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I took our dog to Home Depot this evening to get some gardening supplies. He's well behaved there, and I also take him there because it brings up some good training opportunities. Anyways, I was walking with my dog heeling beside me down a long aisle, and was about halfway through the aisle. Suddenly, my dog pulled on the leash and turned around, so I looked to see what was going on.

Get this: A guy was standing about 30 ft away at the end of the aisle, holding a retractable lead, and he let his dog come all the way to meet ours! His dog just came up and started sniffing my dog's behind. It was a bit weird (he and his dog are lucky they didn't pick a reactive dog!). The guy was watching and grinning the entire time (from 30 ft away!)...he thought it was hilarious. Strange, right? I've never seen another dog owner pull this stunt using a retractable lead in a store before.

I'm teaching our dog to ignore other dogs when on leash, so I told him to Leave It, and he actually listened (woot! that is a VERY hard thing for him to do, since he loves to play).

Anyways, just wanted to share this weird dog owner story....
 

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That old cliche springs to mind, no such thing as bad dogs, just bad owners.
I had one this morning, my front garden backs off on to the village Main Street, my bungalow is semi detached. Not gated at the front.
This dog owner while talking to my neighbor, just allows her dog to jump up on to the garden at the front where my 8 week old puppy is sitting.
I had to grab my pup and take inside as she is yet to have her full course of jabs yet.
This is private property !!! A bit peeved with my neighbor, but elderly so won't say anything. Try avoid conflict where possible.
People with dogs are so easy to get into conflict with too. ?
Dog owners are the reason for poor behaviour in dogs and dog disputes.
I shouldn't have to gate my property because of other peoples irresponsible behaviour that could lead to conflict. With the dog or with people.
 

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Not that weird, to be honest. Most people assume that if you're in a public space like a store with your dog that your dog is friendly. While it's not a very smart thing to just let your dog walk up and greet any dog without asking, if your dog was reactive or aggressive it probably shouldn't be in that environment to begin with. While Home Depot probably has way less dogs than a pet store, you wouldn't go into Petco or PetSmart expecting every dog owner to be 100% dog savvy with complete control over their dog. He was probably just happy to see another dog, I doubt he was smiling because he was a smug bad dog owner.
 

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I agree, as an owner of a reactive dog, I would never bring him into Home Depot or Petco, any store for that matter. But I will say the one beef I have with dog owners is not leashing their dog just because their dog is friendly. Doesn't protect your dog from approaching an aggressor..
 
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Home Depots, PetSmart, Petco, dog parks etc are great places to proof a reactive dog once the training and modification has reached that level.

" While Home Depot probably has way less dogs than a pet store, you wouldn't go into Petco or PetSmart expecting every dog owner to be 100% dog savvy with complete control over their dog." I completely agree with this and I count on this fact because that is the "real" world.

The bottom line in dealing with a reactive dog is the handler needs to have complete control and know the limits of their reactive dog. How else can one modify and train their dog's reactivity if the dog is never tested?

I think Turtle11 should be thrilled that her/his dog maintained and did not break the command given. Your time, efforts and training are obviously working. Good job!
 

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I disagree entirely, if you are not in control of your dog 100% then as the owner you need work as well as the dog.
It's not being " Dog Savvy " it's called being responsible.
You try and test your dog round the park with a muzzle on it, if it's reactive. You should do so until you are 100% sure.
It could be a small child that comes up behind your dog.
That's the real world.!
 

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I don't think a dog would have to be necessarily reactive in order to be startled (and react in kind) to having his/her behind suddenly sniffed by a dog he/she didn't know was there. My dog works in packs with other dogs regularly. He's taken courses with multiple dogs. He's in public situations frequently. But he's still going to jump if goosed from behind, especially if it's done by a dog larger than he is, even a dog he knows. I don't think that's a particularly unusual reaction either. If I'm unaware someone is behind me, and that person suddenly says something to me, I'm going to jump too. And really, there's no reason to get your jollies from watching your dog goose someone else's. If you want to know if your dog can greet someone else's dog, ask. Frankly, if you've got your dog on an overly long lead so that he/she can bounce all over my dog (who, in a place like Home Depot, would likely be on his four foot leash, giving him little leeway to keep his distance after the initial greeting, if that was his preference), I'm likely to make up some excuse as to why your dog shouldn't greet mine.

