Monday, January 12, 2015

Never Trust Other Dog Owners!

"Let's Be Friends!!!"
(Note: This story is not about the dog that is in this picture.)

In the spirit of Monday Mischief, I want to try and keep this light even though the situation could of been extremely serious. No dogs were harmed in the making of this post! I would also like to say that I'm trying so hard not to stereotype, though, we have had WAY more bad incidents with small dogs than good. I truly believe there are good and bad owners of all types of dogs and I never blame the dog. I also applaud all of you who are actually training your dogs who are struggling with issues! I know how tough it can be!

Never Trust Other Dog Owners!! Unless you know them and their dogs and even then keep in mind that dogs are dogs and sometimes they will surprise you! I've spent two years studying Phoenix's behavior and some of her shenanigans have totally blown me away. Take the picture above, she generally doesn't like black dogs. She got along with that one just fine and even attempted to make friends and play with him! Although, we have been spending a ton of time on CC/DS with black dogs, so maybe the training is finally starting to work!! Who knows!?!

Anyways....

The other day I was out walking my dogs. I usually take them for their longer walk around 4pm (unless we've been to Thousand Acres), that way I can grab the mail on the way back because our mail always arrives super late. On our way back there was an elderly lady kind of hanging out with her maltese, who was on the end of a flexi lead (SIGH), by the mail boxes. The maltese was a little barky and that can get Phoenix kind of excited and worked up so I decided to walk around the block hoping that by the time I got back the lady would be gone.

 "More walks!?! Let's do this!!"

I ended up walking them around the block twice! Thirty minutes later, the lady and her dog were still there. I knew the mail had already come because the mail boxes are directly in front of my apartment and our windows face them. It's starting to get late and I had been waiting for a package. Our packages go directly to the manager's office, they leave a note in your box if you have one and the office closes at 6! 

My first mistake was that I was distracted and thinking about mail and my second happens to be that I generally feel sorry for people who seem lonely and I figured that lady must be lonely. She's hanging out around the mail boxes talking to people as they get their mail and I felt sorry for her. My third mistake was trusting her and my fourth was not taking my dogs back inside and just going to get the mail by myself. Even if I had taken them back inside, we still would of had to pass her somehow, so  the situation may still have happened.

I approached very slowly, holding Phoenix's collar and talking her into being polite and trying to get her to calm down. Which actually works with her. She's generally not leash reactive (she's more excited and hyper than anything) unless another dog starts something with her first, which is a plus. She is also really good about calming down when I hold her close and pet her. 

The lady told me that her dog was friendly and just "talkative". I've been around a ton of maltese and they are generally nice, happy go-lucky dogs, so I trusted her. My fifth and final mistake was not paying close enough attention to the dog's body language, although in my defense, the dog's coat was very over grown and sort of matted so it was hard to tell. I could not see her eyes, either. 

Zoe went to approach the dog to say hi and the dog flew at her face in an aggressive rage. Zoe was so startled by this that she jumped back and landed on my legs, which was super painful for both of us. The next thing that happened shocked the hell out of me. The lady started laughing. She thought it was funny that her dog had just attacked mine. 

"I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR FACE OFF WHILE MY OWNER LAUGHS!!!"
"MUAHAHAHA"
(Not the actual dog, photo was borrowed from google)

Big Sigh. Zoe is already pretty wary of smaller dogs because this is not the first time this has happened. We had several incidents at our last apartment complex with three different dogs belonging to different people. Two were chihuahuas and one was a chihuahua/pomeranian mix. These owners would let their dogs run around off leash in an unfenced complex. They would just leave their back patio doors cracked and let their dogs out unattended. It was a very frustrating situation. The last time Zoe was attacked at that complex she did not react well but I was able to grab her and pick her up and the dog was still biting at her feet as she was in my arms!! It was so bad.

