Thankful for Good Neighbors
As a dog walker (and to an extent, as a dog trainer), I spend lots of time in neighborhoods that are not my own. While I dog walk only very near to my neighborhood, they are still very different areas. The more time I spend in these neighborhoods, the more I really appreciate my neighbors.
I live in a neighborhood with a lot of dogs–5 of the 12 houses on my “block” have dogs and there are at least 6 other dogs that walk past my house/corner every day (and we live on a “dead end” type corner). There are these two REALLY old min-pins with their really old owner who walk, slowly but surely everyday, the handful of young labs that get 1 or 2 walks a day, the man who used to walk the old golden and old (and leash aggressive) rottie who now walks a young golden and a rottie puppy, our friends down the street with two small fluffy dogs that walk each and everyday regardless of weather, and there is Lexie, the labradoodle who is the ONLY sane labradoodle I’ve ever met.
With all the dogs in the area, there are relatively few issues. Poop is always picked up, there are no dogs on “tie outs” for long periods of time, no dogs that are outside dogs, and only 1 dog that is a bit of an off-leash nuisance (I’m “lucky” enough to be neighbors with this one…). The owners always have their dogs leashed while walking, all but one use front hook harnesses, flat collars, or head collars (only one reactive boxer is on a prong collar), none of the dogs are blatantly aggressive, and the owners all “get” that my dogs fence fight and none are overly upset, I get comments like “they’re just being dogs,” “don’t worry about it,” and even some happy waves as I call in my two dogs (yes, the fence fighting has been my non-fulfilled resolution for two years now… my dogs make improvements and Bandit …well, he doesn’t and eventually brings them down but it is what it is)
I was thinking about it the other day that I am lucky that there are mostly responsible dog owners in my neighborhood. In my dog walking adventures I have come across, loose dogs, dogs that are clearly yard ornaments, the labs who have been locked out on the porch everyday even on the day it was a high of 7degrees (windchill was -10 for most of the day–there are two dog houses which is almost a consolation prize… maybe?), the dog on a choke chain attached to a chain tie-out, the COUNTLESS piles of poop next to the sidewalk that are never picked up, and the two dogs that escape their fence on a regular basis (but aren’t always loose).
I couldn’t imagine having to live in a neighborhood where loose dogs are the norm, where tethered dogs becoming increasingly aggressive, and where owners can’t be bothered to carry baggies and pick up a little poop. The only annoyance is one little rat terrier who is a bit of a terror. The owners have zero control of her and she is always just “let loose” outside to go potty (no fence and not on a tether). She lives right behind me and will run into my yard to chase bunnies/squirrels (the non-fenced part of the back) and her owners struggle to get her back… she’ll rush other dogs and other neighbors, if I’m outside she’ll rush me barking and going nuts, she’s pooped in our yard (and of course it wasn’t picked up), and she’s rushed my fence line getting my dogs all riled up (she’s lucky there is a fence or she would have been toast by now). BUT it only happens once a week or every other week that she goes on a rampage so I can’t complain too much.
There is even a group of dog owners who get together at the local park every morning around 8:30 to let their dogs run. This is NOT an off-leash park but each and every one of them clean up after their dogs and it’s a peaceful and enjoyable little gathering (Rio was there once or twice as a youngster). The owners are laid back drinking coffee as the dogs all hang out and play nicely. They take care of the park and leave it as it was when they arrived! It’s nice to see such a positive group of people and dogs being responsible (even if they aren’t supposed to be off-leash in the park).
While I may not know all of my neighbors, it seems all of us dog owners do know each other (or our dogs at least HAHA!) and we do our part to keep our neighborhood a great place to live!
Are you lucky enough to live in an area with other responsible dog owners or do you live with less than responsible dog owners as neighbors?