Animals should respect and behave
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
I do not like dogs. Especially yours. Yes, even though yours is different than the other ones.
Most pet owners and/or lovers think I don’t have a soul when I make this statement, but a lot of people aren’t dog lovers. We have allergies, sad childhood experiences with other dogs, or we just aren’t one for animals—which is usually fine: people who don’t like dogs aren’t forced to keep them as pets.
But many pet owners show disrespect to the personal space and preferences of others with their dogs. Having a pet creates a certain degree of entitlement. Some of it is justified, in that you have to take care of a living being. Dog owners need to take their animals in public, just like those who have kids do. But too often, owners forget that not everybody likes or is even used to dogs.
Far too often excuses such as “Oh, he’s friendly!” “She doesn’t shed!” or “He barks at everybody!” are made when dogs behave in a way that makes others uncomfortable. Dogs by nature are friendly animals. They may be jumping on you or barking at your kid out of genuine affection. But those who aren’t used to animal behaviour don’t know that, and it’s important to keep dogs at ease in public or around others just as with children.
Many places, particularly indoor buildings, prevent dogs from entering altogether or request that they be kept on a leash. It’s very important to follow these rules and not assume that your pet can be the exception. Everyone’s dog is “special” and “friendlier” than other dogs. A dog in a store may make others uncomfortable, trigger allergies, or endanger itself (by eating a display of chocolate, for example). This also goes for buildings that don’t allow pets. Your dog may be housebroken, but it only takes one accident to ruin a carpet forever.
No matter how trained or friendly a pet is, it’s still an animal and behaves in a way that’s frequently uncomfortable to others. Pet owners and bystanders need to respect each other to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all parties. And it’s not just in public; firm rules must be established in the owners’ homes. Dogs should not bark or growl at guests. They shouldn’t jump on or attempt to have sex with a visitor’s legs. If requested, the dog should not be in the same room as the visitor, and there should be a reasonable attempt to clean the room a dog had occupied. I have allergies and I don’t want dog hair all over my good clothes.
Having a pet is rewarding, but a big responsibility. Dogs are faithful companions for life, but they must learn to respect others the same way they would their owner.