Which brings me to my next point. Dogs are dogs and no matter what size they are, they should be trained and socialized properly. I have spent the last two years with Phoenix working on her socially awkward issues! As much as possible, I was out training her. There's just really no excuses for not training your dog. If you don't want to train keep them home and if you can't keep them home at least be honest with other owners! If your dog is going to eat mine, please let me know! I always tell everyone that Phoenix is socially awkward and give them the full disclosure that she's a work in progress. 

Even though I don't want to stereotype I will say this: I've met so many small dog owners who don't train their dogs. Or they blame others for their dog's bad behavior and it's somehow okay because their dog is little. The behavior is not cute or funny, no matter what size the dog is! If your dog is aggressive or has other issues (ie: rude, pushy, etc), just because he is small doesn't make it okay. That's how some of the little guys get killed. They run into a dog that is just not going to put up with them. Every dog, no matter what size they are, should get training. Saying "Oh, sorry!! She's got little dog syndrome" doesn't make it okay. I'm really passionate about this and I could go on for days about it but I will stop here. It just frustrates me a lot and it's a situation I see over and over again.

We did end up getting our package and right before the office closed! I also managed to not freak out at the little old lady for her dog being naughty but I will be avoiding her next time, for sure!!

"I almost got eaten by a tiny white she-devil!! Oh well, at least I got mail!!"
The girls got some toys from Kygen, we'll be reviewing them next week! 

Did you know that January is National Train Your Dog Month? In our house we train every day but it's nice to have a website like that for some extra motivation. As always, if anyone has any training questions, please feel free to comment below or email me! :) 









48 comments:

  1. We find some of the meanest dogs are the tiny ones. I can be unfriendly now and then, so Mom tells strangers I may not be friendly, but there are so many idiots who say, my dog is friendly, so don't worry. What does that have to do with anything, the point is, I may not be friendly. Grrr...not always easy. Glad no one was hurt really.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, unfortunately we've come across the same thing. :( Which makes me sad because some of my favorite breeds are small. Phoenix can be cranky with other dogs sometimes, too!

      Delete
  2. Holy cow, you did better than me. I would have lost it. Well, maybe not so much with a little old lady, but still. Perhaps a training thought in her ear would have been good. There is a stigma that people think small dogs are yappy ankle biters. Owning Roxy, and training her properly, I know it can be done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, exactly! I know a bunch of people with little dogs that really take the time to work with them. It's sad that they are the minority, though! :(

      Delete
  3. A "tiny white she-devil" you crack me up! Happy everything's okay though, happy monday.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So much "yes" to this post. Our biggest issues tend to come from small dog owners and thinking their negative behavior is cute. I've lost track of the number of times Mauja and Atka have been attacked by a little dog and the owners laughed. Apparently, it's just too funny that my giant dogs don't "fight back".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it definitely frustrates me! I mean any dog that is out of control annoys me but I think it bothers me more that people think it's okay or even funny when their small dogs are bad.

      Delete
  5. I think because the tiny ones weigh so little, people don't feel they need to bother socializing them or training them with proper manners. I've seem so many people reel them in like fish, even pulling them up into the air by their collars to stop their bad behavior. They should think about the fact that it doesn't take much for that larger dog they are picking on to bite and kill a tiny dog. Even if it doesn't get that ugly, it's just plain rude. And as Emma said above, my Jimmy is a 50/50 dog. I never know what dog he will decide to take a dislike to. So as anyone approaches, I just say my dog is not friendly. So many people disregard it, and sure enough, Jimmy snarks the dog. Usually I just walk way wide so I don't have to deal with stupid people. And for those who are letting their dogs run free, they get what they get when their dog runs up into Jimmy's face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep! I totally agree with you and I've seen the same things! I hate it when they pick them up that way, too!!

      Delete
  6. I feel so bad for you. Dakota can be "socially awkward too" and as a matter of fact, it is the little dogs that he likes the least. It is totally irresponsible of that woman to have laughed, I give you credit for controlling yourself, I sure wouldn't have!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe thanks!! I was really unimpressed by it but I didn't want to yell at the lady. Socially awkward issues are so not fun to deal with. We've been working with Phoenix for 2 years and sometimes it can be really hard.

