I read this fantastic article last week so, while we are on the subject of rants from a dog professional, I have something I need to get off my chest.
I was walking with my dog Rufus this morning through our neighborhood farmer’s market. Lot’s of dogs there, most doing fabulously. Except for these two instances that really made my hackles go up…
- Two handlers with Labradoodles “playing” on leash. One of them on a pinch collar. What effect do you think that dog will get by being constantly “corrected” on a pinch collar while playing?
- I am about 50 feet away when I see a couple with a small terrier mix approach a husky tied up outside of a coffee shop. They let the terrier go right up to the husky (who was completely focused on the coffee shop door, not the terrier). The terrier went directly to his face and then once he got around to the backside of the husky (the correct place to get all the info) the handler pulled him away. By this point Rufus and I were upon them. I put Rufus on my outside so that my body would be between the two and the terrier started pulling towards us. Why wouldn’t he? He was allowed to “greet” the previous dog. The guy yanked him and told him (loudly) to “leave it.” The dog wasn’t leaving anything, just getting yanked away. I made some comment about “maybe you should throw him some treats instead” but I didn’t really do anything to help (which makes me feel lousy) so I’m hoping by writing this someone reading now might find a new way to handle their dog in the same circumstances.
My two cents: #1 It is impossible for dogs to greet (and certainly play!) normally when on a leash. Normal (and polite) dog greetings are nose-to-tail (not nose-to-nose) and involve circular movements. #2 Be consistent – if you let your dog greet one dog when on leash and then change the rules and get mad at him for trying to greet another, isn’t that incredibly frustrating and confusing to your dog?
On leash greeting – tense, not going anywhere good
Off leash greeting AKA polite “how do you do?”