Written by Michelle Kretzer
my German shepherd-something-something-something mix, and I love our walks. I
let her choose which direction she wants to head in, and we ramble off in
search of new sights and smells.
matter which path strikes Hannah's fancy, we always seem to see other dogs out
for their evening strolls whose guardians act like it's a race to the end of
the block. When the dogs try to stop and sniff something, send some "pee-mail,"
or greet Hannah, their guardians sometimes yank them away and drag them down
the street. You can practically see the dog's nose twitching, trying
desperately to catch whatever interesting smells he or she can as their human rushes
along like a marathoner.
developed a little trick to use when Hannah starts to approach a dog or when
another dog wants to stop
and sniff near us: I say to her,
loud enough for the other guardian to hear, "OK, just say 'Hi' for a minute,"
and that's usually sufficient to spare the other dog a bad case of leash-lash. My
boss, who is equally irked by leash-lashers, takes a more direct approach. She
matter-of-factly says, "Can our dogs meet for a minute?" or "Why
don't we just let them sniff?"
When a friend of mine is out and sees anyone with a dog—although she doesn't
have one—she always stops and says, "Oh, what a beautiful, smart face!"
or "They love to be outdoors, don't they?" to get people to
appreciate their dogs and to remember how much walks matter to them. When
provoked, that friend can bite, too! Seeing someone dragging a dog along or
keeping a leash too tight, she will say to the guardian, "Boy, that dog
isn't allowed much fun on his walk, is he!"
approach works, I think we owe it to dogs to try to stop their guardians from yanking
them away from whatever they're interested in, denying them the social
interaction and ability to explore surroundings that they need and crave and
possibly even injuring them. When you consider that
a walk is the highlight of the day for most dogs, don't they deserve to enjoy
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