For that matter, in a store where a dog on a thirty foot lead could knock things over or startle other people by nosing them or jumping up on them, a thirty food lead is just a bad choice, and I wouldn't think it was inappropriate for the store or its manager to request that the owner in question keep his retractable lead at a maximum of six feet, and if he's unable to do that, to take his dog out of the store. That's one of the reasons I dislike retractable leads: for every person who uses one responsibly, there seems to be a minimum of three who don't. And don't even get me started on people who allow their children to run around with untrained dogs on retractable leads. I've had too many encounters with kids who think it's fun to let the dog run to the end of the lead and then can't retract the lead safely when necessary--or just don't bother to do so while their dog takes off after anything and everything and everyone else just has to get out of their way.
 

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I disagree entirely, if you are not in control of your dog 100% then as the owner you need work as well as the dog.
It's not being " Dog Savvy " it's called being responsible.
You try and test your dog round the park with a muzzle on it, if it's reactive. You should do so until you are 100% sure.
It could be a small child that comes up behind your dog.
That's the real world.!
Perhaps my words " The bottom line in dealing with a reactive dog is the handler needs to have complete control and know the limits of their reactive dog." escaped you???? " complete control " would suggest to me, "100% sure".

The OP cited the dog is being trained to ignore other dogs and did not suggest a problem with humans. So, the example " It could be a small child that comes up behind your dog." in this thread is a non sequitur.

Dog parks ( as I mentioned) are a good place to train and proof a reactive dog and impulse control but many cases of dog reactivity are unique to the dog being on a leash or a restriction in its maneuvering room versus free range at a dog park.

I have worked with reactive dogs in parking lots of dog parks where there is plenty of room to work with. Once the dog is capable in that setting, I work the dog in closer quarters such as pet stores.

The problem with a muzzle is, the dog may not get the bite in but still attempts to bite. It is most likely just as self rewarding to aggressive/reactive dog to "attempt" to bite with a muzzle on and further deepens the problem. A muzzle is "management" not "modification". I would use a muzzle however with a severely aggressive dog but not most.

I'm also guessing Turtle11's dog is not really dog reactive ( aggressive ) but just "loves to play" and Turtle11 has done a good job teaching the dog some impulse control and obedience as well as dictating when the dog is allowed to go play with the other dogs. A time to be civil and a time to have fun with the other dogs but all at the behest of the handler.
 

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" While Home Depot probably has way less dogs than a pet store, you wouldn't go into Petco or PetSmart expecting every dog owner to be 100% dog savvy with complete control over their dog." I completely agree with this and I count on this fact because that is the "real" world.

I have not ignored the second part but choose this part as it demonstrates the mind set of many.
Completely irresponsible.
You are saying you are counting on the fact that not every dog owner will be 100% dog Savvy. Not in complete control of their dogs. That is the real word.
I personally would not like to count on that fact, I too work with dogs.
15 years junior with reactive and rescue dogs. Still learning everyday.
First thing you learn is the owners are at fault of 99.9% of dog disputes, 100% of the time it's their attitudes and disregard for the general public.
 

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" While Home Depot probably has way less dogs than a pet store, you wouldn't go into Petco or PetSmart expecting every dog owner to be 100% dog savvy with complete control over their dog." I completely agree with this and I count on this fact because that is the "real" world.

I have not ignored the second part but choose this part as it demonstrates the mind set of many.
Completely irresponsible.
You are saying you are counting on the fact that not every dog owner will be 100% dog Savvy. Not in complete control of their dogs. That is the real word.
I personally would not like to count on that fact, I too work with dogs.
15 years junior with reactive and rescue dogs. Still learning everyday.
First thing you learn is the owners are at fault of 99.9% of dog disputes, 100% of the time it's their attitudes and disregard for the general public.
 

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I'm not saying it's right, just that it's not "weird" or unusual. There will always be irresponsible dog owners, it's nothing new. And while it isn't responsible to let a dog to the end of its retractable leash to greet another dog, I don't think it should be seen as some heinous crime that a lot of people seem to think it is. Ignorance is not malice. Maybe people should try a little more to educate others instead of tutting and walking away and ranting about what a horrible dog owner that person is.
 

