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photo 2 (51)It’s amazing to me how much unsolicited advice I get about how to raise my dog or what to do with the dogs I’m watching.  Let’s face it.  I don’t care what you think.  I am fully aware the Dog Whisperer would be horrified at half the things Riggins does.  Lucky for me I don’t talk to the Dog Whisperer so I don’t have to hear about it.  I feel like I do a pretty good job holding my tongue when I see other dog owners doing something I consider “wrong.”  Things like keeping your dog on leash at an off leash dog park.  Bringing your young son into a dog park and playing frisbee then getting upset when a dog jumps up on your son.  Not using a seatbelt for your dog.  Using a choke collar vs. walking harness.  You know why I hold my tongue?  Because it is none of my business.  Zippola.  Unless the animal is in real danger my advice is not needed.  I’m even hesitant to give advice when asked.  I always tend to start with an “I’m not sure but you could try ….”  Unless you are my friend in which case I will give you hell if you are using a retractable leash!

When Riggins was younger and faster he wore a retriever bell when we were hiking.  You can easily purchase retriever bells at pet stores.  They are made specifically for hunting “retrieving” dogs.  Riggins wasn’t being used to hunt but it was in his genes and I was sick and tired of him catching ground squirrels, running down into the bush where I couldn’t get to him, and then coming back up smacking his lips having thoroughly enjoyed his tasty snack!  The bell was necessary on two levels.  1.  His health.  Eating raw critters isn’t great for you.  2.  The grossness level because it is really really gross.  Yet more than once I was told by random people that I was harming my dog.  I once had a young “vet assistant” try to shame me to the point that I lost it on him and verbally abused him to the point that he gave up his walk and headed back to his car.  Don’t you dare tell me I treat my precious prince Riggins poorly.  I will hurt you.  Emotionally, mentally, physically, all the above …

Recently I was walking with the pack I had in an legal off-leash area.  We were near the end of a hike and all were pooped and happy.  I had had zero issues the entire time and had passed many different kinds of dogs and people.  All without incident.  Then two woman passed me and said, “I can’t believe you let that pit off leash.”  “That pit” was my adorable Lousy.  I didn’t have the energy to fight, and if I had Lousy would have gotten all worked up because I was angry and probably just proven their point, so I just rolled my eyes and kept walking.

I’ve been told I shouldn’t walk so many dogs if I can’t control them.  At the time my dogs were just cruising along together and the woman with such great advice had three dogs pulling at their leashes, growling at my gang, and gnashing of their teeth.  When I informed her I was in control and it was her dogs that seemed to be less than socialized I was scolded for not being a loving dog owner who cared about rescues like hers.  Sigh …

Each dog park has their own human gang.  The dogs can all get along so you would think their human owners could too … nope.  Once I took Riggins to a local dog park after being gone from him for a while.  He was SO EXCITED.  He ran around like his tail was on fire.  Granted you should not take a non exercised dog into a dog park.  If your dog has too much wild energy you should walk/hike them first BEFORE entering the dog park.  But let’s face it who, besides the infamous Dog Whisperer, would do that? Every one of us take our dog to a dog park because they need to work off some energy and we don’t have the same level of umph to make it through a long walk.  Riggins jumped up on a “cool kid” who was sitting on a bench talking to another “cool kid” gang member.  The woman LOST HER SHIT.  Crazy screaming that Riggins was too big and hurt her and blah blah blah.  Of course Riggins shouldn’t have done that and I apologized but when she wouldn’t shut up about it I lost my cool.  She was, after all, in a dog park.  Do you know how many times I’ve been covered in slober and/or mud because of dogs jumping up on me?  Do you know how many times I’ve been actually knocked on my butt by dogs running into me.  It’s a dog park!  I may have gotten over dramatic and started screaming things like, “Oh my god don’t hurt her.  Watch it Riggins don’t go near her she is so fragile she just can’t take it.” etc.  Good times.

photo 1 (58)I tell you all of this just to set the stage of what happened to me this weekend at a different dog park.  It was Saturday afternoon so the place was pretty packed.  I had 3 dogs with me, all very well-behaved.  They were more interested in following me around then wrestling or playing with any of the other dogs.  Since it was crowded there was bound to be a few dog fights.  It’s just what happens.  Normally it’s nothing as long as the humans keep their cool.  The problem is the humans never keep their cool.  At one point a german shepherd came into the park at full force.  He was SO HAPPY to be there and just couldn’t control himself.  My experience with german shepherds is that they are rough players.  They, in general, want to play and have fun but their “play” actions are seen as aggressive by other dogs and it starts a brawl.  Not a real brawl a bark and gnash fest.  If it was a real brawl and the german shepard wanted to hurt another dog he could … quick as lighting.  Even though the poor german shepard was just trying to settle into the park many folks went cray cray, screaming and moving their dogs away.  Of course that just made it worse but the german shepherd’s dad was a good guy.  He moved his dog away and sat him down until he was calm enough to go back and play.  At that time I had moved my dogs to go get water and we met the german shepard on our way.  He happily followed us and all the dogs sniffed around and checked each other out with zero incident.  On my way away from the water fountain I passed some grumpy dude who murmured, “you best get your dogs out of here.”  I took one of my headphones out of my ear, looked at him and said, “what?”  “You heard me.” was his response.  Oh yah jackass.  I heard you.  He obviously thought the german shepherd was mine since I had no issues being near him.  Ignorant ass.  I just rolled my eyes which caused him to stare me up and down.  I popped my earphones back in and got lost in my Adam Carolla podcast while walking away.

I don’t know why anyone thinks it is okay to pass such horrible judgment and even worse advice out to total strangers.  I don’t know you.  I don’t want to know you.  Judge me from a distance all you want but there is no need to come up to me and tell me how to do my job as a dogsitter or a dog mom.  If you do there is a good chance I will unleash a number of hard truths at you and I’m not sticking just to your dog …. it’s all fair game fatty!