I had an interesting experience today that I thought I would share with you. Mostly I want to get your opinion as to whether I should have thought differently about this than I did.
My boyfriend and I were walking from his house to his car this morning down the sidewalk. He lives on a dead end street, so I usually let my dog walk without a leash to exercise some discipline. This morning was no different was different. However, as we were walking, my dog just to the right of me (within arm’s reach), this yellow lab comes bolting at us, her owners yelling at her to stop. She charged at us, in a friendly manner, trying to sniff my dog who was scared out of his mind. I promptly scruffed her, made sure my dog was out of the street, and held the lab until her owners could waddle their fat hides down the sidewalk to us. They apologized and corrected the dog, I said “no worries,” picked up my dog, and continued walking across the street. I was going over the situation in my head when the woman yelled back at us, “Why don’t you have your dog on a leash?” I turned and replied, “Because my dog is well-behaved.”
Of course, as happens every single time I have a confrontation like this, I thought of 20 more things I could have said that would have really shut her up: “Your dog would have charged us regardless of whether my dog was on a leash.” I really just wanted to say, “Excuse me? Are you singling me out for your dog charging my dog from down the street?” I just couldn’t justify what I had done wrong, if anything.
So, maybe you can tell me what really went on here. Should I have had my dog on a leash on a quiet, dead-end street? I’m not aware of the laws requiring dogs on leashes, but maybe I am breaking the law by having my dog unleashed…if that’s the case, I would rectify it. However, if those people were to get mad at me just because my well-behaved dog, who was standing no further than he would have been had he been on a leash, was off leash and caused their dog to disobey them and run down the street, I just want to laugh. I just can’t see how I was in the wrong here. I almost wish my dog were on a leash and that he had defended himself against that dog just so I could yell at them for having an ill-trained dog off-leash. But what would that have done? They promptly corrected her, so other than maybe needing to give her a bath, they seemed to be doing a fine job.
It’s confrontations like this that make me so angry. I am being penalized for being a good dog owner. I have people get mad at me all the time for not letting their crazed, ill-behaved dog lunge at mine when on leash because I don’t like my dog greeting dogs who haven’t been trained to control themselves. How is this my fault? Maybe I make them feel silly when I deliberately go out of my way to avoid them, but really, people, this is not about me. Everything I do around dog owners like that is to try to get them thinking about different ways to look at their dog and how they are raising this completely dependent creature. I don’t take it lightly.