There’s a great deal of False Bravado with some pitbull owners. They strut their stuff with dogs bred to look tough and, sometimes, act tough. I own a pitbull and have to deal with folks who think this is what all pitbulls, and their owners, are like.
Living in a small village, I assumed dog owners would keep their dogs on leash and respect other dog owners. Many don’t, surprisingly. There are a few different reasons for this –
- Irresponsibility – especially those young “kids” (which means about 18-25 to my 47 years), don’t think about it. There’s a bar near here where dogs are allowed and dogs are let loose because (and I DO remember the day) too much beer has been consumed.
- Belief That Dogs Deserve to Roam Around – there’s a neighbor I used to have who let her dog run loose all over the neighborhood. Her view seemed to be that dogs are meant to roam, despite the fact that a major thruway is a block away.
- Bravado – ah, here we go. Don’t assume that the “inner city” is the only place strong, sometimes scary, dogs are paraded as an extension of the owner’s mojo. I’ve seen an owner up here who walks his dog off-leash and defies anyone to complain (this is not a toy poodle).
So, what do you do? Whether it’s negligence or a need to say “Hey, I can control my dog off-leash – if she attacks or bothers you and your dog, it’s your dog’s fault.”
Dealing with the dog –
- Don’t assume because you live in an area where you don’t expect to run across Bravado (and off-leash dogs) that it can’t happen. Be prepared.
- If an off-leash dog comes toward you, start with being annoyingly cutesy – “Hello there, you are lovely. What a good dog!”
- If the dog keeps coming and you sense aggression, pull your on-leash dog back and stick your leg out towards the dog’s chest to create some space between you all.
- If it continues, kick the dog in the chest (I’ll get a lot of criticism on that one).
Dealing with the dog owner –
- You have every right to scream for the owner and, I feel, certain curse words are justified as well.
- If it’s a case of continued Bravado, i.e. the guy who lives down the street, trying to talk to him first May be the best bet. But don’t do that if you’re wary about his reaction.
- Call the Dog Warden. The police should be able to give you that number. Here, at least, you don’t have to give your name to report a problem such as this. But you do have to give your name to the police. Remember, you may be dealing with someone who could retaliate.
- Keep checking in with the dog warden to access the situation.
Our dogs are, of course, our precious companions and protecting them and ourselves is of the utmost importance. Don’t feel “stuck” if you’ve got someone who creates this dangerous atmosphere.