      Delete
  7. I've been there. Monty is reactive to other dogs - walks can be more stressful than they should be.

    Monty and Harlow (Hello!)

    ReplyDelete
  8. HA, I couldn't agree more! I so understand your frustration with owners of toy breeds ~ I know MANY and not ONE of them who deems it necessary to train their dogs, because...wait for it...they are small and won't hurt you or your dog!! WHAT?!

    When we took our basic obedience class with our pups, who are medium to large size Boxer mixes, there was also one small breed dog taking the class. The owner ended up dropping out of the (wonderfully taught!) class, because she wasn't willing to follow through with the training and thought it was superfluous after all, as her dog was JUST a small dog. SIGH.

    Proper K9 socialization and responsible dog ownership are my favorite topics as well, and just like you, I could talk about them all day long..sometimes I do!! I wrote a post about how to train your dog to speak today ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep!! I totally agree!!

      Also, back to your first paragraph where a little dog can't hurt you... SIGH.. I've known people who said the same thing and being that I worked in the grooming salon.. Let me tell you, one of the worst bites I've ever seen was from an 8lb toy poodle. She launched out of her crate and latched onto my bather and wouldn't let go. She ended up severing the nerve in my bather's finger and to this day, she still has no feeling in the tip of her finger!

      I was also bitten by a pekignese once, the dog launched himself off the ground and went for my face, he got my arm and put 5 punctures into it. It sucked!

      Delete
    2. and oops.. I mean to say where you said people think a little dog can't hurt you! I didn't mean to imply that you felt that way! :)

      Delete
    3. No worries, I got it ;-)
      Wow, that's terrible that you & your bather got bitten..I've been lucky so far and have not had any bite wounds as of yet. It's truly a shame that owners of small breeds tend to be so irresponsible as far as dog manners are concerned ~ I doubt they would tolerate the same behavior in a large, powerful dog breed!!

      Delete
  9. My sisfur Taffy is now called the Killer Cocker. Before mom got to know how Taffy behaved, she's gone off a few times on other dogs, embarrassed her to death. She now keeps a tight hold on her and tells people "not friendly!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe!! Poor Taffy and your poor mom!! I know how embarrassing that can be! We didn't know Phoenix was socially awkward when we first got her, either!! I am for sure talking about the people who fully know their dogs have issues but don't care or think it's funny. :)

      Delete
  10. Geez, how unfortunate. I agree with you though - not all dog owners are conscientious and they do view little dogs as a non threat. I usually counter with something about my dog being able to eat your little dog...

    ReplyDelete
  11. You're a better person than I am. I would've flipped my shit. It's people like that that makes it incredibly difficult for t people like myself. I work my ass off to have well behaved dogs, and people are always making jabs at them, even though they're behaving! Bully people bitch about what a hard time they have, but to be honest I think responsible dog owners have the shit end of the stick.

    I always warn people if they want to interact with my dogs. Nola isn't allowed to great strange dogs most of the time, as if the dog acts the slightest bit rude she will correct it. She isn't aggressive, but she will tell off another dog, no matter the size. I tell people that Pike is very revered and doesn't like other dogs. He doesn't do anything but shrink back behind me. Olivia loves other dogs, but I will let people know that she is 6 months old and still a puppy. In training, but a puppy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TBH, I think the lady might have been a bit... "off her rocker..." but I can't tell you how many other times this has happened and the owner thought it was funny.

      Nola sounds so much like Zoe! Zoe will put up with stuff up to a point and then she's done and she will go after them and correct them. It happened at my friend's house. The little dog kept pushing her around and finally she was over it (towards the end of the evening!) and corrected her. It's just like with us.. there's only so much you can put up with and then just lose it.

      Delete
  12. UGH! How horrible!!! My one husky has small dog syndrome, and with good reason too! They go nutso!! And their owners seem to think it's cute!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I can't tell you how many owners I've run across who thought their dogs being aggressive was cute.. I'm like.. nope!!

