Monday, April 12, 2010

Dog walkers...Caveat Canis!

Yesterday I was reminded of how important it is to teach your dog the 'come' command. I own two dogs and walk others but I never let any dog off leash unless I am 100% certain of their recall. It is safer for me and for the little dogs.

Today at a park I met a lady who had a fairly large dog pack of close to 15 dogs, all sizes and all colours and all off leash. One of them decided to follow me and my little client. Shout as she may the little dog did not listen. The little fellow was a very cute dog but had no recall whatsoever.

Eventually I concluded she would follow me and I left the park with the dog and approached the road I saw that she was not following us but had elicited the help of a total stranger to 'catch' the dog. I caught the little dog, calmed him down and gave him to the dog catcher.

Folks if you are thinking of a dog walker ask the following questions for your dog's sake:

1)How many dogs do you walk at a time?
2) What is your off leash policy?
3) What kind of restraints do you have in the car?
4) Are you or have you taken a course in pet first aid?
5) Does your dog know the 'come' command? If not get your little dog trained.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rules for small dog owners.

The bane of most dog parks and neighborhoods is not the snarling large breed dog, but almost always a yapping, aggressive pint sized terrorist, otherwise known as the 'small dog'. Small dogs have a terrible reputation. Every small dog that I have met is always lunging at its leash, or other people, or cowers and growls after a few minutes. The owners simply laugh when the dog lunges or behaves in unacceptably aggressive ways.

I am the owner of a small dog and a medium sized dog. The small dog, the Lhasa apso requires much more training and discipline then does my small retriever.

Yesterday, I was walking past the drug store and a small dog, looked a little bit like a cross between a Yorkshire terrier and a Pomeranian came charging out of the door, not on leash towards my two well behaved dogs. I chided the lady for not being able to control her dogs and told her her dog was aggressive. She denied it and said her dog simply did not like dogs on leashes.

My pack and I went to the pet store where she followed us, this time with her tiny terror in her arms.

The problem with small dogs is invariably their owners. They do not spend the time or the energy to train these dogs thinking they are cute or toys. As a result, they soon become unhappy, yappy and aggressive little creatures. You would not dream of not spending any time to train a large what makes small dog owners think they can simply unleash their terrorists on owners of well behaved dogs and on well behaved dogs.

My little dog is a therapy dog and for the most part pretty unflappable but he was taken aback when lunged and barked at.

Here are what I consider some very basic rules for small dog owners:

1) My small dog is not a toy, but a living breathing dog that I will treat with respect and dignity
2) I will train my dog in basic obedience and reprimand him or her if they become aggressive
3) When my dog is aggressive I will not pick it up and cuddle it, but remind it of its place in the world and of my place as the dog's owner.

As small dog owners we have a responsibility to change the bad reputation of small dogs by becoming responsible owners!