Let me start off by saying I am a consummate dog lover. I will pet any dog that comes my way; from tiny to huge I love them all. I can even go a step further and say I am an animal lover. Cats, dogs, rabbits, etc, I think they are all pretty awesome. I know that probably sounds a bit like an enigma since I am also a bird hunter, but hunting is for food not for trophies. So in my mind it balances out.
Back to my “I am a consummate dog lover” statement, I love them all, but at the same time I am well aware of the power and strength of any dog, no matter its’ size or temperament. I believe that all dogs big and small should be properly socialized and trained to behave in a calm well behaved manner. Granted not every dog is going to perfect every day, but with consistent work, you should be able to walk with them and not have an aggressive dog. Good behavior starts at your end of the leash.
I am also a strong believer that not everyone should own a dog, some people are just not fit to take care of themselves let alone a creature that relies on them for all of their needs. Just as important is that people need to research the breed of dog they want to have before getting something just because it looks cute or the size of the dog. Looks are not the “begin and end all” of getting a dog. Do you have the time and patience to give a certain breed the exercise and interaction it may require? If not then please don’t get the dog, everyone will end up unhappy and the dog may end up in a shelter or worse put down.
This morning on our walk we ran across such a case in my humble opinion. There is a woman who lives a couple of streets over that own two Cane Corsos, a two year old male and a one year old female, neither of which is neutered. The male weighs in at about a hundred and ten pounds and the female is only about seventy five pounds. We have run across her walking her dogs on occasion, but Mitch has been with me to help, not this morning, though. The male is animal aggressive and lunges growling and barking which sends our dogs straight to the same red zone level in zero to ten seconds flat. Then we have a potentially serious situation on our hands. The woman does everything she can to hold the dog back, him standing on his hind legs straining to break free and one of these days I think it will happen. He is only going to get stronger as he gets older. Don’t get me wrong these are beautiful dogs and quite friendly when I approached her “dog less”. But when there is another dog in close proximity look out scout.
This morning walking in the dark I saw her walking toward us and she had both dogs with her. I moved as far to the left as I could and downed both Charlie and Orso, spoke calmly and quietly telling them to “leave” and re-adjusted my hold to the low end of their harnesses for a better grip. My two did awesome comparatively speaking. The woman moved as far to the left as she could and tried to get hers under control but the male immediately lunged growling and barking at us raising the female to the same frenzied state. Mine started to respond in kind when her two went at each other in a horrific dog fight with the woman on the end of the leashes. I jerked both leashes of my two and turned back the way we came and I walked as fast I possibly could to get away. I felt terrible for that woman but I was not going to put my dogs and myself in harm’s way. Even as I rounded the curve in the road and was out of sight I could hear them go at each again.
It was a very sobering and scary experience, which I hope to never live through again. It really drives home just how important working with your dog is, for their sakes and your own.