Monday, February 6, 2012

The world does not belong to your dog

Are you one of those people who think the world belongs to your dog and rules don't apply to you?
You make my life so hard.
I had some bad experiences this weekend ...

On Saturday, I was starting to feel sick but determined not to let it get the best of me; not with such beautiful weather on tap. I took Sensi to my favorite park, Addison Oaks. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I spotted two dogs off leash.

I jumped out of the Jeep, the dogs (I had Sensi's little pomeranian girlfriend with me) still in the backseat, and approached the couple. Getting closer, I realized the dogs were kinda on-leash ... Kinda. The couple had what looked like a 30-foot training lead running from one dog's collar to the other, so the dogs were connected to each other, but no one was holding on to them.

"Excuse me," I called out; the couple turned around and looked at me, puzzled.

"I have two dogs with me too, and one of them is not very friendly. I see your dogs are off-leash. Can you make sure they don't approach mine?" I said, biting my tongue to avoid calling them out on breaking the park's "All dogs must be on a 6-foot-leash at all times" rule.

They looked at me quizzically, and then the man said, "We're heading out anyway." And they continued down the Buhl Lake trail with their dogs running 20-feet ahead of them, not restrained in any way except being connected to each other.

Luckily, we didn't run into them on our walk. But I was so perturbed that these people had the nerve to treat Addison Oaks like it's a freakin' dog park. You know what, folks? Oakland County has provided you with a spectacular off-leash dog park. If you think your dogs deserve to be off-leash at all times, please take them there. I really see no excuse for breaking leash laws, regardless of how wonderful you think your dog is.

My husband went to Oxford's Seymour Lake Park to play a round of disc golf the same day. He came back with two off-leash dog stories.

He ran into this guy who identifies himself as a retired Navy Seal for the second time. The first time he ran into this guy, last summer, he watched this guy's dog bite another older disc golf player on the next hole up and the dog's owner became irate at the victimized disc golfer, blaming him for the bite because he was throwing a disc and the dog wanted it. Hello? That's the whole point of disc golf — throwing discs — and the last time I checked, Seymour Lake has a disc golf course; not a dog park. Anyhow, in that incident, my husband and his friends had to step in and protect the bitten disc golfer from this man's threats of violence.

On Saturday, the guy's dog tried biting my husband as he was squaring up to putt the disc into the basket — the dog, obviously, wants the disc and has not been taught proper teeth restraint during play. Again, the dog's owner became irate at my husband after he asked the man to control his dog. Knowing this man's unstable temperament, my husband didn't press the issue and they waited for the man and his off-leash dog to give them some distance before they resumed playing.

Then, on the back nine, they came across an off-leash Mastiff accompanied by two older people walking the course. This dog also wanted to chase the discs, my husband said, and the older couple had a hard time getting the dog in control.

Seriously, people — the world does not belong to your dog. If your dog is so wonderful and well-behaved that it can be off-leash, this does not give you license to break rules requiring that your dog be on a 6-foot leash. Especially considering that I have yet to meet one off-leash dog that is so well-behaved that it asks its owner before approaching an on-leash dog, which is an entirely dangerous situation regardless of the temperaments of the dogs involved, both on- and off-leash.

Take your wonderful dog to the wonderful dog park, and if you're too lazy to make the drive and want to walk your dog somewhere closer to you, use a leash. Please use a leash.


  1. Amen. We run into that ALL the time, we also experience it at the condo where we live. We have leash rules at our condo but sadly too many don't obey them.

    I have heard of horror stories of "wonderful" dogs mauling onleash dogs...people need to use a darned leash!

  2. I am in extreme favor of dogs being on a leash. Just because you have a dog, doesn't mean rules do not apply. Oakland County even has a off-leash dog park! Oooh would I be annoyed if a dog would interrupt my disc golf game. When I am disc golfing or regular golfing, I am in that zone, and I would not want anything interrupting me, especially something that can be controlled.

    One more thing, disc golfs are made different than traditional frisbees, so a disc golf disc can hurt a dog.