      Delete
  13. I love that you refer to Phoenix as socially awkward! That's a great way to put it. One of the biggest red flags for me now is when people tell me their dog is friendly although it makes it much easier for me to deal with them because I can just say, "She's not" and it's amazing how quickly they pull their dogs away from Barley. Sorry you all had such a bad experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I had to come up with something to say because she's not 100% dog aggressive. When she gets scared she gets snarky and then sometimes when she plays she plays too rough and gets nippy at that point as well but she's not "kill, kill, KILL ALL THE DOGS!!" So I had to come up with something that reflected her issues. LOL

      Delete
    2. I think it's super cute! Barley likes some dogs and as long as they aren't yapping or moving quickly, she is usually ok as long as they don't come into her face. Our trainer told us to just exaggerate, though, because sadly people tend to not get it unless I say, "She's not friendly"--which I guess I get since she's so smiley she looks super friendly. Our trainer said she tells people "My dog bites" just to keep them away on trails. It would be so much easier if people would just use common sense with their dogs, wouldn't it?

      Delete
  14. Glad no one was hurt. I had small dogs and worked very hard to have them be friendly. I think a lot of people think they don't have to worry about little ones, sigh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I agree with you. It's sad. They think because they're little everything they do is okay.

      Delete
  15. Oh my gosh. I would have absolutely lost it! Good for you for controlling your anger! I agree with you about small dog owners in general - I LOVE little dogs, but lots of times they are very poorly socialized and untrained just because their owners for some reason think, "They're so small; how much damage can they do?"

    I work in a dog boarding facility, and you wouldn't believe how many little dog owners think their dog biting, snapping, or growling is funny or adorable. They'll say things like, "She's a big dog in a little dog's body" and laugh. I wish more people understand that all dogs need training, regardless of their size!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YEP!! I couldn't agree more!! Same here, when I worked in the grooming salon!!! People thought their little dogs biting us was funny. It is SO not funny!!

      Delete
  16. Ok, I am about to rant here. I CANNOT STAND THIS! I have gotten to the point where I cross the street and just pretend that my dogs aren't friendly (even though they are ridiculously friendly) because I DO NOT trust others. The boys have been attached by dogs in their yards who run into the street while my boys are innocently passing by on their leashes, dogs whose owners don't recognize that I have crossed the street to avoid them because their dogs body language says "attack".The problem is not the dog but the owner. For those of us with big dogs if we don't socialize and train them, they would be too strong and unruly, its necessary. I don't think that all small dog owners feel this same urgency. This is not the a condemnation of small dogs or small dog owners, but owners who just don't get it! One of the worst situations we ever had was with a very unfriendly golden and her owner that put her in a bad situation. It bothers me so much because of how unsafe it is for the boys! OK, deep breaths!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't stand it, either!! It goes for pretty much ANY rude dog no matter what size they are.

      Delete
  17. Little Dog Syndrome is always about the people, not the dog. I remember I took a training class with two of my dogs, and in the class was a teenager and her brother with a chihuahua. That thing was yipping and yapping and acting up in the first class. But here's the thing; those two kids obviously took the training seriously because by the end of the classes, that little dog was sweet and well behaved. So there. Any dog can be trained, and if kids can do it, adults can too. After the class was over, I told the two kids that I was really impressed at the work they put in and how everyone was better for it.

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I complete agree with you!! I have met some amazing little dogs, but our bad experiences far out weigh the good. It makes me sad because I love all dogs and I wish every owner would take their training seriously.

      Delete
  18. I have a snoodle who likes most dogs but immediately hates others - especially unfixed males bigger than him. He's fixed. The vet said this is not unusual - I'm cautious but don't want him to pick up on my fear vibe. Most of the time he's OK, but an odd time he'll surprise me. I'm also his fourth owner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neutered males hating intact males is actually really common!! I know a ton of them! Good for you for being cautious!!

