Monday, December 27, 2010

Inconsiderate Dog Owners

Dog owners are the most inconsiderate people in the world. With almost no exception they are completely oblivious to the fact that not everybody is as enamored of their pet as they are. What's more, they forget that not everybody is supposed to be.

The desire of many dog owners to inflict their pride and joy on unsuspecting and reluctant others often makes them leave aside any semblance of good manners. They generate a peculiar language of their own and expect everybody to understand it. To give an example, whenever a dog assaults a complete stranger in the street, a dog owner is likely to bestow a goofy smile on said stranger and announce in a voice filled with pride, "Oh, he's just playing!" Do they have no idea how strange it is to utter something like that? Do they expect that strangers should stop caring that their clothes and shoes are being ruined, while their progress down the street is being hampered, the moment they hear that the nasty animal is "just playing"? I wear a white coat in winter, and dry-cleaning it is a bitch. But, apparently, I am expected to feel joyous when a dirty, salivating animal puts its grimy paws all over my white coat. Oh, he's just playing, and I totally live to serve as a toy.

Another insane statement by oblivious dog owners that is supposed to assuage the anxieties of those who dislike being assaulted by dogs is "He's not going to bite! He just wants to lick you!" Oh, thank goodness! Because I've been walking around dreaming of being licked by some disgusting beast. Now I can rest easy, knowing that this dream has finally been fulfilled: I have been licked. Yippee. The worst part is that whenever dog owners see one's intense discomfort with being licked by their stupid pet, they laugh like it's the funniest joke in the world. It's as if dog ownership made them lose all civility and turned them into inconsiderate, blockheaded brutes who feel that they should be exempt from rules governing civilized human interactions. 

And have you tried taking a firm stand with these people and telling them that their dog has destroyed your expensive pantyhose and messed up your coat? Try it and you will see that every single time they have the gall to feel righteously offended. "But he was just playing!" they announce with so much indignation that a passerby might think you harmed their dog instead of the dog doing damage to you.

Another problem with dog owners arises when one visits them at home. Is it too much to ask that they warn people about the presence of dogs on the premises when inviting people to come over? You never know, your guests might be allergic, or phobic, or well-dressed, or simply uninterested in spending any time around dogs. Why not give people an opportunity to choose for themselves? And I really don't care if he's "just like another family member" for you. If you've got a family member who is likely to salivate over my clothes and tear my pantyhose, then, yes, you should warn me before I come over.


It happened to me more than once that I would come over to somebody's place in good faith only to be greated by three huge (or one little, there is not that much difference) animals. Then what I thought was going to be a party turns into a nightmarish experience where I sit there in my ruined clothes, covered in dog hair, with torn pantyhose, stinking of dog, calculating how much it will cost me to repair my damaged outfit and my ruined mood. To which the hosts respond with a look of having achieved nirvana: "Oh, he's just playing!" Now, this is just rude. And do you know they respond when you complain that their animal has torn your pantyhose? "Well, why do you have to wear pantyhose all the time?" I kid you not, I have heard this from people who are normally quite reasonable, well-educated, and polite. Once, I had a dog scratch my leg so deeply it drew blood. You should have seen the look of uncontrollable glee on the owner's face: "You should see my legs!" she gushed as if I had evinced any interest in said extremities. "They are all covered in scratches. Much deeper than this one!" Which, apparently, was supposed to make me feel bad about losing the my-scratch-is-deeper-than-your-so-the-doggie-must-love-me-more competition.

Of course, there are also complete freaks who actually arrive at a party with their dog without having given any advance warning or having asked for permission. I believe that these people, who sit their smugly while their dog inflicts damage on the hosts' furniture, barks at and salivates over other guests, and completely ruins the party, have some deep pscyhological issues. I haven't seen anybody who would have the bad taste of showing up with their pet without asking permission, but I have heard from reliable sources that such people do exist. Which is very scary.

I know that we are all supposed to find babies and puppies to be incredibly cute. The truth is, though, that we don't. It is an objective fact of existing reality that many people find dogs to be completely intolerable. Please, dog owners, mind your manners. Try to show some consideration for the preferences of others. It doesn't cost that much to ask people in advance whether they are interested in spending time with a dog, does it? 

18 comments:

eric said...

It would be wrong to generalize about dog-owners--as most of those who are inconsiderate in that respect are so in other areas of life as well. My wife and I own a dog, and whenever we have a first-time visitor to our house, we keep him out-of-sight and out-of-mind. We never have him out in the front of the house, unless he's on a leash. A lot of people in our neighborhood don't even do that, and when I'm out walking our dog, we will be accosted by their stupid dog(s) that they just let run loose. Trust me, if they weren't dog owners, they still would be people you would not want to know!

Anonymous said...

I take it you're not a dog fan. Do tell us your opinion of cats. (Do you have pets?)

