Tag Archives: dog training

Petiquette

Off and on dogs end up in the news, usually when people are attacked in some way. Inevitably the media latches on and worries the question to death as to whether this breed or that should be banned, put down or punted to another planet.

Personally, the people in the baby poo yellow house a few doors from where I live should be punted. They have one of those little tufts of fur for a dog, barely bigger than palm sized but with a mouth on it that you can hear for blocks. Mr. Dog Owner (they got this critter when their daughter left home) thinks it’s cute to walk his mop and let it run after the cats and sniff them. Luckily the cats are smarter and faster, and leave. He also thinks it’s cute to let the thing yap for hours, getting all excited and probably jumping up and down like it’s spring loaded. I don’t know though, because I’m usually trying to sleep in at 9 on a Saturday morning, the inevitable time for the yapster to begin.

Sure, some dogs are more “talkative” than others, but just like kids, you can train your mutts not to bark (kids can be taught to be polite). It’s not cute to anyone but the englamored pet owner when their wee snookums does its noisy tricks over and over and over again. So, folks, take your dog to school. A bad dog usually has a bad owner.

I think it should be mandatory that every dog owner has taken lessons on how to train and discipline their dog. Taking a dog for a walk means respecting the space of other people and dogs around you, and being able to call your dog off should an altercation begin. Socializing animals is imperative and an off-leash park for dogs does not mean that your dog can intimidate other dogs and people.

Petiquette means that your dog will come when called, obey commands and won’t attack every moving thing it sees as a threat. I was with friends sitting on the grass in an off-leash park. A dog came up and pissed on my bag and then ran off happily. One of my friends went over to talk to the people about what their dog did. They were unrepentant, believing that since they were in a dog friendly park it meant that their dog could do anything it wanted. Hello, people, knock your head on a brick wall! Parks are for people first and foremost. I should have gone over and pissed on those people.

Don’t presume everyone likes dogs, or wants them in their vicinity. It’s not okay to tote your dog with you to anyone’s place, unless you ask first. Even if it’s an outside do, there are a myriad reasons why dogs might not be welcome. Space, other animals, delicate objects, cherished gardens, allergies, bratty children, are just some reasons to leave Fido at home. I have friends who have brought their dog to my place when we’re barbecuing. They haven’t asked and some day it’s going to be a problem. If this was last year when my other scaredy cat was still alive, it would emphatically have not been okay and they would have been told to take the dog to the car. I like the dog but there are times and places for dogs, and asking is just plain considerate.

Dogs aren’t children and do not get the same rights of accompanying a parent everywhere. They may be no more emotionally mature or intelligent than a two-year-old, which means you have to be in control, but they aren’t children. Oh, and they are not freakin’ fashion accessories. A co-worker once said that someone was a yappy as a Yaletown dog. An apt description because in Vancouver, Yaletown is the nouveau glitzy trendy place for condos and restaurants and people spending too much money on clothing just to say they spent too much money.

Putting a Gucci diamond/rhinestone studded collar on Boopsie and a nice little matching coat and booties to match, borders on vomitous. Dogs aren’t dolls. Tossing them into a matching carrying case doesn’t make you cool. Having a big, mean looking dog doesn’t make you tough. All living beings that we make ourselves responsible for, should be treated well. Leaving them in hot cars or cooped up in cute little cases and dumb outfits doesn’t serve them well. Oh and driving with your dog on your lap while talking on your cellphone goes beyond idiotic to downright dangerous. I’ve seen it often enough. If your dog can’t stay where it belongs while you’re driving (and that’s not your lap), then go and get some training.

If you’re driving a car or walking a dog, taking a course is a great idea. Like I said before, this isn’t limited to big dogs as the only dog to bite me was a dachshund. Every time I see a bad dog, I know that most of the time it’s because there’s a person who lacks discipline and politeness themselves. Be considerate, take care of your pets and control them.

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Bad Dog

In Vancouver, a man and his dog were recently attacked by three full grown Pit Bulls and a pup. It seems that the person who owned the dogs was living in his van and is now being questioned about similar attacks around BC. Of course, the media has latched onto this story (should I say, like a Pit Bull that won’t let go?) and is doing talk shows, etc. asking whether Pit Bulls should be banned. Ontario passed such a law against Pit Bulls.

When I was a kid, the breed that everyone feared and called “vicious, uncontrollable, unpredictable” were Dobermans. German Shepherds were also in there too at one time. The breed changes with the decade and people’s out of proportion fears raised to such levels by the media. Yes there are dog attacks, and yes a few end in death but it’s pretty hard to say it’s one breed. Statistics (which are sketchy at best) do not seem to show how many of one breed bite compared to the total number of that breed in an area but it seems to be less than 1 %. Banning a breed will just transfer the eyes of the media and the fear to another breed.

The only time I was ever bitten by a dog, I was walking up an alley and a Dachshund ran out and bit my ankle. I was so shocked I just stood there. It didn’t break the skin and it couldn’t reach higher, but I had done nothing to provoke it, nor had seen it before it bit.

I grew up with German Shepherds. They were fine and loyal. We did have one that showed more aggression, even as a pup. It was overly protective of my brother and might have been a problem but it was killed before it was full grown when it escaped the yard and was hit by a truck. That was only one dog.

I’ve been around a lot of Rottweilers, and terriers and dogs of all sorts. I’ve never been bitten except by that one crazed wiener dog. The “disposition” for a dog to bite is more likely to be linked to how it’s raised. People sometimes (not all the time) will buy a particular dog because they think it will protect them or make the person look more macho. Often what goes hand in hand with a vicious dog is a combination of poor or no training, lack of proper socialization and lack of proper control or attitude by the owner.

Instances of dog attacks should probably be counterbalanced with instance of dogs saving people, and good dog behaviour. There is far more of the latter or people would not have dogs as pets. I’m sure that if studies were done of many owners that owned vicious dogs, it would show the above (they didn’t train their dog) or a problem with socialization of the owner as well as the dog.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing for every person who buys a dog of any size or breed from anyplace (pet store, breeder, SPCA) to have a certificate that shows that they have had training on how to handle and socialize a dog and that they will then take that particular dog for training. The dog will then have its own certificate and should it be sold/given away, there is proof of its training too.

Such percautions would lessen the incidences of unruly dogs or dog attacks. It will never get rid of them. Sometimes dogs are provoked. Sometimes there is one that is just “off.” It’s best to never forget that a dog has the mentality of a 2-3-year-old. But with training the incidences would definitely go down. Some interesting facts: more bites happen from dogs that are leashed/chain than by those that aren’t. More intact dogs bite than those that are neutered/spayed.

When teenagers are out of control or in trouble it’s often related to what their parents are like and how they act (Just ask anyone who has ever had to teach problem children.) Likewise, if there is a bad dog, look at the owners and ask if they know what they’re doing.They may claim they do but were they trained to handle another species?

This site has some good information. http://www.goodpooch.com/MediaBriefs/GPcanineprimer.htm

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