a dog swim, explore in the woods, or do their business when the weather is nasty out and the humans don't want to come off the porch.  Long training leads can also be used to accomplish these things.

My main beef with them is that it seems that most people who use them pay very little attention to what their dogs are doing, allowing the dog to approach everyone and every dog, or become entangled.

Photo courtesy of creative commons.
We attend the Mutt Strut every year, and in the paperwork they send out, it clearly states leashes must be six feet or shorter, and NO retractable leashes.  Each year, there are plenty of retractable leashes to be seen, and the humans holding them are typically paying little attention to their dogs.  I have seen more than one dog altercation that was started because one of the dogs was on a retractable leash and it's owner was not paying attention to it.

Then there are the injuries that can be associated with them.  I am not going to delve in to that, but there is plenty of info to be found.

Breed Specific Ownership Elitism
I am sure this occurs in most every dog breed, but I frequently observe it with wolfdogs and northern breeds.  The "I am the only one good enough to own one" attitude that some seem to have. 

All dog breeds have unique needs, and I feel that if an owner or potential owner is willing to research and provide for these needs, then there is no reason that they, too, cannot own that breed.  I know first hand that some dogs are more difficult to own/care for than others.  I will see a new Facebook group member state something along the lines of "I would like to own a Sibe" only to be met with replies such as "Why do you want one?", "What experience do you have?", "Do you live on at least two acres and have an eight-foot privacy fence?"  That last one might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture. 

Anti-Breeding.  Period.
"Adopt, don't shop."

"Why buy when shelter dogs die?"

These tag lines are starting to get on my nerves.  I am incredibly pro rescue.  But I love quality, responsible breeders, who produce sound, well-bred dogs.  These dogs rarely, if ever, end up in a shelter or in rescue.  These breeders breed for a sound temperament, carefully screen homes and educate buyers, and take back any dogs they produce if it doesn't work out for some reason.

Photo courtesy of creative commons.
 Most working dogs-SAR, police and military, seeing eye/guide dogs-are carefully and selectively bred.  While rescues can be and are trained to do some amazing things, some jobs require strong genetics and an early start.

The Raw (or Training or Natural Rearing) "Nazis"
I am obviously a HUGE fan of raw, and all things natural.  But I am not one of those raw feeders who thinks my way is the only way.  There are some raw feeders out there who will basically tell you that you are killing your dog, or that you don't deserve to have a dog, if you do not feed your dog their way.  There is nothing wrong with politely voicing one's opinion, but some of the stuff I see/hear these people say is quite shocking.  I  believe people should do what works best for them and there dogs.

Some people are like this with training.  Stating things along the lines that if you don't use anything except positive reinforcement than you are an animal abuser who doesn't deserve a dog.  I was told something along these lines once by a complete stranger while out in public with Neeko, who was wearing a Gentle Leader.  Unfortunately I was speechless, and couldn't think of anything witty to say back to them.  (I have done plently of research on Gentle Leaders, and realize that many dogs do not tolerate them, or have the neck strength to support them.  Neeko does both.)

Lawn Ornaments
We have all seen them.  The poor, attention starved dogs who live their lonely lives entirely behind a fence, or on a chain.

Photo courtesy of creative commons.
These dogs often seem to be hyper and neurotic, or depressed and sad.  My dogs spend a great deal of time outside, but they choose to do so.  I still take them on walks, take them swimming, and on adventures out and about.  I get that some dogs just do not like being inside.  That is still no excuse for owners to neglect their dogs, doing nothing but providing them with food, water, and if they are lucky, shelter. 

These dogs deserve better than that.  They want to be near their humans, to have some interaction with them.

I have many other pet peeves, but this is enough for one day.

What are some of your biggest pet peeves about other dog owners?


  1. Yes! I am with you on all of these! We always turn around and walk in the opposite direction when we see dogs on retractable leashes; I despise them for everyday walks. I'm not sure they have a useful purpose in any scenario, but people who use them around town blow my mind. Driving through the country around here also breaks my hearts; so many dogs live out their entire lives on chains. Thankfully, we have some local advocacy groups focused on rehoming those dogs or providing their owners with better dog houses, etc.

  2. I share many of your pet peeves. But when I start focusing on them too much, I start getting cranky. ;)

    When I remember, I try to go looking for the cool things I see dogs and their people doing together: The elderly woman with the arthritic dog who never misses a walk. The dog who was a terror when he first came home from the shelter who has turned into an awesome pup. The nice kids who politely ask if they can pet Honey before rushing up and putting hands in her face.

    In some ways, we dog people have gotten more judgmental, as in your example of different kinds of Nazis. But I feel like things have gotten so much better for dogs in the 25 years since I adopted my first ones. Heck, when I bought my first Gentle Leader, it was only available from a vet pharmacy!! Now we have so many helpful tools that, when used properly, can make living with dogs so much easier.

  3. The breed elitism gets my goat every time. I'm sure it's similar in most breeds, but the wolfdog world is made of smug, it seems...

  4. I never thought about breed elitism but have definitely seen it. We used to have a pair of wolf-hybrids that came to our vet clinic (rarely), and their owners did seem very much like you explained. And excellent points with your anti-breeding. I too am pro-adoption, but I have family members with pure bred dogs and who am I to tell them they are just the worst people ever for wanting to have a purebred dog? Not a fan of backyard breeders at all though. One of my biggest pet peeves was when I worked at the vet clinic, people would come in to have their pet seen by the doctor. Some people were "know-it-alls" despite not having a degree in veterinary medicine. Usually, these people were just way off... if you're going to pay for a veterinarian's opinion, you should probably listen to what they have to say. I'm not saying every vet is right all the time, but in some cases I just wanted to reach out and shake some sense into some of these people lol.

