Going somewhere especially fun for humans? Leave the dog at home!
Posted at 10:00AM - Comments: (16)
I love bringing my dog with me – when I go to a place where I know he will be comfortable and have the opportunity to do the kind of things he likes to do: run, swim, pretend-hunt, and greet and interact people he knows and likes. I don’t bring him with me, however, when I’m going to places where I know he will be uncomfortable and can’t do anything that’s fun for him. He doesn’t like loud noises, small children, being hot, or being subjected to a lot of people he doesn’t know. That rules out a lot of places and experiences where I would like to have his company at times, such as my son’s sporting events. There may be grass – but there is also heat, and little kids, and a speaker system, and Otto would spend the whole time stress-panting and wishing we were somewhere else.
I do know dogs who love crowds and greeting strangers, and who would love nothing better to attend a parade or street fair, even if it was hot and loud. However, few of them would appreciate being attacked by another not-so-comfortable (or frankly stressed) dog at the same event – something I’ve seen happen at almost every street fair I’ve been to. The thing that kills me is that the owners of the sweet friendly dog almost always look shocked – shocked! – when their dogs get attacked. Like they imagine that ALL dogs are happy to be at the hot, crowded, loud fair, because their dog is.
MOST dogs I see at human-oriented events are stressed and unhappy. Their owners are delighted with (and understand!) the exhilarating sights and loud sounds that make a concert, fair, or parade so much fun. They are understandably distracted by these sights and sounds and don’t seem to notice how anxious and uncomfortable their dogs are. They don’t seem to notice their dogs at all – so why did they bring them? (I’m afraid I spend most of my time at such events asking myself this question: “Why did they bring that dog HERE?!”)
Sometimes I see a more responsible owner with a dog at one of these events. Maybe they are spending most of their time at a small remove from the fields where the most heated action is taking place, and are giving their dogs water in a shady area. That’s nice, but then, aren’t they missing what they came to see? Wouldn’t the dogs be even more comfortable . . . at home?
Can anyone defend the act of bringing a dog to a fair or parade for any reason other than the express purpose of training the dog for service in a crowd?