Remember this post? Two separate commenters have suggested that a muzzle would be the solution whenever we take Dicky out for a walk. In case you chose not to click on the link and read the post, let me sum it up for you:
A guy who owned a golden retriever, allowed it to run off the leash at Salem Commons. Salem Commons is not a dog park, just a park where people walk their dogs and are required to have said dogs on leash by law. Dicky, like many dogs, does not like to meet people or other dogs, especially when he is on leash and we often have to restrain him as his natural instinct is to bark and lunge at the offending animal. The golden retriever tried to run up to “meet” our dog and we had to shout several times at the inconsiderate owner to call his dog back as the incident very nearly ended in our not so friendly dog shaking things up with the friendly (yet irresponsibly trained) golden retriever.
Keeping in mind that I do not wish to discourage people from commenting on my threads, I am only quoting the posters in this post because I felt that a full post would be a better way to address them. I don’t wish to encourage a “flame” war. If you disagree or agree with their comments, feel free to post your replies, but always in a respectful manner.
I see many dog owners in park situations using a muzzle for their unfriendly dogs. You might try that. Your walk should be relaxing, not spent trying to make sure your dog doesn’t bite.
I do think that people shouldn’t let their dogs run up to yours, willy nilly. I do agree. But the fact is that such a thing will happen, it will, and a muzzle could prevent something bad.
An analogy: other people shouldn’t drive drunk. They shouldn’t. But some of them will, and you should wear a seatbelt so that when you do get hit by a drunk driver, the results won’t be as bad.
You wearing a seatbelt doesn’t mean you’re excusing the other person’s drunk driving. Your dog being on a muzzle doesn’t mean the other person should let their dog just run around.
Even if it were my decision, I would not use a muzzle on Dicky. Admittedly, my experience is limited to my time as Dicky’s owner and what little I have learned from my friends who are professional dog sitters, as well as what I have witnessed from other dog owners.
Perhaps there are times when a muzzle is necessary. I don’t feel this is one of those cases and here is my reasoning.
In the first place, using a muzzle is to assume that there is no other way for a dog to cause harm to another. Dogs still have claws. Larger dogs can hurt other dogs simply by jumping on one another. And that’s not addressing the issues of dogs jumping on children or other people sharing that same park.
But let’s look at Aspiecatholicgirl’s seatbelt analogy in another way. A seatbelt is a safety restraint that is required by law to prevent or minimize injury of the driver and the passenger in the event of a collision. As dog owners, John and I already use a safety retraining device that is required by law for the safety of our dog and of others: That is the leash.
People also like to try to pet our dog, even after we have told them repeatedly that he is not friendly. Should those people be made to wear handcuffs every time they leave the house because even though violating a dog’s personal space when the owner has clearly told them not to is not okay, it’s going to happen anyway? That logic doesn’t sound so fair when you apply it to a human being, does it?
The issue in Salem Commons was not our dog. It was the owner of the Golden Retriever. Not only was he breaking the law, that was clearly stated on several signs, yet unfortunately not enforced, but he was making the decision on our dog’s behalf that his dog was going to meet ours. I am not going to punish my dog because someone else has decided that it’s perfectly acceptable to let their dog run loose and violate our animal’s space.
Salem is a dog friendly town. I see dogs barking and lunging for each other all the time. I do not see them wearing muzzles, but rather, I see their responsible owners pulling the dogs away from each other. Because that is the sort of thing dogs do and subsequently, that is what responsible dog owners do.