Whole Dog Journal's Blog August 12, 2013

Dog haters: What can be done about them?

Posted at 10:07AM - Comments: (11)

Have you ever noticed that almost any article about dogs in any non-dog (mainstream) publication will be followed by a certain percentage of comments by people who HATE dogs and their owners?

I’ve noticed it many times, but it really struck me yesterday, when I was reading an article in the New York Times about a town in Spain whose mayor has tried a number of interesting and innovative programs to convince dog owners to pick up their dog’s poop – apparently something that Spaniards are loathe to do. The number of and maliciousness of the anti-dog comments on the article were scary (well, to me, a dog owner). Many people shared their disgust with dogs, dog owners, and dog poop with a savagery that seemed way out of proportion.

Or is it? I have to admit that even I, a person who LOVES dogs, get irritated when I’m confronted with dog owners who are acting badly, such as people who bring untrained and misbehaving little dogs into grocery stores and restaurants, claiming them to be “service dogs.” Or when I walk in certain neighborhoods in dog-crazy San Francisco, and see owner after owner allowing their dogs to pee on everything, including parking meters, street planters, store fronts, and chairs at outdoor cafes!  Or when I visit turf sports fields that are clearly marked “no dogs allowed” and see people who are running their dogs on the grass. If these behaviors bother ME, how must they make someone feel if they already really don’t like dogs at all?

I’m also one of the most intolerant people I know about people who lock their dogs outside all day and/or night to bark, bark, bark. I feel very sorry for those frustrated, bored, anxious, neglected dogs – but I also feel very angry toward their owners.

Unfortunately, all I can reliably do, as a responsible dog owner, is to manage my own dogs well: to assiduously pick up their poo; to not bring them into environments where dogs are not welcome (or try to pass them off as service dogs); to prevent them from peeing in inappropriate places (such as urban sidewalks – mostly by taking them to an appropriate place to urinate fully, and then controlling them fully to prevent ANY marking); and to make sure they don’t have an opportunity or reason to bark, bark, bark all day and/or night.

Sure, we can try to educate our friends about being responsible and not giving dog-haters a reason to hate us more. And we can attempt to politely educate people who are not managing their dogs in a responsible way that their actions may well result in unwelcome consequences for all dog owners in their community – but good luck with that! I’d guess that many (if not most) people who break societal (or legal) rules with their dogs don’t care what others think or what consequences their dog-owning peers may suffer as a result of new rules or laws aimed at curbing dog-owner misbehavior.

What am I missing? Should I not concern myself with the (seemingly) growing number of people who express such rancorousness about dogs? ( A recent spate of dog-poisonings in the San Francisco Bay Area tells me there IS reason to be concerned.) Is there anything else we as responsible dog owners can do to serve as ambassadors for good dogs and good dog owners?

Comments (11)

Have a neighbor putting us through difficult times reporting us to the Housing Association because of our gods. The dogs does not like the dog because of his treatment. We are renting and he tells us we do not belong to the association because we are not the owners of the Housing Association. He tells us we need to go and stay where we belong. Can you please advise what to do. We love our dogs and some people within the unit loves dogs.

Posted by: evansda1 | October 24, 2014 3:00 PM    Report this comment

Laurie K, you are exactly right when you said:Some people who don't like dogs have never known a dog. I hated dogs until I became friends with an owner of 2 Cavaliers and my outlook has completely changed. I went from getting upset when they came near me to being upset when they don't sit next to me and let me pet them. I now look eagerly forward to my next visit to see them.

Posted by: jackdav1973 | April 10, 2014 4:00 AM    Report this comment

I was a dog not liker, never quite a dog hater. I found dogs annoying, clingy, and noisy. Dog poo, dog licking and dog barking annoyed me. What happened. I bought a mini-schnauzer, and found out that my childhood dream of having a live teddy bear had come true. Most importantly, my dog was my friend who was happy to see me and sad for me to leave. Since that one purchase, I have rescued 4 other mini-schnauzers and a wire haired fox terrier, and my life if full of action and fun. I make a real point in controlling poo and noise. My dogs only go out in the yard in daylight hours, and never for more than 10 minutes unless supervised otherwise I walk the pack on my country road and enjoy the fun. It is my experience that most people will love a dog if they allow themselves.

Posted by: wjtyndall | November 3, 2013 8:36 PM    Report this comment

Thank you!!!!! You said it all!!! My feelings exactly!!!

