I’m a dog walker by profession. I have taken treks long and short with dogs big and small. I have spent two years in a kennel free doggie daycare. I also owned a dog for 17 years of my life before moving to Seattle, where I am currently raising a 12 week old puppy. I have taken a long journey to getting to this point as a puppy parent, and along the way I have garnered a certain but of animosity towards fellow pet owners. Please don’t be this pet owner:
1) I’m sorry you’re annoyed that my puppy’s too young: When we are out on a walk or in the park, I pick my puppy up when ever we pass another dog. Why? Because she’s 12 weeks old, and still a good 2 weeks from being fully vaccinated. I want to trust that you are a responsible pet owner, but I can’t take the chance my puppy will get Distemper or kennel cough. So don’t give me that dirty look when I say ‘No, she can’t meet your dog.’
2) I don’t care how nice your dog is, he can’t meet my puppy: In case you didn’t get it, yes, I will pick up my puppy when your dog walks by. Why? Because my puppy is rude, and will probably jump on your dog’s face. She’s a puppy, after all. Your reassurance of ‘My dog is great with puppies’ does not excuse the snarling teeth and stiff posture of your mature dog. And I don’t feel like my puppy getting bit.
3) Clean your mess: I literally had to hold myself back from yelling out the car window to an older gentleman as he ignored the excrement that his dog left in the parking strip. I get it if you forgot your poo bags, I’ve been there, but if you are blatantly ignoring your dogs mess … well, let’s say you got off easy this time.
4) Keep your pennies: All dogs think differently. All dogs have their own way of learning. So please don’t give me your two cents on the best way to get my puppy to sit or stay. She might not know how to shake your paw, but she hasn’t had an accident inside in over a week. I’ll let her figure it out at her own pace.
5) LEASH YOUR DOGS: Yes, this bothers me, probably more than anything else. I lived in the country in Upstate NY, we let our dog roam on the road off leash. We also only had 6 cars go by our house everyday. But if you live in a city, or a town, or a village, if your dog encounters more than 20 cars everyday, LEASH YOUR DOG! I was sent into a rant last week after puppy class when a dog darted across a busy street ahead of his owner, straight in front of two cars. Your dog may be well-behaved most of the time, but it only takes one distraction for things to go wrong. I don’t want your ignorance to be the reason a dog becomes road kill.
BONUS (Not for pet owners necessarily) Put your kid on a leash: I love kids, I hope to have one some day. What I don’t love is kids who rush my puppy and make her nervous and skittish around the kids that respect her space. Don’t lie to me and say ‘She’s really great with dogs’ if your child is going to pet my dog roughly and scream and stress her out. Let’s save everyone the misery.