Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Irresponsible dog owners

While walking our dogs at the community prairie the other day, we ran into a friend and dog training client of ours who said to be on the look out for a large yellow Lab. She had been walking her two dogs, one of whom she recently adopted from rescue and is quite timid, when she was approached (this is a nice way of putting it - the dog was at a dead run) by a Lab running loose, no owner in sight. Eventually she spied the owner who had no verbal control over his dog at all. The dog ended up chasing her new rescue dog half way across the prairie before she was able to get him away. She has been working for months building her dog's confidence and thanks to one very irresponsible owner, all that work may be undone. I also recently had a similar, but not so damaging, experience when we were approached by four loose dogs (a cocker and 3 jack russells). All three terriers charged my dogs, barking and growling. I put my dogs in a down stay (if I didn't have this skill they wouldn't be off leash in a public place) and body blocked the charging dogs repeatedly. When the dogs' owner eventually appeared I was polite but blunt about her having her dogs off leash, for her own dogs' safety. While we can't always control the actions of others, we can be responsible for our own dog's training. Having reliable stays under very distracting circumstances can prevent a dog fight from occuring and is a good preventative measure against irresponsible, or uninformed, dog owners.