      Delete
  19. Wow, glad no one got hurt at least (well, except your legs when she jumped on you). Yes, I've seen that a lot with some small dog owners - I think a lot of folks think if they can pick the dog up, they can put an end to it's acting up, and that's just easier than working on training. It sucks when something happens that sets back your own training! Hopefully this wont' be a set back for you, but I have the same fears every time I walk Rita!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I've had so many similar incidents, although not necessarily with small dogs. I recently had someone whose Lab was looming and growling at Shyla say that his dog was "usually okay with other dogs". Since he was on my land, I must admit that I became the bossiest bitch ever, telling him that "usually" wasn't good enough. I really gave it to him (including telling him to get off my land right now), and now I think he's avoiding me forevermore. That's fine with me. Shyla emerged unscathed. Her psyche is so delicate that I have to stand up for her.

    I agree that there's no excuse for not training your dog, and, if for some reason you cannot do so, then you must manage them so they don't cause problems for others. Period.

    BTW, I'm having tons of fun with training my dogs this month. They're a hoot a minute :) Today, I started to teach Shyla to do squats, like you showed in your video. She knows to rest both paws on my arm now but she lets go when I start to raise it. It's Day 1 of it, so I'm happy with where we are!!! thanks for showing that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That must be so frustrating!! Having people come onto your land!! I would freak out, too!!

      I'm so glad you liked my video and are having fun with the doggie squats!! :D

      Delete
  21. We have been into rescue for over thirty years. We adopted Stella from Sheltie rescue two years ago. She was three, and very shy. She had never been taught anything. With a lot of work she is great! She has confidence, is outgoing, but is not pushy. She is a lady. I understand this post, and unfortunately understand. I know people who refuse to change their dog's behaviour. Sad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome about Stella!! Good job!! :D

      Delete
  22. I probably would not have been so nice. We have a few hard and fast rules that we just do not budge on. One is that we do not let our dogs socialize with strange dogs no matter what their owners claim. People say "oh he/she is friendly" when they aren't. Chessies won't put up with being attacked or growled at or snapped at. I remember once we were at a park ready to train and this woman kept walking her dog all around our truck. I kid you not. She had the whole park but stuck to our truck like glue. We just waited her out...lol. I am sure her dog was OK but we didn't know her and the park is not a doggie daycare.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well as you know this is a pet peeve of mine as well. I can't tell you how many encounters we've had similar to this. You showed great restraint not saying something to that woman, I probably would have let her have it. One day this just might get her little dog killed and she won't be laughing then, will she?

    Here's a story for you. My mom has been in convalescent home recovering from her fall. They allow dogs there and I saw (what I think was) a mini pinscher with an elderly gentleman on a (UGH) flexi-leash. He was at the desk signing out when another woman was leaving with her dog. The other woman was paying attention and trying to hang back but he was taking his sweet time dawdling at the desk. I watched the mini pin trying to get at the other dog (not aggressively) and eventually the woman decided to sneak past. I had just signed out and was exiting the doors when the mini pin won against the flexi-leash and trapped the other dog against the wall. There was no snapping or growling, but just rudeness on the mini pin. At this point the guy says, "Oh I'm sorry, I didn't know." And my big mouth said, "That's because you weren't paying attention" as I left. It could have been very ugly, especially with my mouth. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I think what is very frustrating for me is that there are many dog owners [small dog and large dog alike] who do not accurately understand their dog's body language or behavior, and often times these are people with really terrible dogs that think it is okay for their dog to interact with other dogs. I have seen a number of idiot large breed owners, but I feel like a lot of small dog owners think their pets behavior is cute because the dog is small. Like I said on FB, I can understand it to a degree because a 10lb dog is not going to inflict a lot of damage, so it isn't a huge threat, BUT the fact is the dog is misbehaving. It shouldn't matter how 'dangerous' it is, it is bad behavior that should be taken seriously. I also think small dogs tend to be put on the back burner as far as training. A majority that come through the clinic do not know anything beyond sit - if they even know how to sit.

    ReplyDelete

Hi! Thank you for commenting!
All comments are being moderated for spam.
Thank you for understanding!