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I have a one year old mastiff mix, who is still somewhat excitable when it comes to certain things. He is generally a good boy though, and we are in the middle of doing CGC classes.

Story: I was hanging out with a group of people today (don't know everyone in the group) at a crowded farmers market. My husband came some time later and brought our dog. My dog saw me from about 20-30 ft away, and started getting really excited - he started pulling on the lead and whining loudly to get to me. I could see my hubby try to control him (my dog is pretty attached to me). It also didn't help that a few seconds before this, one of the girls in the group saw my dog and started addressing him in an exciting voice (this is my dog's weakness when he first sees a stranger).

I can see how my dog's antics (pulling in different directions, loud whining) would make him look 'bad' to a stranger, who don't know he was just trying to get to me (yes, we are working on this behaviour). And it probably looks worse because he is a 95 pd dog.

The episode lasted about 10 seconds. I was a little embarrassed it happened, and then one of the girls in the group (same girl that excited him), asked me: "Does your dog know you guys are the alpha?" Ouch, snap.

Whether or not I believe in the alpha theory, the comment still stung.

And the thing is, my dog was calm the entire rest of the time! Once I got control of the lead, I walked him in the crowd with no issues. There were lots of people and dogs!

Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but I try so hard to train our boy, so comments like that just get me down.
 

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i think i would burst out in laughter if someone told me that, then i'd say something stupid like "yeah i'm his bitch he's walking me" and walk out.


i'm not sure why it's bothering you so much.
 

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I have a one year old mastiff mix, who is still somewhat excitable when it comes to certain things. He is generally a good boy though, and we are in the middle of doing CGC classes.

Story: I was hanging out with a group of people today (don't know everyone in the group) at a crowded farmers market. My husband came some time later and brought our dog. My dog saw me from about 20-30 ft away, and started getting really excited - he started pulling on the lead and whining loudly to get to me. I could see my hubby try to control him (my dog is pretty attached to me). It also didn't help that a few seconds before this, one of the girls in the group saw my dog and started addressing him in an exciting voice (this is my dog's weakness when he first sees a stranger).

I can see how my dog's antics (pulling in different directions, loud whining) would make him look 'bad' to a stranger, who don't know he was just trying to get to me (yes, we are working on this behaviour). And it probably looks worse because he is a 95 pd dog.

The episode lasted about 10 seconds. I was a little embarrassed it happened, and then one of the girls in the group (same girl that excited him), asked me: "Does your dog know you guys are the alpha?" Ouch, snap.

Whether or not I believe in the alpha theory, the comment still stung.

And the thing is, my dog was calm the entire rest of the time! Once I got control of the lead, I walked him in the crowd with no issues. There were lots of people and dogs!

Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but I try so hard to train our boy, so comments like that just get me down.
I completely understand what you mean. I posted it on here a while ago, but I went through something similar when the people I live with made a comment about how I was "starving" Bandit with his PMR diet. I get that with all of the work you've put into his training it stings to be doubted like that, even if you know in your own head that the comment is baseless.

When I was told that Bandit was "too skinny" and "always hungry" I panicked. I had done hours upon hours of research on his diet and I couldn't believe that I could have been wrong, but I still started doubting myself, and even made a thread on here about alternatives I could use while I lived with them. Everyone's replies to stick with my beliefs and continue our feeding. When I took him to the vet he actually commented on how Bandit's weight was perfect.

I know you can't ignore comments like those sometimes, but do a quick training session with your pup. Let him prove to you how great you've done training him and don't ignore the comment as much as prove them wrong to yourself. :)
 
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One thing I have learned is that the second your dog is less than perfect, EVERYONE is a dog trainer. This has been the case for me from the time I was cluelessly trying to walk/train my neighbor's puppy on a choke chain, to three years later now, when I spend all my working hours either walking, training or boarding dogs professionally.

That's human nature. We like to give advice, whether it is misinformed, misplaced, whatever... just to feel important. Just learn to take it with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of humor, because I'm sure that when veterinary behaviorists and world-renowned experts in dog training are out kicking it with their dogs, they get the same old chestnuts from clueless people.
 

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Turtle I have a suggestion:

Often when someone says something idiotic and hurtful, it is unexpected. I myself have difficulty with spontaneous answers to jerks. Of course, jerks are not confined to the dog world, they are everywhere.
Something that might help you feel more at ease is to imagine possible scenarios involving jerky clueless people. This will allow you to think ahead how to handle them and maybe create a list of appropriate comments as comebacks to shut down idiots that say something clearly meant just to hurt you.
 

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My brother likes to make nasty comments about my dogs too. I have to admit, the comments sting.

BUT I am happy to have dogs that aren't robots (hell, he doesn't have a dog at all anyway). My dogs are happy, healthy, (reasonably) well behaved and a helluva lot of of fun. His comments be damned, haha.
 

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I just smile and nod. "Oh really?" "Oh wow. I didn't know that".
 

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I just smile and nod. "Oh really?" "Oh wow. I didn't know that".
This. "OMG THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING TIME OUT OF YOUR BUSY DAY TO ENLIGHTEN ME ABOUT SOMETHING I HAVE FUNNELED COUNTLESS HOURS OF EXPERIENCE AND RESEARCH INTO."

