Hey lady on your morning walk: not everyone thinks your dog is awesome

"Oh that
“Oh that’s just James, he wouldn’t hurt a fly — go ahead and have a pat”

Last weekend, I went out for a nice morning walk. I was heading up a leafy hill that leads to the the showgrounds in town, and a woman had a beautiful big dog on a leash, about 10 metres ahead of me. Notice I described the dog as ‘beautiful’ — it’s not dogs I have a problem with, it’s their owners.

She stopped when she saw me. Woman and dog sussed me out. Woman narrowed gaze, dog pricked ears. Then I was inexplicably given the all-clear and she RELEASED THE HOUND, who came hurtling down the hill and jumped all over me, licking my face and snapping its wet jaws excitedly an inch from my nose.

I could smell the Pal on its breath.

The owner must have noticed my discomfort. The angry scowl on my face probably gave it away.

“If you don’t want her to jump on you, just tell her to sit,” she laughed. She clearly loved her canine, and wanted me to love it too.

But since when did having a huge dog throw itself at you in a public place become an opt-out? I think it must be a country thing.

I glared at her.

“I don’t want to have to tell her to sit,” I said. “Why should I have to tell her to sit? I’m just out for a walk, minding my own business, and I don’t want anyone or anything to jump and slobber on me, unless it’s my boyfriend, or Johnny Depp.”

Dogs are like overexcited children with sharp teeth who poo everywhere and never grow up

Let’s face it: dogs don’t have a clue about personal space.

Most people intuitively respect a stranger’s body language signals and don’t intrude into that invisible no-go zone we put around ourselves of one to two metres.

Dogs on the other hand, could do with reading a few Allan Pease books.

It’s not their fault; I put the blame squarely on the owners, who neglect to train them, fence them in or put them on leashes in public places.

This results in consequences as mildly annoying as what happened to me, to the kinds of attacks on both strangers and owners we hear about in the media on a regular basis.

Most people have a dog attack story.

My mum and our family’s small terrier were attacked by four dobermans off leads in a park, while the owner did nothing.

My friend was told when she visited someone’s house, “Oh go ahead, give her a pat, she wouldn’t hurt a fly”, then did the obligatory owner-pleasing pat, only to have her hand badly bitten.

And therein lies the problem: some people become so besotted with their dogs, they begin to think of them as humans. They’re part of the family, sure, and there’s nothing like a dog’s love and loyalty. We’ve had some beautiful dogs in our family, so I know.

"You lookin
“You lookin’ at me?”

But they’re also territorial, protective, unpredictable and lethal in certain circumstances — which is why fences and leashes were invented.

So, to the dog owners out there who I observe doing dumb things with dogs, such as sitting them on their laps while they drive, allowing them to run freely around children’s parks or even freely in your own unfenced yard, completely free to terrorise the postie and little old ladies walking their poodles — stop.

Not everyone thinks your dog is awesome.

24 thoughts on “Hey lady on your morning walk: not everyone thinks your dog is awesome”

  1. Agreed Leigh. I’d add to the list owners who bring their dogs by car to someone else’s lovely, unspoilt road and let the dog poop anywhere, jump back in the car and leave their mess for someone else to clean up. Grrrr!

    1. The hide! Sad to see yet another dog attack in on the Sunshine Coast yesterday, a young boy on Buddina beach, attacked by a rottweiler off leash. Poor kid.

  2. Sympathise with you totally – a little respect from pooch owners please, we all really want to live and let live but letting your dog jump up on someone when they are clearly uncomfortable with it is nothing short of aggressive! I do feel sorry for all the wee abandoned post-Xmas puppies though. Enjoying your site btw, thanks 🙂

  3. I loved this article – I read it in the hinterland times. everyone I meet thinks that their dog is an exception to my dislike and fear of dogs. I hold so much appreciation for this =)

  4. Have just read your article in the Hinterland times. I must be one of the few responsible and respectful dog owners left by the sounds of the article and the comments.

    We have a very large dog (65kgs) and he is anti social at the best of times. If he is out in public he is without fail attached to a strong leash and only walked by my much-stronger other half. We are in full control when we have him on leash. During the day he is locked inside (more for his own safety – dog theft is rife in QLD).

    My pet hate is also other dogs off leash because their owners just don’t have control over them and freely let them run up and say hi. Not a good outcome when my dog doesn’t like other dogs. I don’t visit public off leash areas for this very reason.

    I would just like to be able to walk my dog without other people and dogs approaching us. Stay away from us and we will stay away from you.

    And parents – educate your kids to not just randomly approach dogs! They may not like you. A bit of education goes a very long way. If you want to pat a dog you see in public then stop some distance from the owner and ask if its ok to pat the dog.

    And yes I pick up all of his poop…as un-glamorous as that task may be – you shouldn’t take them for a walk if you don’t have doggie bags with you!

    I can fully agree with your article and what you are saying – and I wish all dog owners would be as courteous and respectful as we try to be.

    1. Thanks Tara. Yeah I’ve spoken with a lot of dog owners who say the same. I’ve also spoken with dog owners who dislike children running up to their dogs to pat them, with the parents doing nothing to intervene. Lots of education needed all-round I’d say. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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