Posted by: s.ched | August 14, 2013 6:17 PM    Report this comment

I try to make sure our dogs - 3 Standard Poodles - don't annoy the neighbours by barking in the back yard and when we walk them they aren't allowed to go onto anyone's property. I am always very conscious that not everyone likes dogs and try to make sure mine are good canine citizens. It must be working because when our neighbours next door sold their house they told the new owners that we had 3 dogs but they were so well trained and behaved they would never know they were there. And another neighbour 2 doors down who is a nurse and works shifts said the only way she would know we had dogs is because she sees us walking them. We spent 4 weeks visiting Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island this summer and every campground we stayed at welcomed dogs. I'm sure people who don't have dogs appreciate seeing us picking up after ours and keeping them under control. I'm not sure there is much we can do about people who truly hate dogs because I think they probably hate more than just dogs and are actually scary and possibly mentally sick people. Very sad.

Posted by: Jeanette A | August 13, 2013 7:08 PM    Report this comment

The only things to do with "dog haters" are to ignore them, "pretend" they don't exist and pity the poor jerks!

Posted by: Beverly J | August 13, 2013 3:07 PM    Report this comment

I think the previous poster hit the nail on the head. The biggest reason that dogs are not allowed in many places in the US is the fault of the owner. Having spent some time in Germany where dogs are allowed just about anywhere I never saw any problems. Reason? The dogs have been trained. You may bring them in a restaurant as long as they can fit under the table where you are seated. I have seen them in some of the best dept. stores in Berlin + Munich walking beside their owners. Never sniffing a stranger or relieving themselves where they shouldn't. If it can be done there it can be done anywhere. It's called training. In the US the vast majority of dogs are brought home by persons with no idea at all about how to train them. The dog ends up having a miserable life and I suspect it to be one of the reasons that dog life expectancy in this country is as low as it is. Feeding and housing an animal as intelligent as most dogs are is not being kind to them. It would be similar to having a child that you never send to school and never let play with other children. That child would be mentally abnormal. As are many poor little dogs.

Posted by: Barbara W | August 13, 2013 12:12 PM    Report this comment

Some people who don't like dogs have never known a dog. I have watched my dog skillfully work his way into the heart of such a person, and turn that person into someone who loves dogs. These are not true "dog haters." They are just un-exposed and un-innoculated.

When you say "Dog Haters," I know who you mean. I help people who have dogs with cancer. I have received shocking emails from people who truly hate dogs. And hate dog owners. I put them into my "Hate Mail" folder and go on with my day. They do not deserve a response or any of my time. They are invested in their crusade against dogs! Dog-hater becomes part of their definition of themselves and they will never change their position. Don't waste your time!

Posted by: LAURIE K | August 13, 2013 11:35 AM    Report this comment

I'm amazed in the age of plastic bags and paper towels, etc. That people do not pick up after their pets. It's no different than changing a diaper. Dog haters?, they are unaware of the unconditional love they give, even when their owners abuse them, try that on another human. Many humans are hateful of just about anything, and you have to wonder what happened to them growing up. Maybe not taught respect to any living thing? As a young mother of 4 I never allowed the dog inside, with one exception, when our Basset had puppies. She was treated like a queen as well as her puppies. Today, a widowed senior, my Charlie snuggles up to me in bed, and when I cry she snuggles and licks my hand. Oh you haters, you don't know what you are missing, they are Gods gift to all of us, treat them well, as you would like to be treated.

Posted by: Janet F | August 13, 2013 11:16 AM    Report this comment

I wish it were possible to introduce a class into our school system, to inform children about dog care, dog handling, dog expenses ($$$!)and DOG TRAINING. A lot of adults get a dog -- usually on impulse -- and don't have the mental, emotional, and financial resources to properly care for the dog, much less train the dog so its behavior is acceptable in public. Oh well, one can only hope!

Posted by: margeam | August 13, 2013 11:08 AM    Report this comment

I love having my dog, Tessi, with me on my travels. I've gotten so I feel privileged when she is allowed to accompany me in places not normally allowed. This summer we took a ferry that allowed dogs on deck. This is very unusual as most ferries require they be left in the vehicle. I was annoyed when I saw a guy let his dog go back and forth under the rope into the "crew only" area. Then I was really, really annoyed when they left and I saw a puddle of pee left behind in the "crew only" area. People like that make it very difficult for us responsible people to be able to have such privileges.

Posted by: CSmyth | August 12, 2013 3:29 PM    Report this comment

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