--Not a Fan of Jumpy German Shepherds or Collies, Allergic to Cat Dander

Clarissa said...

I wish more people were like you and your wife. The dog owners who live on my street are all very inconsiderate, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Sorry you hate dogs so much. Have you considered carrying mace when walking? Display the can prominently and warn the owner that if the dog gets within three feet, it will get sprayed.

You don't sound like you are asserting yourself. Why do you stay at people's homes after their dog has drawn blood or ruined clothes that the host has refused to pay for? Do you ask if there will be dogs at the house? If I hated dogs as much as you, I wouldn't go into houses that had a dog in it and I'd tell the host that I just can't or won't be around dogs and leave.

Sound like you have a real problem with dogs that most people don't have. If you don't let anyone know how you feel, no one will know to accommodate your needs.

You have inconsiderate friends. I've lived with big dogs all my life and can't imagine being without one. I don't expect anyone to like them. My dogs are leashed when walked and trained not to approach people. I put them in another room when a repair man comes or my dog phobic sister in-law visits. I accommodate guests feelings on this. However I don't have many real close friends who hate dogs.

Clarissa said...

"Why do you stay at people's homes after their dog has drawn blood or ruined clothes that the host has refused to pay for? Do you ask if there will be dogs at the house? If I hated dogs as much as you, I wouldn't go into houses that had a dog in it and I'd tell the host that I just can't or won't be around dogs and leave."

-This is not always possible. What if the dog owner in question is your boss? Or your spouse's boss? Or a prospective employer? I wish it were always easy just to leave or refuse to stay in these situations.

It's also difficult because the popular opinion is not on the side of those who are not amused by babies vomiting on them and dogs salivating over them. Refusing to hold someone's baby or pet someone's animal makes one a butt of endless critical comments.

"I take it you're not a dog fan. Do tell us your opinion of cats. (Do you have pets?)"

-I honestly think that by not keeping animals at home in the capacity of household toys I show a lot more love for them than those monsters who take a poor animal, castrate it, tear out its claws, put it into a cage (as in the case of birds), etc. all just because they need a fluffy toy around. Some people keep hunting dogs in city apartments. And they are considered animal lovers, while I - who would never inflict such torture upon a live being - am considered an animal hater.

Anonymous said...

Fuckin' A right on.

Most dog owners are inconsiderate louts. It's often everything I can do to keep from pulling out my knife* and gutting a dog that jumps on me especially after I hear, "Oh, he was just playing!" Of course I want to deliver the line as I am covered in blood and viscera following the canine's disembowelment, "Me too!"

One day, I will probably go to the slammer for doing the above.

I agree with one of the above commenters -- it's not all dog owners, just 95% of them.

-Mike

*And since I was raised redneck and they are damn handy, I still carry a knife everywhere.

fairykarma said...

This is how I feel about both dog owners and tiny human owners.

The alternative is large crowds of feral dogs with rabies and unruly kids running amok.

Pagan Topologist said...

I do not like dogs, for the most part, and I avoid going to places where I will encounter them. (I have met a very few dogs that I get along with, but they are very rare.)

I like cats, and don't mind that they like me when I visit a house where they live. I have decided not to share my living space with any animals, and my spouse agrees. We have both had cats in the past.

I love small children. They often like me, also, though of course that varies. They are individuals with their own tastes and preferences, after all.

Richard said...

Your dislike of dogs has brought forth a remarkable collection of dubious generalizations and generally ill-tempered remarks. One of the respondents, Mike, sounds like he is not playing with a full deck. Eric I believe is the only respondent who presented a balanced opinion.
In point of fact dogs can be wonderful companions if properly trained. My dog is the only creature that I know of who is always genuinely glad to see me, provides unconditional love, and takes me for wonderful walks. Yet it must always be remembered that even after some 30 thousand years of domestication, a dog is still an animal that consists primarily of a nose followed by a bundle of instincts. As such, no matter how well trained, they can be unpredictable. As Eric pointed out it is the dog owner who has to show responsibility for keeping his dog under control and many owners behave with considerably less sense than their charges.

Clarissa said...

Mike is being facetious, as usual. :-)

As for me, I have no dislike of dogs. I have an actual full-blown phobia induced by a childhood trauma. I do not wish any harm to any dogs, however. I'm just very frustrated with inconsiderate dog owners who live in my street.

Anonymous said...

If the dog is at the house of your boss or his spouse or a prospective employer then say, "I have a phobic fear of dogs and can not attend your function." If the person inviting you doesn't tell you they have a dog, ASK. Having a phobia is a disability that should be accommodated under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Outside of professional situation, a friend who will not respect your phobia is no friend.

True, admitting a disability can be humiliating and bring down discrimination on your head(I speak from experience), but it's easier to admit what your disability prevents you from doing than traumatizing yourself repeatedly.

