Tonight, Ledcat and I moseyed up to Riverview Park for the first lesson in our outdoor dog training class. The goal is to help dogs learn to deal with distractions in public places. Since Xander and Deus are big scary dogs that bark at sources of fear, it seemed like a good idea.
The class is being held in this nice quiet grove. The boys were very well-behaved and earned lots of treats for being obedient. Our trainer laughed at us because our biggest challenge was keeping the boys from becoming jealous of each other when rewarded.
We did look mighty silly wearing our makeshift treat aprons aka Home Depot tool aprons with “clickers” velcroed to our fingers and waving wooden spoons covered in peanut butter. But it worked. First, the ignored the deer that walked through the grove. Xander finally learned to cope with Nico, the dog in the space next door. He even did well with the folks walking around the upper ridge.
Best of all, Xander proved useful in staring down the stupid and selfish idiot who showed up with his little yappy dog … off leash. I hate that more than just about anything in the world. Our trainer – who is a badass Northside livin' connoisseur of coping with poor behavior — told him off and ordered him to leave (she has a permit for private usage). He started arguing about being a tax payer and FU and all that good stuff. So I walked Xander closer to the edge of the ring and secretly instructed him to bark. Which he did. Very loudly. The guy then made a point of driving right up to me (I didn't flinch b/c I knew Ledcat had my back) and turning his car around with a flourish. Proving what, exactly? That he's an asshole who might run over a lesbian and her dog? I got his license and know the Pgh dog cop. Ha.
Put your dog on a leash. It is never cute to those of us who follow the rules and want to enjoy the public spaces, too. It is never cute. Roll your eyes and sigh and rationalize away. While your little yapper (I have a yapper too) dances around being adorable, my much better behaved large scary dark dogs have their pleasures curtailed because of your inconsiderate, thoughtless choices.
I just want to walk my dog through the park without having to contend with you running daintily toward me yelling “he won't bite” as your miscreant heads my way. Yes, he will bite in the right circumstances. Because he is a dog and when I spray him with repellant to avoid a confrontation with my properly leashed dog, he's gonna get pissed. I would. Technically, he should bite you for not being more careful with his precious self, but that's between you.
Leash your dog. Please. I don't want to give Xander the secret command to scare you away. But I will.