There are two kinds of dog owners out there. Good dog owners and bad dog owners.
You qualify as the latter if you let your untrained dog wander off-leash. An untrained dog is one that does not obey commands and/or attacks people and/or other dogs/animals unprovoked.
The other morning, I met just such an "untrained dog" and "bad dog owner" on a trail that is OK for off-leash dogs.
I have, in fact, met this particular dog and its lovely owner a few times. I jog on this trail and this dog owner walks with her friend and a pack of five dogs of different sizes and personalities.
The untrained dog is a small, Chihuahua mix who – like a bull seeing red – charges me upon each encounter.
I had enough the other day and decided to address the issue with the owner I stopped my workout. (Mind you it takes quite a bit to motivate me to stop mid-fitness. I just don't do that.)
I said "hello" and calmly asked the owner to please keep her dog on leash, as every time we meet on the path, her dog attacks me.
She proceeded to tell me to, "Go to hell."
Yes. This is one BAAAAAAAAAD dog owner. And obviously the apple does not fall far from the tree. I explained to her that I was not trying to pick a fight; I was merely trying to share the path with her and her dogs.
That incited more curses, yelling, her telling me I scared her dog by "running at it" and then turning her back and walking away.
Now, I may be a bit hypersensitive about this issue, as when I lived in Los Angeles, Bo – my blind, almost toothless, angel of a rescue dog with dislocating knees – was attacked not once, but twice by off-leash dogs.
Both times, I was walking Bo on leash in our neighborhood and off-leash dogs bolted from out of nowhere at my defenseless dog. Bo ended up at the Animal Emergency Center twice. But he is a survivor and came through each incident a tougher canine.
To say we've been traumatized is an understatement.
Seeing dogs off leash makes my heart palpitate until it is confirmed the dog is trained and not a threat. And even then, I cannot deny the simple truth that even though pets become members of our families, they are still animals. And animal behavior can be quite unpredictable.
I implore you. If your dog is not trained, please keep it on lead. Yes, even if it is a small dog.
If there is a sign stating that "all dogs must be on leash" then by all means, even if your dog is as good as Cesar Millan's departed "Daddy" (may he rest in peace), please just do it.
I should not be afraid to share a trail with irresponsible dog owners. Train your dog. They love the structure and discipline and will be happier for it We all have to share the road, trails and paths. Leash laws are for a good reason.
And while we're at it ... those laws about picking about your dog's poo? Those apply to YOU too. The non-poo-picker-uppers are usually the same folks who aren't training their dogs.
This is the whole reason they double plastic bag at grocery stores people – to fund the world's supply of poop bags for good dog owners.
See? There is even material reward for responsible dog ownership, with the bonus immeasurable pleasure of the companionship of a happy, loyal, obedient pet.
Lindsay Garric is a Milwaukee native who calls her favorite city home base for as long as her lifestyle will allow her. A hybrid of a makeup artist, esthetician, personal trainer and entrepreneur all rolled into a tattooed, dolled-up package, she has fantasies of being a big, bad rock star who lives in a house with a porch and a white picket fence, complete with small farm animals in a version of Milwaukee that has a tropical climate.
A mishmash of contradictions, colliding polar opposites and a dash of camp, her passion is for all pretty things and the products that go with it. From makeup to workouts, food to fashion, Lindsay has a polished finger on the pulse of beauty, fashion, fitness and nutrition trends and is super duper excited to share that and other randomness from her crazy, sexy, gypsy life with the readers of OnMilwaukee.com.