Your dog is an a**hole

Maybe not everyone…but some people definitely think so.

Newsflash, dog owners: Not everyone likes your dog.

Yup. It’s true!

Dog owners (or guardian, caregiver, parent – whichever term you use), probably struggle the most with this concept.

Can’t they see how handsome/beautiful, intelligent, charming, and well-behaved Fido is??

“If you have a dog, you will have enemies in the neighborhood.”

~Claire J. Senecal (My mom)

People will take their dislike of you and/or your dog out on you secretly or passive aggressively.

Nine times out of 10, you and your dog will be targets in some way because you’re unconsciously being inconsiderate.

IS YOUR DOG LEASHED? It’s the law in most towns. Keeping Fido on a leash puts people at ease and provides you with better control over his behavior.

You’ll know when and where he’s pooped and can clean up. You should always clean up. Always.

If you disregard leash laws, most people assume you are disobeying other laws, like leaving your dog’s waste everywhere: parks, bike trails, sidewalks, front lawns.

Dog waste is a bacteria-filled biohazard. Nobody wants to step in it, slip on it, see it, or smell it. BE RESPONSIBLE.

Fido can’t do it himself!

I guarantee you that if you choose to disregard leash etiquette, someone out there is secretly plotting revenge. Or fantasizing about it. I guarantee it.

Worse is when people walk their dogs without a leash and call out, as it’s running up to you, “It’s okay! He’s friendly!”

No, it’s not okay. You have no way of keeping that dog away from or off of me without a leash. You don’t know my (hypothetical) deepest fears or reasons dogs scare me. You don’t know how much therapy I’ve had to try to overcome that fear. I was enjoying my fresh air and exercise, and now I’m experiencing PTSD.

I’ve been training dogs for 40 years.  Every smart dog trainer or owner knows these three words to be true, “Never say never.”

Almost every dog bite begins with a dog who is not under physical control while his owner says, “My dog would NEVER run away or bite a person or dog.”

I know of at least a dozen people whose animals were bitten by an off-leash dog whose owners claimed, “He’s friendly. He would never bite another dog. He’s never done that before!”

Owner: He’s wicked friendly!

If you’re out socializing with your dog, and you’re not at least a little stressed because you’re being hypervigilant about Fido’s interactions, then you’re doing it wrong.

We all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty. But I like to think I’ve learned from them.

“Do the best that you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

~Maya Angelou

One of my old neighbors (super nice guy) once said to me, “I think one of the neighbors poisoned my last dog. He used to complain about Rex pooping in his yard.”

Because Rex was let out to roam free around the neighborhood and do what he liked, wherever he liked, twice a day.

Rex may have been poisoned. It may have been intentional or unintentional. Rex could have inadvertently gotten into some spilled antifreeze. They’ll never know.

Winter can bring dangers to pets you might not have considered.

The former neighbor’s next dog, Spot, was also let out to roam free around the neighborhood. Does this mean the neighbor’s a gambler? An optimist? Or just stupid or lazy?

What would you do if you suspected your dog had been poisoned?

Dogs are a wonderful addition to a family. They can improve your health, decrease your stress, calm your anxiety. But your dog is your responsibility. You need to be considerate of others’ feelings.

If your dog misbehaves, it’s because you didn’t train him well and aren’t providing a mentally and physically stimulating life for him.

If you really love your dog, you want him to be safe.

So, ask yourself: Who’s the real a**hole here?