The Social Side of Walking an Anti-Social Dog




You’d think that when you have a dog that hates all other dogs and most people, you’ll only avoid whomever and whatever living thing or person you might come across on your daily dog walk.

I thought so, too.

But the reality is quite different.

Soon, people who would have wanted to pet my dog know that she’s been rescued and that she has “issues” with strangers petting her. They sympathize with her (my dog) and with me; suddenly, we’ve become those lonely figures walking up and down the neighborhood, lonely and sympathetic. People wave at us and call “how’zit going?” to make sure we’re alright.

Then, there are the people who are walking their dog when and where I walk mine. It doesn’t take long for them to understand that they cannot come near us, or the growling and pulling and teeth-fletching will begin. Even if the other dog is generally docile and laid-back, it will change its attitude to something much more aggressive (or defensive) once it hears my fuzzy girl and sees her hackles up.
During these encounters, I apologize, we smile, and while we drag our dogs along in opposite directions, I can see their sympathetic faces and imagine how they will tell their spouses, later, that they can’t understand why I don’t call the Dog Whisperer.

There are the home owners along the way who might be working in their yards, with their dogs safely staying indoors. They quickly learn that they best not try to touch my dog, but my anti-social mutt also generally sparks a conversation. With one thing leading to another, after a couple of years in this neighborhood, I know quite a few people by sight and can and will have short conversations each time I see them.

Lastly, there are the people who jog with their dog. They move fast and by the time I see them, I often don’t have enough time to change to the other street side or find a driveway where to lead my dog so that she won’t growl at the jogger’s dog. In that case, I pick my girl up and turn my back to the passersby. I call to them, letting them know that my dog might growl, and as result, I find again sympathy.

In the end, walking an anti-social dog around the neighborhood is not the worst thing.

She is a conversation starter and a sympathy hog.

What else would I want?




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