What Is Going on in the Dog World?

What Is Going on in the Dog World?

Understanding Dog Psychology: Stopping the Trend

Nope, this isn’t a joke. It’s for real. I came across this sign this past weekend right here in Dubuque, IA. We were heading out for breakfast Sunday morning when we drove past a new, very nice, mobile home development property. It was complete with nicely paved streets, sidewalks, well manicured lawns, landscaping, a lovely park and this sign at the entrance.

I’m not a stranger to “No Dog’s Allowed” signs at some of our area parks and public areas, but I’ve never seen something like this in a residential development. Perhaps the home owners are not allowed to own dogs either, I don’t know.

So why is it that dogs are less welcome in our societies? Why are they viewed as such a nuisance that signs like this are necessary? Is it the “not picking up after them” issue?

Or is it something more?

Today I also posted a pic on our Facebook page of a dog trainer friend from Singapore who is currently visiting. During his stay we discussed the large number of breeds banned in his country and many more who are required to wear a muzzle while in public. I was truly stunned to learn of the mandatory muzzling of nearly a dozen breeds. And this requirement is anytime they are in public. 🙁

While we spend time in petty arguments over training tools, this is what is going on. More bans and legislation keep appearing that limits our options and our right to chose.

What are your thoughts? What is going on? Are you seeing this trend in your community? Is this just another symptom of the trend in believing you can legislate people into developing common sense, respect and taking responsibility?

And perhaps the most important question for all of us to concentrate on is, how can we work together to stop the trend?


6 thoughts on “What Is Going on in the Dog World?

  1. Rottiluv says:


    Yes I believe you have the right not to interact with my dogs, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the right to own them. It sounds like you’re a victim of the issue Robin is speaking of. When I was younger everyone had dogs, but they didn’t seem to be the hyper neurotic freaks that you see today. But of course that can only be achieved through “abusive” methods and in todays society dogs and children should be allowed to run free to do as they will.

  2. Judson says:

    I came across this website following another article. I personally don’t like dogs. I don’t like having to interact with them if I am in the neighborhood walking around and I really shouldn’t have to. I don’t know if a dog is a good one or not. I don’t know if the owner is responsible or not. I do know that some breeds compensate well for bad owners and some do not. In your article you make it sound as though these are things I should have to deal with… why should I? Its clear this is a website for people that like dogs and I completely support your right to own dogs and love and enjoy them. I however will not enjoy them at all. The fact is most dogs immediately get into your body space. They demand your attention and their presence always ends up demanding a response. I hate that. Its always going to be a nuisance to me, and since our parks and roads and neighborhoods are built for people and not animals, its not fair to impose their presence on others. If you want to have a zoo, go to the country.

    • Robin says:

      Hi Judson,
      Thank you for sharing your time and words here. I truly appreciate it. And I hear exactly what you’re saying. I agree with you. You should not have to like dogs nor to share your personal space with them. If you are encountering dogs that are immediately getting into your body space you are encountering irresponsible dog owners. It is a pet peeve of mine as well.
      But I believe we all need to learn how to share public space, be it sidewalks, parks or neighborhoods and we need to be respectful of one anothers privacy. Dog owners who allow their dogs to be a nuisance need to be held accountable. More dog owners need to take a higher level of responsibility for their dogs behavior. People should be picking up after their dogs, not allowing nuisance barking and having good control of their dogs behavior through solid obedience. Their are plenty of dog owners who need to stop making excuses. It is very important for dog owners to not assume every person or every other dog for that matter, likes dogs up in their space.
      But by the same token that does not mean that restrictions of dogs in commonly shared public space is appropriate either. I’ve raised my children and I personally don’t want to be somewhere stuck next to a screaming infant, but I have no objection to the babies being with the parents if the parents are responsible and do something if the child becomes fussy. I also don’t smoke but I recognize others have the right to make that choice and we must share public space. I also don’t appreciate rap music, it’s not my style, but others like it and they certainly have a right to enjoy it in a public area provided they aren’t blasting it so loud it affects everyone around them. Same goes for skateboards and roller blades, I have no problem with others using them around me as long as they don’t run me over and show a respectful distance when passing.
      Bottom line, we all need to be respectful of one another’s differences and take responsibility for our preferences with common courtesy toward one another. Banning people, animals, or things..really never solves many problems.