  5. My god, I could've written this. These are my top peeves (not mentioned but this is actually my #1: small dog hate), too. I work in a very busy, VERY high end vacation rental (think, $3-5,000 a week to rent one of these houses a block off the beach) houses, and people are always walking dogs on retractable leashes. I've seen dogs go through crosswalks 16-24ft before their owners, and seen dogs almost get hit on more than one occasion.

    Breed elitism drive me mad. I think it's worst with herding dog owners; NO ONE is good enough for their breed besides themselves, and no other dog is useful or purposeful in their minds.

    Anti-breeding bugs me, too. My dogs are all purebreds from breeders. I will probably only get my dogs from breeders. Does that mean I'm killing a shelter dog? NO!

  6. That was a great post! I'm glad you shared this!
    I especially agree with the part about wolf hybrids, and Northern dogs (huskies etc) I belong to a few different husky fb groups and admins have literally kicked people out for telling other people that they are not fit to own a husky. A couple weeks ago, I did a post on "Can huskies live in apartments or small houses?" and the reason I posted that is because of my fb group. People seem to think you need a mansion and 100 acres to have huskies. This is SO not true, so I debunked that.
    Your absolutely right, if a person does the proper research and understands the needs of an individual breed, they go for it!!! All the power to ya!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    1. Agreed, great post. When pops adopted me we lived in an apartment- no problem, lots of walkies. Sometimes pops discourages people from getting huskerboos, but anyone willing to do the work certainly should have one, they are great pups, I'll tell you...just ask:)


  7. Hey Rebekah, i'm not sure if your a member of blog paws or not, but I was just reading a post there and they are looking for someone to share info about feeding raw. They are looking for what you feed, plus cost etc...not sure if you want to take part, but I thought of you when I read it, so here is the link if your interested : http://community.blogpaws.com/group/blogtalk/forum/topic/show?id=6393466%3ATopic%3A186052&xg_source=msg

  8. Great post! We've experienced a few of these too

  9. Agree with all the above. My other pet peeve is "he is friendly" as you allow your off leash dog to charge me and my dog (in a leash required area). My two are leash reactive and having this happen is very frustrating! Follow the rules! Or at least have control of your dog so it doesn't ignore you and charge at us!

    1. Agreed!! Just because "he is friendly" doesn't mean that my dog is!! My poor puppy for a while (we worked her through it) was a fearful aggressive. If given a proper introduction to a strange dog she would get along and play just fine, however if charged she would snarl and snap.

  10. It's the lawn ornament dogs that bother me the most. We had some neighbors who kept two sweet, friendly dogs in their backyard and gave them no attention. One day their house was robbed and someone took the dogs as part of the loot. I imagined that the dogs were so grateful to have human attention that they just followed the robbers to their car.

  11. Loose dogs. I could write for hours about loose dogs - then I'd delete everything because I don't like to get negative. But seriously. Loose dogs.

  12. Owners that refuse to pick up after their dogs. A park ranger once handed a bag to a man whose dog had just left a load and the man, who was obviously irate about the situation, picked up the pile and then proceeded to smear it on the side of the trash can. People like that ruin it for the rest of us that are responsible. It's one of the reasons dogs are not allowed in certain areas - and who can blame anyone for making those rules?

  13. You hit some of my major peeves too. Lawn ornaments make me angrier than anything. But, the more nuanced one is the "my way is the only right way" - I see this in training too often. People need to use their brains and figure which way is best for their unique dog (and "best" might be a combo of many schools of thought).

  14. Oh my gosh, it feels like you have gone into my head! I agree with all of these on so many levels, and I think I've also encountered them in my travels. Heck, I was almost amputated by a retractable leash earlier this year (trying to pull the person using the leash's dog out of the way of an oncoming car when the dog was running like a maniac around us), and not only was that pretty scary but the reaction I got to my blog post about it was "that idiot doesn't know how to use a leash" (as in me. Like that makes any sense.)

    And the anti-breeder sentiment gets me going too. Sure, I understand the rescuers deal with this all the time, but the "dumped at the shelter" and "breeders are just adding to the problem" is really tiring and unhelpful. I've volunteered for years with the shelters and rescuers, I get it. But we also have to really stop and think about the root cause of the problem, the statistics regarding number of shelter animals vs. number of pets taken into homes each year, and what could be the solution. And it doesn't help that so many of the same rescues don't want to - or simply won't - speak up about the problems at the shelter even when they can do so anonymously (requesting shelter pulls for dogs who are then killed, etc).

    OK, I better hop off this soapbox before I continue :) FANTASTIC post.

  15. I'm right there right along with you. Me and the dogs got tangled up with 2 angry small dogs who were on retractable leashes and their owner was on the phone and didn't seem to get that I was getting angry and their dogs were in danger from my pack who was getting equally frustrated.

    I've hated those leashes ever since.

    I created my raw group to escape the elitists. What amazes me is the hundreds of members I have because of the same thing.

    I do believe that we should rescue, but I also believe that it's your business what you choose to do. There are plenty of reputable rescues and reputable breeders to choose from. I have heard too many stories of people who tried to work with rescue and got no where. It took months for us to find a rescue group who would adopt out a dog to us. Today, I have an In with several rescue groups thanks to my experience with dogs and the blog. I sometimes forget that not everyone is that lucky. PLUS - what's wrong with loving a breed and wanting the best of that breed? I had someone chastise us for looking for a mix breed similar to Blue. We loved his personality and spirit and we found littermates who encompass that perfectly. They have a safe, happy, loving home - why did we do something wrong?

    This is why I've happily stepped out of the rescue arena. I don't write about it anymore, because I'm tired of all the judging.

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Thanks for the howls!!