Letter: Socialized dogs are good for us all

Dogs don't need to be 'friendly' to everyone, they need to be socialized and should be able to ignore others

I need a rant. I had a situation this morning with a Malinois (dog) nipping me while I was carrying a couple of traffic cones onto a soccer pitch.

It wasn’t all that serious or scary (although I did need a first aid person to help get my ring off my swollen finger), but I find I’m getting more and more angry as the day goes on. Why? Because this is what I deal with on a regular basis… people thinking their dog has to be “friendly” with me or with my dog.

I’d rather an unknown dog totally ignore me, not even give me the time of day, because it would rather be with its owner. What a novel idea.

People may say, “Oh, you don’t like dogs.” Untrue. I just want dogs to be treated as dogs – not glorified, spoiled, out-of-control teenagers. Keep your dogs with you. Bouncing ahead to greet other people and other dogs is not friendly – it’s rude, disrespectful, and can easily lead to aggression. Today, for example: the Malenois was most likely playing with me, as the owner stated. But since when is nipping a stranger acceptable? A “come” command or an “I’m sorry” would have been preferred.

After the nip, I thought if I escalate the situation at all, it could be more than play. How do I know your dog is playing? How do I know how far your dog will take it. And tell me, why do I have to be your dog’s playmate?

All this “he’s friendly” language just drives me nuts. I don’t give a hoot if your dog is friendly. My dog is my dog; your dog is your dog. I don’t need to be saying ‘hi’ and acting like a goof-ball every time I see a dog… and neither does your dog.

Socialization is the ability to walk past other people and other dogs without going nutbar.

I get asked so often if my Doberman is “friendly.” They are totally surprised when I say “No, she’s not. She’s taught to ignore you.”

I can see in people they think “well if she’s not friendly, then she must be unfriendly.” No, she’s not that either. She isn’t allowed or constantly encouraged to play with strangers, be they dogs or people.

Here in Victoria, especially, we need a total re-think about dogs. This “friendly” to all attitude doesn’t exist in other places. And I’m doing my best to help change the mentality here… so far, pretty unsuccessfully. I’m hoping writing here might reach a few people and help change even a few dog owner’s attitudes.

Please don’t encourage your dog or let them go up to strangers. Others do not have to love/pet/suffer your dog. It is not friendly. It is not acceptable behaviour for a dog.

End of rant.

Lorna ShawSaanich

 

 

 

 

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