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Canine PSAs [Mar. 10th, 2014|03:16 pm]
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If I ruled the world, I would outlaw those awful extending leashes. There is nothing to be accomplished by having your dog 12' away from you when your dog then has to walk at your pace anyway. No, the only thing that you accomplish is having no control over your dog when a crisis happens. I've seen dogs almost hit by cars because they ran into the road. I hit a dog while biking because it lunged off the sidewalk after me. And on the multiuse trail in the park, I've had to come to a screeching halt on my bike when my call of, "on your right" led to the dog owner stepping off the trail to the right and the dog running off the trail to the left, effectively clotheslining the trail.

But yesterday was the limit. We were at Petco, waiting in line to check out. The woman in front of us had a very pretty bulldog on an extending leash. As we get to the line, the bulldog rushes back toward us. I let out a squeak, and she reeled the dog in. He sat beside her for a moment, but then came back toward us. Shasta was fine at first, but when Ferrett spoke to the bulldog, he jumped toward Ferrett. It was a friendly jump, but Shasta is very protective of her people, so she was alarmed and lunged forward to protect Ferrett, and the bulldog turned his attention on Shasta. I had her, and things should have been under control. But the owner, who was paying no attention, upon feeling the lunge? Released the fraking leash. The bulldog went after Shasta, who ran behind me to get away. The bulldog chased after her, and suddenly I was wrapped in the extending leash, unable to get to Shasta to help her. Fortunately, Ferrett was there and able to help me get untangled. Throughout all this, the owner was oblivious. Eventually she retrieved her dog and wandered away.

Also, Petco is dog friendly, but people, PLEASE watch your kids. As we walked through the front door, someone was walking a dog out that lunged forward to sniff Shasta. She is a little dog-shy, so was startled but okay. But then another dog passed, and at the same moment a little girl ran up, squeeing "cute doggie!" and stuck her hand right in Shasta's face. My heart was in my throat. Fortunately, Shasta didn't freak out and snap at her. Please, please, parents, teach your children to always ask before petting a dog. Even friendly dogs can be nervous dogs if they are startled, and I'm just glad that the little girl didn't learn that lesson from Shasta.
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[User Picture]From: bunny42
2014-03-10 07:45 pm (UTC)

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Oblivious discourteous people are everywhere. I made the mistake of going to Costco on a Monday morning. That woman wheeling her cart directly at me never even looked up as I screeched to a halt and got out of her way, so that the aisle could continue to belong to her alone. Off she went, as I stood there shaking my head.

It gets all the worse when pets (and children) are involved. It not only annoys me, it disgusts me that parents and pet owners can be so callous and set such a crappy example for their kids. I'm surprised the bulldog's owner wasn't on her cell phone. People, people, people!!!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 02:34 pm (UTC)

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And if she had hit you, she would have been pissed. People....
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-10 09:32 pm (UTC)

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I tried a flexi-leash briefly, on the theory that my dog might be comfortable within a radius slightly larger than a 6' leash allowed, but that I'd want more control when she was closer.

That theory didn't work so well.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: gabyrippling
2014-03-11 04:04 am (UTC)

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I used one, but if I was walking the dog on any sort of path or street, it would be tight. Letting it out was for if I was in some sort of open park or meadow and the dog (and I, by extension) were chasing pigeons or squirrels, which I of course would not allow near any sort of road because danger. This is in NYC, so aside from straight-up dog parks, there aren't many good open places for allowing a dog to run off leash, so it's the expandable leash for that purpose and that alone.

I really hate the people in NYC who let their dogs walk entirely off-leash because "He's well trained." I don't give a shit, my dog wasn't friendly toward other dogs but now I have to work twice as hard to keep her calm and protect YOUR dog because you can't hold a freaking loop. Plus they're never actually looking at their dogs either - I saw a bulldog not notice its owner had stopped at a corned and just kept walking down the street and the owner was fucking oblivious for nearly a block.

Maybe it's just because my dog was small and could easily get underfoot or not be seen by a driver (or could poop and then I'd have to pick it up unlike some other thoughtless owners), but if I was walking my dog, I was focused on her.

Pardon the rant. Shitty self-absorbed NYC dog owners are unfortunately populous, and it makes me really angry because most of them have more money and free time than me.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-11 01:17 pm (UTC)

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No pardon needed; that sounds really annoying.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 02:37 pm (UTC)

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I don't care how well-trained your dog is, no dog is immune from a sudden distraction that will send it running into the road. I think that's awful.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-11 04:23 pm (UTC)

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I take the same data and come to a slightly different conclusion: I'm worried. I love my dog, and do not want her to be in a fight with a car that she will inevitably lose.

OTOH, we both enjoy off-leash hiking in appropriately designated areas, far from any such traffic.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 09:47 pm (UTC)

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When we lived in Alaska, there was plenty of opportunity to walk out golden like that. It's going to be at least another season before I even Bakely think of trusting Shasta to walk off leash in someplace where way are unlikely to encounter bikes or other dogs or horses or anything. She's just a little too flaky.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-11 10:50 pm (UTC)

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We did not try this until we had fairly high confidence in our emergency recall. As it turned out, our dog has no inclination to get out of sight of us, but that was just luck.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 02:36 pm (UTC)

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The locking mechanisms don't always hold, and it's pretty much impossible to know when an emergency situation is going to happen. I do not like them.
From: anonymousalex
2014-03-11 04:20 pm (UTC)

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I'm not fond of them, either. It was an experiment (one among many) when our dog was new to us.

