A nice thing about having a dog larger than the palm of your hand is the fact that you feel obligated as an owner to take them for walks on a regular basis. It’s healthy for them, healthy for you, and gives you an excuse to wear that cool looking “athletic” windbreaker even though you haven’t played in competitive sports since elementary dodgeball. For every positive though there is always that lingering, scathing negative part of your happy go lucky world of dog walking in the neighborhood park. And we’re not even going to touch the concept of dogs in purses. No.
You see, in most public parks there are these nifty signs that tell you important information. What time the park closes, what number to call if you see graffiti marking hooligans, and usually a line mentioning that your dogs must be leashed at all times. There is no addendum or separate clause for “friendly” dogs, or “tiny” dogs, or even “half blind senior” dogs. All dogs. There is no exception to this. It likes smelling butts and sticking its nose in dirt? Put it on a leash. (This standard can include small children as well).
But many owners seem to consider themselves the exception. Which, as I just mentioned, doesn’t exist. You claim your dog is so small it couldn’t harm a flea, so letting him run around the park only adds to the adorableness factor of our property value. You can claim that your dog is ridiculously friendly; it would never attack another dog or human, so training its hunting skills by having it chase a neon colored ball is perfectly safe. You might even claim that you have such good control over your furry friend that one word from you and it will cease and desist all pleasurable rompings.
I don’t give a damn. Because you see, my dog is not of the tiny, cannot-harm-a-flea variety. He is nearly 80 pounds of tiger-hunting-wild-boar-slaying ancestry. (You only wish I were joking) And he does not take kindly to your runt, specifically if it’s a male runt yipping around his feet. Your entire dog could fit inside my dog’s mouth, and he would probably still be yipping.
The overly friendly dog? On certain occasions I’ve noticed that overly friendly is synonymous with stupid. As in the “I’m so happy with my new friend that I’m going to charge at him with joyful glee even though he’s growling at me and showing off his sharp sharp teeth”. I have a soft spot for dogs, even stupid dogs, so when I see some idiot puppy come bounding over in hopes of frolicking I have my dog sit while I place myself in between them so I can test the waters. I don’t know if my dog will reciprocate the lack of stranger danger mentality, and I’d much rather not find out the hard way.
For the amazingly obedient-dog owners: show me proof. There are ways to be certified of your amazingly professional dog training skills, and until you show me you are I will distance myself and my dog away from yours as much as possible; which you should be doing on your own anyway. In most states there are variations of the “one bite” rule; meaning that if your dog bites another dog or person even once, there are potentially devastating legal repercussions. I put my dog on a leash because even though he’s friendly and well trained, there is always that off chance of a testosterone/domination/plain out I don’t like you skirmish that can happen, and I am not willing to put myself or anyone else through that anxiety. So use that leash!
Or take them to the dog park, it’s like 10 minutes away for crying out loud. Jeez.