Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yes I'm a control freak

So it is day 5 of the Idita-walk 2011 event. I managed to have enough free daylight time today to take Jack for a real walk. (I treadmill it on the days I don't.) My sister is recovering from a back strain so came with me on the walk sans her own dogs.
It was a pretty good walk right up until the very end. We had taken a few minutes to sit on a bench near the water to cool off and someone drove into the adjoining lot with a dog they let out of the car. We kept a watchful eye on the dog and eventually they put him on leash. Thankfully it was before he spied us.
I always worry about off leash dogs. Chalk that up to previous bad experiences with past dogs. This is why I most often walk on main streets where people have to have their dogs on leash. So many people think they have them under voice control but once they see another dog they almost always go up to them to say hello. (if you're lucky)
I really dislike that people with dog friendly dogs think this is ok to do. Yes your dog may be good with other dogs but that doesn't mean the one I have with me is. Or maybe my dog hates being on leash when another dog rushes him. This can result in a nice dog fight. And guess what? The on leash dog will get blamed because, "Why are you walking an aggressive dog?" says the off leash dogs owner. Um because there is a leash law which should mean my dog is safe from this sort of problem. Even the friendliest dog can become a shark if they feel trapped as well.
I have this rule. My dogs don't play with other dogs or even greet them unless I know them well and can control the situation to some degree. This keeps my dogs safe for their own protection. The last thing I want for Jack especially is to have negative experiences meeting other dogs. So I stick to my rule pretty strictly. Once the dogs owner got him leashed we stood up and circled around them to head to our car. They saw us and headed our way. "Oh this ones friendly and likes to play with other dogs. Is he ok?" the owner says. "It depends on the other dog." I say and keep walking clearly NOT in his direction. My sister was in between us while I kept Jack moving. Because he does like most other dogs he got bouncy and happy at the possibility of another doggy playtime. (He had just had one with Chuck. See video below.) I don't say anything else and keep on walking. "Oh well akitas are aggressive." the man says as we pass by.
My head threatened to explode. It's funny about situations like that. I always think of the best things to say after the person is out of range. But my sister pointed out that it might not be a bad thing for him to think if it keeps his dog from approaching others in the future.
Here's a tip people, ask before heading in our direction or assuming my dog wants to play just because yours does. And don't take it personally of we say no. And please don't make remarks about our dog being bad because we said no. You have no idea why we might be saying no. How do you know my dog doesn't have something contagious? (This is the number one reason people shouldn't let their dogs socialize in a vet's office waiting room. That and because many dogs get stressed there as well. Being stressed and confined on leash in a small area is always a recipe for disaster.)
I do admit though that I felt a little bad. Jack could have had a great time playing with him and I ruined it by being a control freak. But then again if ruining a potential playtime now and then means keeping him safe then I'll keep doing it. I will always err on the side of caution for my dogs' sake.

Here is Jack and Chuck playing at the Loyal Biscuit Co. The video was taken from my phone so I apologize for the poor quality. Yup them akitas are aggressive alright!


Heidi V. said...

Jack was a total gentle giant when playing with Chuck today. It was a great play date for both of them!

Jan said...

I'd much rather be a control freak than a lax freak. I think my dogs prefer it too.

themacinator said...

well, geez, jack IS one of those aggressive akitas! look at that video!!!

i don't think it's a control freak thing- i prefer to think of it as setting your dog up for success. you did that nicely. it's stressful, though, i've been living it for years!

Yrro said...

Well, and even if your dog does generally get along...

We have a long-coated Akita who looks like she could be Jack's little sister. She loves other dogs in general, plays great at dog parks and our friend's dogs. She even managed to play with a our friend's 5 lb Yorkie.

She also nearly took a friend's Husky's head off. She just hates that one dog, and they got tangled up together and she just took her down.

You know never know when your dog is going to find just that one dog that doesn't get along with her. This Husky has a history of starting fights, and we should have been watching more carefully, but we thought we *were* watching...

So, anyway, given the consequences, I don't begrudge anyone some caution with strange dogs.

Urban canines said...

I completely agree with you!!!

If I don't know you or your dog why would you let your dog touch my dog? I don't expect strangers to come into my personal space uninvited, so why should my dogs?

Growing up on a farm and showing horses we never let our horses touch other peoples. I was shocked when I moved to the city and people let their dogs run up to mine without warning.

People boggle my mind sometimes but I am glad there are other like minded people out there.

jess said...

i know how you feel!!!!!!!
ivan is getting a bit crabby in his old age, so i try to keep his interactions with other dogs to a minimum. he's always GREAT with dash, but other dogs? it's dicey.

but people always let their dogs come over to him on walks, even when i try and put myself between them, don't make eye contact and say things like "come on, ivan, i know you want to play, but you get grouchy sometimes."
and the people are like OH THEY'LL BE FINE. or that's okay "so-and-so" needs a little bite.
great. i don't want it to be from my dog though. >:(

and most of the time he IS fine (maybe just a little dominant) but i'd rather just avoid an altercation. first of all it's traumatizing FOR ME. and it's not good for ivan's little psyche either. plus? he's small! if the other dog is bigger and decides to bite back?? not good.
okay, i'm getting off my soap box now.