We also have one of those ball-throwing sticks. Which works great, except our dog has no interest in fetching.

-Alex
[User Picture]From: finding_helena
2014-03-10 10:34 pm (UTC)

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People can be really dumb about pets. I'm glad my daughter is fairly cautious on the whole and doesn't typically approach other people's pets. It doesn't come up a lot but I make sure to tell her to ask the owner if she can pet the dog, unless the owner offers before I can say anything, which happens fairly often.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 02:38 pm (UTC)

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Thank you for being a good parent.
[User Picture]From: cindyg
2014-03-12 07:32 am (UTC)

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See now, this is what I don't get about some parents - they teach their kids not to touch breakables, or other things without permisssion, but animals are fair game for inquiring fingers? Then it's the pet owner's fault if the pet bites their precious? It is beyond logic.

Fortunately, the neighborhood children who have spotted my cats, knew enough tuck their hands behind them, and ask if they could pet the pretty kitties...and to their parents, I am thankful. One little monster pulled my Darklette's tail, much to her outrage. Fortunately I intervened before she could bite the little bugger.
[User Picture]From: kagomeshuko
2014-03-10 11:34 pm (UTC)

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I admit to having the extending leashes. I've used them, but I've always watched my dog. They aren't for when I need m dog under tight control. I do have leashes that don't extend. I'll bring the extending ones to places like parks when I know they will have room to move around the park and I will use the feature that makes the leash not extend at a certain point. I think people forget to use that lock feature. I use it lots.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 02:56 pm (UTC)

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I've seen those lock mechanisms give way when a larger dog lunges at the end of the leash. I don't trust them. But what you're describing - a open park situation - is the only one that even makes a little sense to me.
[User Picture]From: kagomeshuko
2014-03-11 10:53 pm (UTC)

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Of course, I have a chihuahua and a chihuahua-terrier. I didn't use the extending leash when I had my beagle-lab mix. It was too hard to control.
[User Picture]From: idic_writer
2014-03-11 01:30 am (UTC)

You are SO right!

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We had a dog that was fear aggressive and we once had a little toddler race down the driveway toward him to give him a kiss! We were trying not to upset our dog by acting like it was a big deal--and we must have succeeded--because the little boy quickly approached and planted one right on our dog's cheek--a sweet little peck. Ziggy just stood there and never moved--incredibly lucky!

Later I read that dogs can smell the pheromones of children and puppies, and know they have to behave differently, and that they are harmless.

But yeah--SO NERVOUS!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 03:01 pm (UTC)

Re: You are SO right!

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I'm not sure I would put all my trust in pheromones! Glad that worked out for you.
[User Picture]From: shannabannanna
2014-03-11 03:23 am (UTC)

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I admit I'd be (selfishly) very sad if extending leashes were banned because I am a lucky dog owner with a ridiculously well-behaved lab that can handle more freedom. A leash is truly a legal formality for her so it's my way of giving her some space and still have her "on a leash" (seriously, she's 3 years old and does not chase anything, ever, even when in off-leash parks). It's sad that people can't self-monitor whether a product is good for them (or their pets), and ruin it for others.
[User Picture]From: shannabannanna
2014-03-11 03:25 am (UTC)

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I also use common sense -in a store, the leash is retracted because... duh. But in a park, or on a trail where there are wonderful smells all over the place...
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 03:02 pm (UTC)

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I wish more dog owners were like you.
From: serakit
2014-03-11 04:46 pm (UTC)

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My grandfather had one of those extendable leashes but that was in part because there was no controlling the dog at all and so we didn't take him walking anywhere but the nature preserve behind our house, or the woods around the vacation house. My grandfather never could have kept him if it wasn't for living so close to the woods and the dog being so small, and the fact that the dog would never lose it at *people*, just other dogs and cars. And then later the dog was moved to my aunt's farm where no one at all was going to run into him.

Possibly thanks to all of these terribly-behaved-but-would-never-hurt-us dogs (my grandfather's previous two dogs were similar), I didn't really learn that some dogs will hurt you until I went to pet one in college and my boyfriend, being familiar with this particular dog, yanked me back just as it lunged at me.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 09:44 pm (UTC)

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Yikes! Glad you weren't hurt!

And yes, the country is different.
[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2014-03-11 04:58 pm (UTC)

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I'm in total agreement with you on this. And will add my gripe that with the spring thaw, all those dog turds on the sidewalk that people didn't bother to pick up are making going for a walk in the neighborhood rather hazardous.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-03-11 09:43 pm (UTC)

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Not cleaning up after your pet is horrible. That makes me angry.
[User Picture]From: fjm
2014-03-30 03:48 pm (UTC)

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They seem to have become an excuse for not training a dog. Does anyone teach a dog to heel anymore?