Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Leash Rant

Before we adopted Pappy, I had a little attitude about dogs and owners. The unfamiliar dogs that most non-owners notice are the ones off-leash, and they make a strong impression. As the unrestrained dog approaches you there's the moment of alarm concerning his or her intent, and then there is the too-late, grating call from the owner: "don't worry he's friendly". Like nails on the chalkboard. Equally irritating is when they bellow at their dogs for not following every order, or the owner walks ahead pointedly ignoring the dog in some expectation that this will intimidate him into keeping up. This is the total surrender of responsibility as a pet owner.

An interesting thing at the dog park is that most of the owners, who love their dogs to run free and play, are probably more rabid about leash laws than non-owners. Many of them have been in bad situations with unleashed dogs. The simple fact is that, if your dog is on a leash and another dog isn't, there is almost nothing either owner can do to control the interaction or break up a fight. At the dog park you come to trust the owners who are willing to make the commitment to use an organized off-leash area, and you accept the risk. But every dog has its unpredictable moments.

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