Clarissa said...

Thank you, Anonymous! I haven't yet been able to explain to a single person I know that when I get a panic attack because a dog comes at me, it isn't funny. People tend to treat one's intense fear of dogs as if it were the funniest joke in the world. I have unwillingly provided tons of entertainment for more than one party in this way.

And I haven't met a single person who'd warn they have animals at home beforehand.

Tom Carter said...

Great post, Clarissa. I agree with everything you said, even though I'm an animal lover (and a baby lover, too).

Dogs are wonderful creatures, and there's nothing quite like the unconditional love of a dog for it's master. But dog owners have to understand that not everyone feels the same way, and it's intolerable (and illegal in many places) to let your dog come in physical contact with another person if that person doesn't want it.

As for cats...I've lived with one for the past 10 years, mostly because my significant other likes them. But we don't live together, so I'm kind of the custodian of that cat on her behalf. In that time, I've gotten used to him, pretty much. He loves me, in his weird cat way, and I love him back, in my weird human way. But he doesn't tolerate fools well (in his view), and he'll deploy the fangs and claws when he feels it's necessary. So, I lock him away when someone comes whom he doesn't know well. One little story--when I go off on a trip, which happens fairly often, and bring out the suitcases, he lays on top of them, apparently in the hope that I won't leave again. Pathetic, but touching.

Sarah said...

I am NOT a dog lover. I can't stand them, especially when dog owners don't put their animal on a leash and I go out for a run and the damn thing is nipping at my heels and barking. So, I've stopped on numerous occasions and yelled at the dog as loud as I could and he/she takes off. And I can't stand it when I go to someone's house and their nasty slobbering dog tries to jump at me and is barking at me. I'd like to throw a brick at the thing. I ask the owner to put their dog outside or in the cellar because I don't like them. I'm very vocal that I don't like dogs. People get the picture pretty quick.

Anonymous said...

I live next to a dog that barks day and night at anything and nothing. The owners play pretend and think nothing is wrong with this. Very inconsiderate people! Why do people feel the need to own dogs if they don't want to train them? Dogs are subservient animals and can be great pets if you take the time to train them and don't make excuses as to why they are this way.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you all the way. In fact just today I was out walking on the hiking trail, when some lady was walking her dog off leash. The dog came racing up to me wanting to "play". The lady gave me the usual "It's ok, he's friendly" routine that I've heard a million times from the owners in that type of situation. I simply told her, bluntly, "not everyone likes dogs", and just continued walking. I felt kind of bad about it afterwards, it was a pretty rude thing to say. But it just gets so aggravating dealing with these kinds of people. They simply assume everyone else else should love their dogs as much as them. They never take into consideration that some people may be allergic to dogs, or afraid of them.

Anonymous said...

Here's some solutions regarding inconsiderate dog owners. Believe me, I have had more than one living situation ruined because of dogs.
But, I got pro-active.

First of all, most every city and state has laws about dog barking and the care of dogs. Find out what they are. They should be listed under ordinances. My city has ordinances about barking, going off a leash, dog poop, etiquette at the dog park, etc. My state has a law limiting how many hours a day a dog can be tied up (tethered.) I once called animal control. A letter was sent out about the endless barking. The letter was effective, and there was never a problem again.

If going to the authorities would start too much of a war, then get one of those devices that emits ultrasonic pitches that dogs hear, but people don't. One of the best is a device that looks like a bird house that you put in your yard, maybe your window. Every time the dog barks, the sounds goes off. After awhile, the dog stops barking. Check places like Amazon for these devices and read the positive reviews of this particular product.

I let my friends know I do not like dog slobber on me or dogs barking. There's nothing wrong with saying "quiet" like you mean it when a dog barks. I have been doing that recently, I think it was bothering the neighbors and the dog owner got a bark collar for the dog that pretty much keeps him quiet.

I just moved from a place where the dog owners in front used to leave dog poop in the yard for days. Disgusting, especially in summer when the flies were swarming around it! And, the "neighbors" behind me had three big dogs in a small yard that barked all the time. I did the Animal Control route, changed nothing, and yelled at the dogs. . Sometimes people are such jerks, that you just have to move.

I do not "hate" dogs. And, most dog owners are considerate. I am also a considerable person and I would not poop on someone's lawn or make so much noise it would bother other people. That seems to be a hard concept for some people to get.

Anonymous said...

I know an elderly couple in N.J. For 3 years, 4 times a year,one of the woman's sons,his wife, kids,would visit.he also brought his dog. The dog would piss and shit in the house. The first time, the son told her the dog was in the car. But he brought it into his room; where he would smoke, despite the couple's health problems. When they finally objected to the dog, they ceased their visits Recently, he acquired a pitbull. I won't be visiting them as long as it lives there. At five months, the damn thing is 40-50 lbs.