I love dogs and I hate dog owners.
I hate dog owners for the same reason I hate parents. I hate people that have kids because they can and I hate dog owners ‘because they can’ as well. There’s a certain responsibility that comes with creating life, and controlling an animal – and they aren’t that dissimilar from each other.
I’ve just been bitten by a German Shepherd on the wrist. It jumped up and snatched at me as I cycled to town on my bike. I must have done something to it right? yes I did – I cycled past it, probably slightly closer to it than would normally have done, to avoid the path of another pedestrian walking behind them.
I realise I entered into the dogs personal/protective space of itself and/or its owner, and the dog jumped up and bit me because of it. Luckily I had several layers of clothing on, including a pair of gloves, and 3 long sleeved tops on. I was also wearing a watch on the same wrist. With all this armour on, the dog ripped a layer of surface skin from my wrist and left impressions on several other points from its teeth. So yes, it was a proper bite.
After the dog released its grip, and nearly flipped me off my bike, I braked and swung round to the owner and shouted ‘Hey! Control your dog!…. dick!’ I didn’t need to say ‘dick’ but the first half of the sentence didn’t feel like it had enough impact on the owner. And now with hindsight, I think I said ‘dick’ because of my thoughts about dog owners for the last few months.
Since cycling into town regularly, I pass a lot of dog walkers and owners. The 2 are very different, I’ve noticed dog walkers have the animals on a tight leash, walk them in designated areas and can control their canines, whilst dog owners, talk to, carry, feed and treat their ‘pets’ like child substitutes.
The number of times I’ve approached a dog owner and thought ‘could this person control this dog if it went for me?’, very often the answer is no. I know they could not. I hear them shout at their dogs when they shoot off after something, I see them apologise to other people for a dog that jumps up at them, and I see them attempt to walk a dog, when in fact the dog is really walking/dragging the owner. And don’t get me started on people that use those long retractable dog leads that allow the animal to walk 100yds ahead of the owner on a path next to a busy road of traffic!
Incompetent owners are easy to spot and very common. I’d like there to be a test for potential dogs owners. I remember having to take a cycling proficency test to ride a bike, something similar is all that’s needed, it doesn’t even have to cost anything – just 5mins of animal obedience control would indicate to a professional whether a person had the mental capacity to assert the level of control needed.
I think the first question on the test should be ‘what do you feel is a suitable name for a dog?’
Because if it had been, then I’m fairly certain that ‘Minty’ wouldn’t have been in a position to bite me.