By Fran Buell, APDT
Bare Paw Dog Obedience
I don't know whether to call this column editorializing or venting.
Two weeks ago I took my grandchildren to the playground/park behind the hospital. This was my first visit to the park and I was impressed with what a nice place it is.
When you enter on the sidewalk, there is a sign that reads: All dogs must be on a leash and please clean up after your dog. I was happy to see that there was another park in Havre that allowed dogs to enter. Under the sign, plastic baggies were provided for dog owners to use to clean up after their dogs.
As my grandchildren ran toward the playground equipment, I walked along the sidewalk and what did I see? Dog feces. Now, here we have a park that allows dogs in it, provides cleanup bags free of charge, and what do you see? Dog feces. Now, whether this was the fault of a dog owner walking his or her dog in the park and not cleaning up after it or of a dog owner who allows his or her dog to run free, one does not know. Regardless, this is certainly an example of irresponsible dog ownership.
I have listed below some of my pet peeves about dog ownership. As a dog trainer, I try to emphasize to my clients that the dog and what he does is the owner's responsibility. Hopefully, those who allow their dogs to litter a children's playground park will read them and perhaps think a little.
1. Owners who let their dogs be loose in the back of a moving vehicle.
2. Owners who leave their dogs in cars more than 10 minutes.
3. Owners who tie their dog in the back yard as a long-term way to control the dog and not allow it to be part of the family.
4. Owners who let their dogs run loose to litter other people's yards, and chase cats, birds and other wildlife.
5. Owners who do not educate their dogs through obedience training and behavior modification.
6. Owners who do not give their dogs routine veterinary care or grooming.
7. Owners who leave their dogs alone while on vacation.
8. Owners who leave their dogs in small, filthy runs and do not provide adequate shelter for them from the heat and cold.
9. Owners who do not take responsibility for their dogs or their dogs' actions.
10. Adults who allow children to abuse dogs or handle them roughly.
11. Owners who abuse their dogs, period.
12. Owners who do not clean up after their dogs while taking them on a walk or run.
It is my hope that people in Havre who are dog owners will try to be better dog owners. I also hope that the park behind the hospital continues to allow people to walk their dogs there, but I wouldn't blame them if they replaced the current sign with a "No Dogs Allowed" sign. It is not a pleasant task to have to continually clean up after someone else.
Questions? E-mail email@example.com. Happy training.