:)
 

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Dog ownership is like parenting, everyone has an opinion and no matter what, yours is wrong.

I have a reactive dog that likes to make me look like the idiot who hasn't trained her dog/can't calm down her dog. She's has anxiety, space issues, and has a low threshold for exciting things unless introduced correctly. She's non-aggressive, but barks. A LOT. And that's when the opinions fly. I've heard it all, here are some examples:
"you should really work with her", What? No, really? I do thanks.
"You should try a shock collar, that would stop the barking" - Thanks but no thanks.
"Obviously you need to show her you're the alpha" Yeah I'll work on that, right after I find the cure for stupidity.
"You should get her de-barked" - Yes and having a dog that sounds like she smoked a pack of cigars is soo appealing.

I swear, if I had a $1 for every piece of unsolicited advice I receive, I'd be richer then the Kardashians. I mean, I will admit I get embarrassed and frustrated some times, I bet everyone wishes they had a quiet, calm dog, but then again I'm sure everyone wishes they had a million dollars sitting in the bank too. Sometimes the image of a "normal" dog is unrealistic. So when I get unsolicited advice I tend to let if fall off my back. I'm already doing everything I can to make sure she's healthy and happy and unable to cause herself or others harm, so I figure I'm doing a darn good job. If someone has an opinion they can speak it, doesn't mean I'll listen though.
 

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People really need to keep their mouths shut when it comes to other people's dogs behavior, unless the behavior is endangering a person or another dog/animal. Or at least keep it light. If someone asked me if my dog knew I was "alpha," I'm afraid I might have replied with something like, "Yeah, he knows I'm the bitch in charge. Do you?"

Recently, I had someone tell me my dog "lacks focus," despite the fact that he has his CGC, CGCA, and TDI certification, not to mention his knowing any number of silly tricks. Actually, he didn't tell me--I overheard him telling someone else that, which annoyed me more. And when someone referred to my dog as "that little fru-fru dog, " one of my friends was afraid there might have been bloodshed. He's a twenty-four pound mix, who is not carried or dressed up (save for the occasional bandana, particularly the TDI bandana he must wear when he's working as a therapy dog) and is not allowed to get away with anything resembling LDS behavior. He is NOT a "little fru-fru dog" just because he's under fifty pounds.
 

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@Tilden - Oh no, Heidi is under fifty pounds! I guess she's a frou frou dog too. :p
 
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@Tilden - Oh no, Heidi is under fifty pounds! I guess she's a frou frou dog too. :p
Does she have long hair? I think the fact that mine has long hair also had something to do with it--and why he gets called a "she" so often.

Around here, so many people have larger dogs or itsy-bitsy ones that having something in the 20-50 pound range makes you something of an anomaly.
 

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Impressive accomplishments. And while he is obviously not frou frou, he is adorable and has a gorgeous coat.
It's also his Gotcha Day--see Happy Gotcha Day post for more photos.

He's in Rally class right now as well, but I'm indifferent about competing, as I hate to gamble the entry fee on the chance that he won't suddenly decide to have a stubborn day. On the one practice trial he did, he scored 84--and would have scored ninety if he hadn't lost 6 points for not doing commands he knows full well how to do on the first try, though he did them correctly when asked a second time.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you everyone for the replies. Reading your comments made me feel better...and I appreciate your stories!

I probably sounded a bit over dramatic when I first wrote the post -- I think I was having a bad day, and I also wanted to impress this group of people ....so even though I knew her comment was ridiculous, I took it too personally.

It's funny that strangers are more apt to give "advice" on your dogs vs giving advice to parents on their naughty human children (I don't have kids, but can imagine this to be the case).

I remember when my dog was a very young puppy, a big man approached us out of the blue, talking to my dog in a exciting voice, and started petting him without asking first. I wasn't prepared (if people ask to pet, I have been training him by putting him in a Sit Stay position first). So, of course, my rambunctious 60 pd+ puppy (and he weighs much more now) jumps on the guy. My only gut reaction was to pull on the lead while he was in mid air so he couldn't jump so high. After this happens, the man then proceeds to give me a lecture on what I was doing so wrong, what I'm doing would make him jump more...blah blah blah.... gosh, I was thinking if you're so full of advice and criticism, maybe my advice to you is to not approach a strangers dog like that, especially if the dog is still in training! Lol.
 

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In these situation what grates with me is that I don't always get the chance to put my side.

I has a doberman and people were often wary. One day, at a pedestrian crossing, a lady stepped back into him...he affectionately licked her hand. I'm certain if he'd been a cute fluffy boy she would have cooed, but she jumped away and shouted "You should control that dog!" Then she walked off. I was so frustrated that I didn't have a chance to tell her he was the most placid, well behaved dog I had ever had.
 

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Id try not to worry so much :) he's still a pup going through training isn't he , he's entitled to a lil burst of excitement at seeing he's mum try not to worry to much x
 

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I once had a woman lecture me on how overweight my dog was (he wasn't, according to my vet) after I'd had to pick him up so she could pet him because she was so overweight herself that she couldn't bend over far enough to pet him. And no, I didn't comment on her weight, as that would have been impolite, but I certainly did think to myself that people who live in glass houses......
 

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I hate people who start out with "you should" do such and such with your dog, especially when they are the cause of the dog misbehaving in the first place.
 
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