Things I Dislike…

Due to a number of things, I’m not in the best of moods this week, so I thought I’d stick with it and write about a few things I don’t like.

I’m loathe to say “hate”, because it’s such a strong word, reserved for very, very, amazingly dislike-able things that are terrible & horrible and such; and much as I dislike these, I don’t know that I truly hate any of them…

“Training collars” of any sort. There’s just no need, not to mention that any problem that makes someone consider one of these devices is usually exacerbated by the choice to use any one of them.

Training collar

Training collar

Dogs off lead by roads. Aside from this being illegal in the UK it’s also stupid and dangerous – anyone could run off with your dog, or he could get startled by something and run into the road.

Flexi-leads. Aside from a few small number of times that use of a flexi might be a good idea (i.e. in lieu of a long line), most of the time it’s not. Especially when the dog is given free reign over how much lead she has on a road-walk. It’s sort of like having your dog off-lead (like above), but with the added “excitement” that if she runs into the road – you’re going along for the ride. Extreme dog walking!

You're going, whether you want to or not...

You’re going, whether you want to or not…

“No-pull” harnesses that constrict. It’s like a choke chain for the rib cage, not to mention the main “no-pull” section is usually just a thick string/thin rope, which chafes when it runs past armpits, and scrunches and catches skin on the dog’s ribs and back.

Dogs off lead with no recall/verbal control on the part of the owner. Another theft risk, not to mention your dog is at risk of running up to on-lead dogs who would rather not have a small yappy dog in their face (or, well, under their paws) or any size over exuberant/reactive dog in their face. Seriously, if your dog won’t recall from certain distractions and/or in certain situations, be a responsible owner and keep him on lead when faced with those distractions or situations. (Thank you to those of you who are responsible by the way).

People who think all dogs love them. Just no.

People who think they’re entitled to do what they want to strange dogs. One day, you will get bitten, and – even though you won’t admit it – it will be your fault. You will, potentially, kill a completely innocent dog, and you will not learn a single thing from that situation; either that not all dogs love you, or that you can’t and shouldn’t do whatever you want to any dog you see.

People who berate/tell off/shout at their dogs. Seriously, not only does this affect your dog, but it affects mine too; it’s also neither big nor clever – you look like a jerk. Just stop it.

Shouting.  There's just no need.

Shouting. There’s just no need.

People who want to “show off” their dog’s “training” to you, making you want the ground to open up and swallow you whole. This is so embarrassing on so many levels. Especially when someone’s proud of say…their dog’s “leave it”, but the dog is only leaving the thing because: a) it’s a boring piece of biscuit; b) it’s not moving; c) you’ve told them to leave it one thousand times in the same way some high-ranking army person might bark orders at the new recruits. Not cool.

Slip leads.  While slip leads do have their uses, I don’t believe one of those uses is on your dog’s daily walk.  Slip leads are for moving dogs around in the vet clinic, for catching strays, and for emergencies.  Not for everyday life.

People who use the excuse that “not all dogs learn the same” to train with pain, fear, force, and/or intimidation. They are right, not all dogs learn through the same methods. If I try too much shaping with Inka I can hands-down happily make a £100 bet that he will at some point fixate on some small thing I’ve clicked and work around that, not moving on from it and getting more and more wound up that I’m not clicking his “right behaviour”. Starr, on the other hand, is a shaping wonder! I don’t get to shape with her as often as I’d like (that’s a whole other post!), but the last time we shaped together, we were playing with a shoulder-height box. It didn’t take her long to be reaching her head into it, putting her front paws on it and circle it (with help, but not all that much), and also jump on top of it. What does this tell me? Starr enjoys thinking for herself and enjoys figuring things out; shaping is fun for her. Inka has been berated for thinking on his own (not by me, I hasten to add), and that stresses him out; we can shape, but it’s easier for him if I lure, and then fade it to ensure I’m not bribing him. Not once did I ever think about using forceful methods to train Inka – why would I?

What about you, what do you dislike when it comes to dogs?


8 thoughts on “Things I Dislike…

  1. You have covered everything perfectly!! I do have a flexi-lead, but I only use it when I travel, and only for little potty breaks, but only during that time and none other. One other thing I hate, and it happens to be because of where I live, I hate to see people walking their dog when the temp outside is over 87 degrees!! Do they realize how hot the pavement is weather its concrete or asphalt?

    • That annoys me too! Especially as where I live tends not to be too warm, and a lot of people have Border Collies, to see them being walked on one of the pretty rare really nice summer days at about 4pm when the poor dog is obviously struggling with the heat. Any time the temperature rises over about 12′ I’m already thinking about trips to the beach, or using cool-coats, as Inka has a thick, dense coat and struggles in the “heat”.

  2. I dislike mostly the same things as you do. I also dislike the dog shows the way they are today, when breeds are being literary destroyed and the poor dogs suffer from it.

    I dislike over-used crates. The dogs are not supposed to live in crates. It breaks my heart when people are telling me their dogs are put in crates during the night AND when they are off to work.
    I do see how crates can come in handy some times. I myself have to crate my border collie when I’m not home, due to the fact that a fight between my two dogs is highly likely to occur. However, I am rushing home after work and I uncrate her as soon as I’m inside the door. When I get a bigger place to live, she’ll get her own room.

    I also dislike dog trainers that does this for a living and KNOWS there are ways to train dogs without pain, discomfort, force or intimidation, and still chooses not to change their ways. Especially those who are trying to convince others that the positive methods don’t work. If you’re going to talk shit about something, at least talk about something you know!

    I guess I’m in a bad mood, too. 😉

    • I agree, I use crates too but to hear of dogs being in a crate all day – even when owners are home from work – and all night too, that’s too much. Especially when people who use crates in that manner tend not to walk or work with their dogs much.

      We can be in a bad mood together 😉

  3. Great post, thank you. Here’s my additions.

    People who don’t pay attention to their dogs in public – no matter what size / breed / age of dog, if the owner is 200 yards away / talking on the phone, I don’t want my dogs being approached by an unattended dog – period.

    People who use rattle cans / other noise aversives in public “because their dog reacts to something” – they frighten my dogs, and do nothing to help the poor dog who is being rattled at.

    People who send out their large dogs for a walk with a child alone – who is simply not capable of controlling and / or protecting the dog due to either a) size and / or b) lack of training (and in most cases both).

    People who do not clear up after their dogs. Inexcusably selfish and inconsiderate.

    People who let their small children run up to my dogs without asking first (my dogs are friendly towards children and happy to be petted gently but don’t like being “rushed at”). Understandably. To be fair, most parents ask first, and we are more than happy to be sociable, but only if I think the adult has reasonable control over their small human charge(s).

    Not that I’ve had a bad week – just general, and on-going grumbles that I have to deal with on a daily basis 🙂

    • I can’t believe I forgot the walker-talkers! You know, the people who take the dog for a walk so they can call someone…

      Walks are very much “us” time in our household, I take my phone – but it stays in my pocket; well – I wouldn’t be much use throwing toys with a phone in my hand 😀

  4. I don’t like retractable leashes in most peoples hands and on most dogs but when the dog fits a certain criteria and the person uses common sense, it’s not always bad. I use one on my service dog as my leash of choice. She’s under full voice control. I don’t even need a leash to be honest.

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