Letters to the Editor

Letter: Dog rules

May 13, 2014


To the editor:

Twice in the past week during walks in the park I have had to be abrupt to young kids (a toddler and a pre-schooler) who startled my dog and me by running up behind us with the intent to pet him. In both cases, the parents were too far from their children to intervene.

My dog is a 50-pound work dog, not a plaything. He grew up around frat guys and adults and is unaccustomed to children. Elderly with limited eyesight, he is sensitive to movement around him, especially from behind. The daily walks are part of his — and my — health regimen. As we exercise, I do my part to be respectful of city ordinances and the environment. He is always on a leash in the park, and we always attempt to keep a distance from others, especially gatherings with children. And, yes, I scoop his poop.

While I take care of my animal, I have to rely on parents to teach children how to co-exist with dogs in public spaces. At a minimum, kids need to be taught not to run toward a dog, especially not from behind; not to scream at a dog, taunt it or throw objects at it; and they need to know to ask permission (from a safe distance) to pet an animal. Parents, let’s please work together to make the parks safe places we all can enjoy.


Elston Gunn 4 years ago

Lighten up. Kids love dogs and vice versa.

Kevin Elliott 4 years ago

Terrible advice, elston. Not sure why you are against education and safety and respect, but following your advice is likely to cause terrible problems.

Angel Plas Gillaspie 4 years ago

I agree with Kevin. I took my dog to Farmers Market this week and was extremely pleased with a couple of small children who approached me first and asked if they could pet my dog. That is the way it should be done - good job, parents! My dog loves everyone but he is still a pup and I am still working with him on the correct way to greet people and other dogs. I like to warn people that he may jump, he may lick, and especially he will try to take anything edible (or anything he thinks is edible) from you. But if I am aware of someone approaching him I can help him to greet them appropriately.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

Any dog, no matter how social or friendly can bite when startled. It is good advice not to charge at an animal or even a person, especially from behind.

How do you think I might react if you came charging up from behind at me and extended your arms to my face. Hint, I am not going to lick you.

4 years ago

Happens to me all the time as well. Stay away from strangers and their dogs please...

Scott Burkhart 4 years ago

Good letter. I have a Jack Russell Terrier that the kids can chase, grab, pull, tackle, swing him around by the ears, and generally abuse, and he will be their best friend!! "Jack" knows no enemies and loves everybody. That's his problem, he thinks everybody loves him.

Greg Cooper 4 years ago

My understanding is that Jack Russells have families and not the other way around. You are blessed with a great dog, Scott. May you have many happy years.

By the way, did you know that all dogs are Democrats? ;>)

Scott Burkhart 4 years ago

Seriously, when we leave him in the house alone, I leave the news on television to keep him company. FoxNews.

Greg Cooper 4 years ago

See, that shows he's a Dem: he has to listen to Fox and still loves you without reservation.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

This site is screwy. I see posts on my iPhone that I don't see on my computer and vice versa.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years ago

I do understand the concerns of the letter writer, but small children can get away from you in the blink of an eye.

To whose who do not yet have children I would recommend cardio, strength training, and do work on those sprints.

Julie Jacob 4 years ago

I have to agree with the letter writer here. Children DO need to be taught to respect dogs and treat them in a safe manner. A large part of this is that you NEVER pet or reach for a dog on a leash without asking the permission of it’s owner. A toddler and preschooler are plenty old enough to learn these lessons.

One suggestion for the letter writer, do not walk your dog in the park. I’m sorry, but you are asking for the exact behavior that annoys you by going to a park in the first place. Look for a quiet neighborhood street that you and your dog can enjoy the sights and smells of. Good luck and many more years with your elderly friend.

Brock Masters 4 years ago

It is good advice but it is still sad to think that someone should have to alter their behavior to avoid ill mannered children.

Julius Nolan 4 years ago

Seldom, if ever do I agree with you on anything, However in this I support your opinion completely. Unfortunately too many "adults" think their little darlings can do no wrong.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years ago

I would like to add that a lot of people here at Vermont Towers have dogs and walk them at South Park. We also go for walks at South Park for exercise.

Julius Nolan 4 years ago

The parks are for everyone, If the dog walker is following all procedures, including poop scooping, they have a right to be there. If you haven't properly raised your children and taught them proper behavior in public, then keep them away from the rest of the public.

Rick Masters 4 years ago

While everybody has the right to be in the park, if your dog get skittish around little kids playing, maybe the park isn't the best place for a walk. Not a lot of cases involving kids biting dogs; that river flows in one direction.

Save yourself the headache.

Julius Nolan 4 years ago

Read the letter, the complaint was about kids running up and surprising dog, not dog running after kids. Would you like someone running up behind you and grabbing or poking you? How would you react? Apparently the dog, like mine, doesn't like being suddenly accosted. Simply walking and minding their own business is what they and possibly you and I want. Maybe it's you and your untrained kids who need to be somewhere else.

Leslie Swearingen 4 years ago

I have had the good fortune to be around families with several small children who were very well behaved with no yelling or posturing on the part of the parent. I am in awe of such people who have taken the time and effort to make this happen.

When I got our first cat as a kitten I used a stuffed animal to teach my daughter how to behave around him.

I have a strong opinion that there are adults who don't know how to behave around dogs that they encounter in public and it makes me worry about dogs they may have at home.

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