Tuesday, May 17

I'll control mine, part 2

Yesterday, I blathered blogged about human/dog interaction..mainly kids. I won't even touch on ADULTS storming up to my 96 pound Akita and squealing "She is sooo cuuuute!", while reaching for her.  Hello, giant dog??

It's Dog Bite Prevention Week.
This doesn't just mean dog/human.  It's dog/dog, too.
There are so many dog-dog interactions and dog-people interactions I could rival War and Peace.  I'll try to contain myself.

As dog owners, we have a huge responsibility.
Keeping our dogs confined to our property, managing our dogs in a public place, cleaning up after our dogs..the list goes on.
We knew this before getting our dogs.  Big dog, small dog..no matter.
No excuses (though, God knows, I'd love some excuses for Voodoo).

KAT touched on a subject that drives me crazy.  Dog dragging the owner toward someone..someone that does not want to interact with an out of control dog.
We have to control our dogs while in public.  Have to.  Always.
Yes, accidents happen, but if it's happening every time you're out with your dog..ain't no accident, my friend.
Some of us don't have yards, and so public walking has to happen.  Even more important to get control right away.
No judgement here.  Nothing worse than trying to deal with the embarrassment of a spastic dog in a public place.  All those eyes on you....
Gee, this never happened to me personally.  Whatever do you mean? *cough*

There are a million tools available to us.  A million trainers.
Help is available online from fantastic trainers...free.  I've been a member of Sarah Wilson's boards for about 8 years.  Amazing community.
A quick touch on tools:
Michael and I use a variety of tools while training our dogs.  Clicker training, Halti head collars, limited slip collars and yes, even prong collars.  These tools are not cruel by themselves.
 Misuse makes them cruel.  Even a regular buckle collar can be cruel.
I used to cringe at the idea of prong collars and "choke" chain collars.
And then I got Voodoo.  My thinking changed when all my old tricks were not working.
  Is it kinder to allow your dog to gag, wheeze and choke while dragging you on his buckle collar, or is it kinder to have a properly fitted prong help with control while you work toward using the buckle collar? (was that not the worst rambling sentence ever?).  There are safety precautions for all tools.  Read up!
Find the tools that work for you.
Have them explained by an expert.
Use them kindly.

If you don't have excellent verbal control over your dog, keep him on leash. Please.
Getting charged by a strange dog is frightening, even if your dog is friendly.
Getting charged by strange dog while hiking with dogs that don't appreciate getting charged?  Potentially catastrophic.
  My dogs are willing to politely walk by all dogs.  That is what is expected of them.  They are not expected to happily deal with rude dogs.  They are dogs.
  It's normal for dogs to NOT want strange dogs barreling toward them.  In Dog-ese, that is considered very rude.  Compare it to a strange man running out of the woods toward you and getting 2 inches from your face.  Time for Mace, right?  Most dogs agree.
Even in designated off leash areas (if it isn't a dog park), make sure that other owners want interaction between dogs.

A couple things we use to deter strange dogs:
We carry a shake can (empty soda can with some change inside and the hole taped).  This deters most dogs.  Very startling noise, but that's kind of the point.  We train our dogs to the sound of the can..shake can means treats!
Carrying a pop-up umbrella also works.  That sudden POOF startles dogs, and then you've got a bit of a barrier between you and the strange dog.  Pre-train your dogs to the umbrella.
Yes, both of these things have angered other dog owners.  I'm ok with that.  Our safety & comfort first, but I'm also trying to prevent dog fights.

I'm going to stop now (diet War and Peace? War and Peace lite?)...
Respect dogs and dog people, respect non-dog people.
Control, train, clean up..and have FUN with your dogs out and about.

There is nothing wrong with having a homebody dog, either.  I've got one of those :)