Saturday, 27 October 2012

Dog Walking and Growing as a Person

These are our dogs having a walk on the park. I'm sorry for the unsavoury angle which sort of makes them look like a canine version of the publicity shy Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. We only had time to get a couple of photos of the two of them before they started getting a bit lairy. (The dogs that is - not the Paltrow/Martin combo) and in all the others they were sniffing each others bottoms. (Same disclaimer re dogs rather than Paltrow/Martin)
Anyway, getting off the subject here. So these are our dogs and they are practically perfect. Will not stop here to define perfect, as our neighbour who still has the nip marks on her leg, may well challenge our definition and we will get waylaid again.  Anyway, I am the first to admit that they are sometimes a bit snappish. A bit. Sometimes. When provoked. Not proper biting, you understand, just growly and a bit barky and nippy. A bit. Very rarely.
So you may not realise this but there exists a sort of dog walkers etiquette. When you are in the park, walking your dogs and listening to the birdies and wondering how important it is that you cannot find that pooh that Lucy has dropped in the middle of all those leaves, there is a code. That code says that if you have a dog on a lead, rather than running around loose, there is a reason for that. Often the dog is a bit barky or nervous  or runs like someone has fired them out of a cannon when they are let loose. There are lots of reasons. However, if you see someone with dogs on leads and they take steps to avoid meeting you with your dog, the thing to do is respect that and give them some space. There is no point following her and getting her dogs all worked up. There is very little to be gained by insisting on stalking her across the park with your spookily obedient German Shepherd. It is also not helpful to let your huge German Shepherd suddenly appear in the bushes so that someone walking two Jack Russells, suddenly finds herself desperately trying to get said Jacks on a short lead as they compete to get at mountain sized dog and give him a piece of their minds. It is also not cricket, when woman who is wrestling with mad Jacks tries to apologise to give her a pained smile, tut and walk on, successfully impersonating the "Smug Person of the Year" award winner.
This is why women who are wrestling with Jacks that you have upset, seemingly on purpose, feel the need to say, in what was probably a much too loud voice.
"What's it like to be Queen of the World and know everything?"
I don't suppose she heard anything. She didn't turn round. HOH says that's maybe because she was crying. I doubt it. 

Life Lessons from Dog Walking.
  1. Conflict has to be handled sometimes. I cannot hide behind privets all the time.
  2. Pulling your tongue out when someone isn't looking is not handling conflict.
  3. Even when you apologise, some people will still be miserable crows. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't say sorry.
  4. Sometimes you should say sorry, when you are not in the wrong. Often it calms things down. sometimes it doesn't. (See point 3) 
  5. You can't be everyone's friend.
  6. To be honest, you don't want to be everyone's friend do you?
  7. In the end you have to try to be nice to everyone while accepting that it won't always work. then your work here is done. Like it says in Romans "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
I am calm. I am serene. I am going to walk the dogs 15 minutes earlier to try and avoid running into German Shepherd Lady. I am, as usual, not very proud of myself.



  1. I think my lowest moment from dog walking was when our two lurchers (who eventually had to be hurried into a new home after the owner of a sheep found them with said sheep on its back as their idea of fun), who were not averse to rushing up to toddlers clad in pale pink (In the woods. Why?) and pushing them over in the mud, ambushed a woman from behind, gave her a shove and ran away laughing. This also took place in the woods. The woman stopped to chat and explained she was going to her daughter's degree ceremony, but had just taken time to walk her own (well-behaved) dog first. I am ashamed to admit I did not have the bottle to tell her that she was going to her daughter's degree ceremony in her navy blue pencil skirt and sharp jade-green jacket with two large muddy paw prints in the small of her back. This would not happen in 2012. Dog etiquette has tightened up radically.


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