Whatever happened to having your dog walk at your side in heel position while out in public where other people and dogs are present?
Heel is a basic command taught in beginner training classes. Anyone who takes a Canine Good Citizen Class with her dog needs to demonstrate this skill to pass the CGC Test. Being a Canine Good Citizen is what your dog should be when he’s out in public. It’s the dog owner who needs to take on the responsiblity of insuring the dog’s good behavior.
I was feeling a bit annoyed the other day after a dog came out of nowhere at the end of a 6′ leash running around the reception area at the veterinary clinic. He zeroed in on King who was settled down by my feet as we waited our turn to be seen by the vet.
The dog startled King, but I held him close using my body as a block between the two dogs. All the while, the owner was oblivious to her dog’s behavior as she proceeded to check-out at the counter – her dog continuing to disrupt the rest of the animals, a cat and two other dogs, waiting with their owners. After King’s appointment, it was my turn to step up to the counter to check-out, but two other people with their dogs were there ahead of us. The scene was a repeat, but this time two dogs were involved – jumping on each other at the end of 6′ leads. The waiting room was filled. Seriously! King and I by-passed the duo wrestling in the middle of the waiting room. I took him to the car, then went back inside to check out.
This scene brought to mind the time I was visiting my daughter in San Francisco. She and I were seated outside at a cafe eating lunch. We both noticed a woman walking by, her French Bulldog trailing behind.
The woman was in deep conversation on her cell phone and didn’t notice that her dog had stopped at a tree to pee. She just kept on walking and talking. Meanwhile, the flexi-lead the dog was attached to kept extending. And extending… until it reached full length. The women, oblivious to what her dog was doing from behind, kept on walking and talking. Suddenly, my daughter and I noticed that we weren’t the only ones watching this scene. Every diner seated outside had turned, mouths gaping. The dog had now slipped it’s collar, as the woman continued onward, empty collar dragging behind. Oops!….I guess she suddenly felt the lack of weight attached to the flexi-lead she held in her hand. Fortunately, the dog had stopped to receive some petting from an onlooker, giving the owner time to collect her dog.
A dog deserves his owner’s undivided attention. He needs to be told what he should be doing in the situation at hand.
At the vet’s office, with no direction from their owners, the dogs were disrupting animals that may have serious health issues or are simply nervous about being at the vet. And, the dog walking on the streets of San Francisco could have been killed by passing cars, had a diner at the cafe not stopped him until his distracted owner finally realized he was missing.
A dog’s behavior and safety is the responsibility of the dog owner. How about paying attention to his behavior? Is your dog acting appropriately? Is your dog actually still with you? What is your dog doing while you’re not paying attention to him? A well-trained dog is a happy dog. And, a dog receiving attention from his owner is even happier!