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I think we agree. I expect to only control what I can control. I cannot control others with their dogs excepting a polite " My dog is aggressive, so it would be best to keep your dog close to you". They might blow me off or they might heed my suggestion. I don't care either way because I have a plan B and C. If they blow me off, I do a relaxed about face and head for a more suitable surrounding.


I fully expect handlers who cannot control their dogs at every possible encounter therefore I proceed accordingly with a reactive dog and take appropriate measures.

What confuses me is your comment " I personally would not like to count on that fact". I think when one is working with a reactive dog they need to assess/evaluate the environment and not only be proactive but count on the fact, other people are going to allow their dogs to behave in a manner which will test your dog's training and limits. As you very well know, every time a reactive dog breaks threshold, you have taken at least two steps backwards in the process.
 

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My comment was relating to yours, that you would not count on the fact that owners are not dog savvy or in control of their canines.
Why cant the general public not have to worry about dog owners handlers having complete control over their dogs.?
As for ignorance and Malice they go hand in hand in the Uk. Being uneducated about your dog could lead to fines, prosecution and inprisonment. So malice is an element of ignorance.
Testing dogs behaviour in a store without being a 100% sure that your in control is irresponsible, as is taking it any where in public.
That's my point. Nothing else.
Risk assessment and management of reactive/aggressive dogs is challenging even for experienced handlers. I have been caught of guard once myself, would not make that mistake again. I agree with always having plan A, B & C and eliminating risks in public places.
 

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That's it, 10s of thousands of dogs are destroyed everyday because of bad owners. 10s of thousands of dogs bite causing damage to dogs and people everyday, this is bad owners. Poor risk management and serious lack of responsibility places dogs in environments that are unfavourable and present danger far to often. Nearly every time unnecessary. I'm summarising that anyone who cannot control their dogs while in public places should not have them there. That's it.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Wow, thanks for all the replies. It's always interesting to read the different opinions and see the discussion happening.

Just for the record, I wasn't mad at the guy with the retractable lead. I guess I have gotten used to it -- my dog and I are constantly approached by people and their dogs (sometimes they ask first...but, mostly not!). I find many people are not aware of "dog etiquette", but want a social connection with other dog owners and their dogs. So, to an extent, I understand their want of a 'connection' and some interaction to brighten their day, so I try to not let things annoy me for the most part...there is no way I can avoid all these situations. It does make training harder because I am still trying to work on him ignoring dogs and people that greet him with exciting voices and vigorous pats. He's an adolescent and can become a bouncing monkey at the end of the lead. To top it off, he's 95 pds and strong, so I work that much harder in getting him trained.

That said, I think the most annoyed I ever got with unwanted interaction -- one time, my dog and I were waiting outside a store for a guy and his huge poodle to finish going through the door. But instead of leaving, he saw us and approached for a dog greeting. He was blocking me from entering the store, but I was an idiot and didn't say anything. Suddenly, his dog snapped and lunged, and almost got a piece of my dog's nose. Did the guy not know his dog was even remotely reactive?

Anyways, to continue with the first paragraph, another reason I try not to judge others for lack of dog etiquette - while I am aware of 'etiquette', I do stupid things. For eg, one time I was working in the front yard and my dog was being a good boy and ignoring passerby, so I relaxed control of his leash. Then my neighbour's 4 year old kid walks out. My adolescent dog takes off and starts running at her to play. Kid sees a dog twice her size running towards her, starts screaming and runs, and of course my dog chases her. Kid's grandma watches in horror. My dog quickly and thankfully stopped. Yes, I was THAT owner who made a kid scream.
 

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I've been the bad owner too, pretty sure I was embarrassed grinning while it happened. Took Echo out on the trail, all of a sudden a bunch of cyclists, runners and other dogs go past, all fine but echo was pretty excited and had no calm left so we moved to the side to calm. I was really close to her so the three feet of lead was plenty of room to be silly. All of a sudden a runner goes by that I hadn't seen and she ran after/into him, lucky he had a good sense of humor when he realized she was a puppy and just desperate to say hi.
 
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