Running Wild and Free

I love my dog.  I really really do.  I never thought I would be this much of a dog person.  Until this fuzzy, lovely fur-guy came into our life.
That being said, Theron’s not the perfect dog.  I realize this is a shocking admission on a doggie-mommy’s part, but it is the truth.

He likes to bark at the mailman.  He likes to scratch at the fence to get to the dogs on either side of us.  He gets very stubborn and refuses to look at me when I’m giving him commands and he doesn’t like the command. He’s got some separation anxiety (Which thankfully seems better controlled these days).  And his biggest problem… Other dogs.  Theron wasn’t properly socialized when we got him, and he has to be on a lead whenever we are out of our fenced backyard.  Sometimes he seems scared, other times like he wants to play, other times he gets aggressive.  We’ve gone to dog behavior specialists, and the best we get is that he needs to be disciplined in his walking regimen and such.

I take it very seriously, and we do keep him on a heel the entire time he’s walking.  We sit and allow other dogs to pass.  We work on making him submissive to dogs if he gets too fixated.  And we practice it daily. WE ARE DILIGENT.  

We actually have quite a few of under-socialized dogs in the neighborhood.  And almost all the owners are very responsible, and considerate of others with that same situation.  It’s really amazing.

When it comes to dog ownership, it is ultimately the human’s responsiblity to be… well… responsible… for the dog.  

For the dog’s behavior, for the dog’s health and well-being.  We know Theron’s got some issues, so we developed behavioral patterns to do the best we could with it.  We’re very aware and responsible for his behaviour.  If you own a dog, you own taking care of the animal, it’s health, it’s well-being… and it’s behavior.

So it really freakin pisses me off when other people don’t take the responsibly of dog ownership as seriously as they should.  

If you can’t handle a dog… Don’t get one….

If you realize after you get one that you can’t take care of the dog properly, find a new home.  Worrying more about hurting your children’s feelings by giving away a dog, than that dog’s entire life and happiness is not an appropriate excuse.  And it’s also showing your child a very poor example of how to treat other living beings.

This is all well and good, but where is my rant, which is exactly what this is… a rant… going???

There’s a dog in the neighborhood.  She’s absolutely gorgeous.  She lives with two human adults, an 8-year-old human child and a toddler of undetermined age.  The 8-year-old generally appears to be the only one taking care of her, taking her for walks, retrieving her when she gets loose (Which happens ALL.THE.TIME.), giving her attention…. You get the idea.

This dog is usually tied up to the fence along the sidewalk outside their house.  She used to be tied up on the INSIDE of the fence…. She barks and barks and lunges and lunges and no one is there to correct her.  They’ve taken to tying her up on the OUTSIDE of the fence now…  Yup…. This uncontrollable dog is out there… On the sidewalk…. Where she can actually get at people…. Ridiculous.

So, this dog is really smart….  She knows how to get out of her lead, and out of her home.  Of course, this dog gets loose… A LOT.

Sometimes you’ll see her chasing runners, nipping at their heels… with her teeth.

Or you’ll see her up on everyone else’s yards.

Or lunging at our door when Theron’s on the inside looking out.

Or teasing dogs that are in their own backyards.

Or going after some of the elderly folks that don’t see her right away.

Oh and don’t try to approach her, her hackles go up and she gets ready to attack.

If you are lucky enough to run her back to her own yard (accomplished by a chase, stop before you get close enough to be bitten, chase again, stop before you get bitten, repeat as needed), no one in this dog’s house will take responsiblity…  We’ve actually seen them in the window complaining about the dog getting out and us brining her back, like it’s an inconvenience to them.  News Flash… Your inability to take care of your dog is an inconvenience to the entire neighborhood.

The person who found her has to actually go into the enclosed porch and close the dog in, because the owners can’t be bothered to stop watching TV and take care of their dog.

I guess they buy into the whole “It takes a village.” idea. 🙂

I’ve mentioned to the owner that their dog gets loose and chases runners…  And she just laughed it off and said sometimes she doesn’t have time to find her in the morning so she just leaves her… Yes, this apparently was FUNNY.

She also said that since everyone seems to know where the dog lives, it always works out okay…

Right… Because leash laws are just for EVERYONE ELSE, right?  And your dog is EVERYONE ELSE’S responsiblity.  

And nevermind that their dog that comes flying out of the woods and attempts to attack other dogs, sometimes our dog, sometimes others.  You know, dogs that are on leash… per the whole leash law and all…  Oh and nevermind common courtesy.

I can not understand the mentality of it being okay to have your dog aggressive, sometimes people aggressive dog able to run the neighborhood and have it not be a problem.

You’re right, we all love having your dog run wild and free… And having to be hyper-vigilant when we’re outside, in our own yards.

I particularly love when something awesome like this morning happens… (Yes… love and awesome are both dripping, I mean soaking wet, with sarcasm).  This morning around 9 am, I was finished up my coffee and getting ready to take Theron for his morning walk… and I hear him lunging and growling at the glass storm door out front…  I look out and that dog is out there trying to attack him through the glass door.

So I rapped my knuckles on the door and yelled NO, GO AWAY… and she ran tail between her legs up the road.

Of course that means she could be hiding in anyone’s backyard in the neighborhood, waiting to sprint out at us as she’s done in the past.

The walk had to be delayed, and we had to go in the opposite direction and say a little prayer that she wouldn’t come attack us.

I teeter on the fence about this situation a lot… I know the mother, but she doesn’t seem very receptive to feedback she doesn’t want to hear… The father is not approachable, whatsoever.

When it all comes down to it… it’s not the dog’s fault.  It’s the human’s fault.  Letting your 8-year-old who doesn’t have the skill set to deal with this be the only one trying to fix the problem is not okay, and not working…

So what do I do?

Do I talk to her again and have her just laugh it off?  And then do something retaliatory when someone finally calls animal control?

Do I call animal control when I see the dog loose and harassing the older folks in the neighborhood?

Is there some other solution I can’t think of?


5 thoughts on “Running Wild and Free

  1. I have a neighbor whose dogs get out constantly and they do the same thing. They will eventually go out to find them, but I’m always scared that they are going to get hit (we live right beside a highway) before they find them. I don’t have any solutions, but I feel your pain!

  2. I would be tempted to call animal control about it if you think there’s a chance it could bite someone. I once had a dog bite me when running – I was okay but it’s a terrifying experience and no one should have to go through it. So annoying that they refuse to take responsibility.

    • You are absolutely right… This neighborhood has a ton of young kids that don’t know that dogs could be harmful, I never thought about if they got bitten. I put Roanoke City Animal Control’s number in my phone and took it with me this morning, just in case… I know they’d just get a slap on the wrist this time, but I hate having to “punish” the dog, when the owners are at fault and I’m not sure it’d make an impact on them.

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