This blog is a tribute to Belle, and all the dogs who have come before and after. They are my friends, my companions, my teachers and my students. They bring me both joy and heartache, laughter and tears. There is nothing as sweet as the smell of puppy breathe, and nothing as sad as the final goodbye.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A message to small dog owners

When out walking a 120lb. leash aggressive labrador rescue I was training we were suddendly confronted by a snarling little chihuahua who could have easily been mistaken for Cujo. The little guy ran off his property, barking and snarling while trying to wrap his mouth around the Lab's leg. The attack was sudden and unexpected, the dog seemed to appear out of nowhere. The lab meanwhile, in the blink of an eye, was in full fight mode, ready and willing to take on the challenge. I was trying to move my dog away, which meant walking into the middle of a fairly busy residential street, mindful that the chihuahua had a good chance of getting killed by my dog or a passing car. I could have easily crossed that street with the lab in tow but I was truly afraid that the chihuahua would be hit by a passing car. The chihuahua was relentless, lunging at every opportunity. The owner appeared to my delight, but instead of calling off her dog, she stood there laughing her silly head off, oblivious to the dangers her dog was facing. I yelled to the fool, "get your dog before my dog kills him". She ignored me and called her friends from her backyard to come watch her macho dog in action. She was so proud. Now mad as hell and not much caring about the fate of the chihuahua I crossed the street, calming down the dog at the end of the leash in the process. The last I saw, the chihuahua was standing in the middle of the road still barking and snarling as we continued our walk.

The behavior of the chihuahua was not cute. The owner's behavior was despicable but not uncommon. I've always owned big dogs. I train many small dogs and enjoy their quirky personalities. I have always maintained that if a behavior is not appropriate for a large dog, then it is not appropriate for a small dog either. The behavior we demand from our big breeds is the same behavior we should demand from small dogs.

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