Monday Musings: He’s My Dog. I Get to Decide Who He Interacts With

I probably pissed someone off last week. I took Lambeau out for his morning pee-and-poop. We walked around the cul-de-sac as usual and he did his thing. On the way home, he decided he wasn’t quite finished pooping so we walked along the side of the garage toward the back of the house and he finished up. I had seen this guy walking around the far end of the circle our way as we were heading down the hill. While I was picking up the pile, I could feel Lambeau starting to pull and dance on the other end of the leash. Looked up and this guy is making a beeline toward us from the street. Didn’t say a word. No Hello, Good Morning, Nice Dog, Can I pet him? Nothing. Just heading toward us with a big grin. I could see Lambeau was already close to or over his threshold of excitement and I knew he would not be polite or controllable, so I shortened up the leash, told him “With me!” and we started at a fast walk toward the house. Guy stops, gives me a pissy look, and watches as I get my dog up to the porch.
Look, buddy. I get it. He’s a nice looking dog. But he also has control issues. Not that he’s ever mean, but he definitely does not understand that he is strong- stronger than I am, and probably stronger than you are. If I haven’t had time to make sure his brain is engaged and he’s paying attention, he will knock you over and I won’t be able to control him. And you don’t know him. Just because he was not barking or growling as he lunged at the end of his leash doesn’t necessarily mean he wasn’t going to chomp down on your hand if you came up to him. I mean, Lambeau wouldn’t, but how can you be sure with a dog you *don’t know*? At least ask. Aside from that, I have been doing a lot of impulse control work with him and he has gotten a lot better, mainly with other dogs. We can walk by them now and he is under my control. People are still a bit tough. He loves people and just wants to shower them with kisses and love. That also means a lot of jumping and pushing and generally rude behavior if I don’t have the chance to get him focused first. I know you just wanted to say hi. I know you love dogs. I know you didn’t mean any harm. But he’s my dog. I get to say if, how, and who he interacts with. I need to keep his training in place or we will lose so much of the work we’ve done. I’m sorry, but that just wasn’t a good moment for you to meet him. On top of all that, not saying a word? That kind of creeped me out a bit.

I do understand his point of view, though. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was him. I thought all the dogs in the world were out there for me to pet and love on. I have learned better. I love my dog. I love that other people love my dog. But I also know that there are times when that love is best shown from a distance. Sorry, walking dude. Maybe next time. Maybe.

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