  3. Pat Hart says:

    There are 16 breeds here in Dubai that are banned breeds, and if they ‘happen’ to be here already they must be muzzled when in public. Areas for dog to roam is getting smaller and smaller, and there are no parks for them. Socializing dogs are either done out in a large deserted desert area, or in a paid Dog Facilities that have this service. The scary thing is that bringing dogs into Dubai is big business and the price for a ‘Pedigree’ dog ranges from US$5,000 +++. The shelters are filling up as dogs are not getting socialized, exercises or trained properly & owners don’t want them because they are dangerous!!! The more unsocialized dogs there are the more chances of having negative incidences that give dogs a bad rap, and then they get banned. Dog Training Facilities are on the rise here but without the ability for dog socializing with people and other dogs, it becomes difficult to prevent incidents from happening. As trainers, all we can do is educate everyone we meet, in the hopes that we can change minds. Unfortunately, as dogs are considered ‘dirty’ in this part of the world, we have great challenges ahead to change minds, and without socialization, it is a vicious circle. I totally agree with you Robin that we have to stop worrying about what training tools are being used and more about how we can educate people about the needs of a dog. If we trainers can communicate with each other, help each other, join as a group, so that we can spread the word, around the world, the amazing qualities of dogs and what they can bring to our lives.

  4. Sarah says:

    The laws that are meant to hold people accountable really just lower the bar for everyone and allow anyone and their brother to own a dog who, with a little luck and a little legislation, won’t be a menace to society or a danger to himself. Now, instead of training your dog to be off-leash reliable, you just have to tether them to the end of a leash, a 20-ft. flexi-lead if you’d like. You don’t have to socialize your dog since he’s always at the end of that leash, nor does he need to respond reliably to commands on or off leash–management will suffice. He doesn’t even need to be paying attention to you since you’re attached. And when you want him to have that off-leash freedom that you know he needs so badly, you can take him to a community-sanctioned off-leash dog area where he can mix and mingle with any sort of rabble that happens to come in off the street.

    We let anyone and their brother own a dog, tell them to have low to no behavior expectations (…of course your small dog can eliminate indoors on pee pads his entire life, after all, he’s a SMALL dog. Growling is just your dog’s way of communicating that he’s uncomfortable, correcting that behavior could result in the dog biting, and other myths…) and scare them away from using any sort of balanced training approach when they experience problems.

    “Trainers” spend four lessons teaching the dog not to bite the leash using a cookie, so there’s little time left for actually teaching the dog to walk on the leash. We’ve removed very real and tangible (life and death) consequences in the name of being humane to our dogs, and instead enacted legal consequences, and then watered down expectations and handcuffed people trying to attain those expectations (and especially trying to go BEYOND those expectations) that they can only train in one specific “modern” and “dog friendly” and “humane” way. The same laws meant to keep unleashed and untrained dogs from being killed in traffic gradually turn a dog neurotic as he is consistently walked at the end of a tight leash by an owner that won’t train him otherwise (why bother, there’s a leash law, after all). The same owner has probably been told that it will take 6 months to a year of daily practice, starting with 2 steps indoors (click + treat), before they can hope to go on a full half hour stroll through the neighborhood and even then, woe to them that encounters another dog or a squirrel en route. The leash law didn’t encourage people to train their dogs (it wasn’t meant to); if anything, it justified NOT training the dog. And current watered-down training standards and methods don’t inspire confidence either. Throw in the few “bad apple” dog owners that further mar the rest of us by not cleaning up after their dogs and allow them to bark at all hours, and is it really any wonder why dogs are more unruly today than in the past, why they’re more anxious and aggressive, and why dogs and dog owners tend to get a bad wrap?

    There is plenty of responsibility to go around for our current state of affairs, from breeders to rescues to trainers, to animal rights orgs. like PETA and HSUS, vets, average citizens, and lawmakers. But as trainers, the biggest impact we can have is by “taking back” the definition of a “trained” dog, giving this a consistent and readily recognizable and easily quantifiable form and function. Then committing to train above the standard the dog’s owner thinks they need (The dog’s owner is a product of our watered-down-standards society. We are the professionals who must educate and motivate them to aim higher.). The more we continue to deliver only what the dog owner thinks they need, what society merely deems “acceptable” or barely outdoing what ideologically-based trainers are producing, as opposed to a high standard or result that balanced training techniques alone can produce, the more we just keep perpetuating the cycle and not differentiating ourselves in any meaningful way from the trainers that would only continue to exacerbate this problem.

  5. Mike says:

    In my city Pit bull breeds have to be registered, and I have heard of there being bans on them in many places. I have seen people change over to the opposing side of the road to avoid Pit Bulls. People fear the breed, not the irresponsible owner. When walking my golden/lab hybrid I have also had people back away from the sidewalk with there hands raised defensively in horror. Despite being large, he is very harmless looking. Dobermans, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds have all be labeled aggressive dangerous breeds. The blame is always shifted towards the dog, never the true culprit. Their owner. I think such views need to change. No such thing as an aggressive breed. A dog is a dog first, and its breed second.

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