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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost daily, on our walks, we walk past a husband or wife that live a few houses down the block. They walk a large mixed breed and we usually cross paths. As we walk by I always see their dog going crazy and the owners having a really tough time holding on. Last week the husband was sitting with the dog and actually wound up on his back as his dog was yanking to get to us. I always see them screaming, yanking, and one time hitting the dog in the chest. I don't really know the couple, but we have said hello numerous times and their son has pet my dog quite often prior to their new dog aquisition. I always wan't to give them some advice or a few quick tips on how to handle their dog, but I feel out of place. Do you guys think I should speak up? Would you offer pet handling advice to a stranger?
 

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I have found giving people advice is a very touchy situation. Maybe you could suggest going for a walk together "to help" the dog get calmer with your dog. This way no feelings would be offended.
 

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I wouldn't give advice right away but I might start with an ice breaker. Something like, "Oh he's a handful! (smile) How old is he?" Not everyone wants unsolicited advice but most people love to talk about their dogs and the conversation might come around to how you get your dog to walk nicely.
 

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Under those circumstances you described, no, I wouldn't offer advice. If I were you, I would also probably alter my walking route if possible to avoid this house if you think the dog may be aggressive. Sounds like it's one tug away from getting loose.

Even if you wanted to talk to them, if this dog is barking, etc, it's going to be really difficult for you to try to talk to these people. The dog will be going nuts and they will be struggling to control it. Asking questions or trying to talk during all that will be difficult at best.
 

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The icebreaker idea is a good one, not just for this situation, but for situations like this. In this case, consider telling the owner - with no dogs around, of course - that you have become concerned that his dog may be able to get out of his control even on a leash and attack you and your dog. He may not buy it, but you have a right to let him know how his dogs public behavior might affect others. Unfortunately, rubbing his nose in it isn't a viable option, or I'd say go for that because it's fun.
 

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I wouldn't say a word to them. They know there dog is a handful and not well behaved. They see your dog as being well behaved. If they wanted advice they would ask you for it.

I'm sure they are also blaming the dog for the behaviour, not their lack of training/skills that created the problem.

Nope, wouldn't say a word, and I would have a tough time sticking to that too.
 

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In this case, consider telling the owner - with no dogs around, of course - that you have become concerned that his dog may be able to get out of his control even on a leash and attack you and your dog. .
I think a friendly, non-judgemental approach is best. My dog IS a handful around other dogs. I'm well aware of it and I'm working very hard at getting it under control. This man and woman may be trying their best. If someone said this to me, it would make me feel very very bad.
 

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Almost daily, on our walks, we walk past a husband or wife that live a few houses down the block. They walk a large mixed breed and we usually cross paths. As we walk by I always see their dog going crazy and the owners having a really tough time holding on. Last week the husband was sitting with the dog and actually wound up on his back as his dog was yanking to get to us. I always see them screaming, yanking, and one time hitting the dog in the chest. I don't really know the couple, but we have said hello numerous times and their son has pet my dog quite often prior to their new dog aquisition. I always wan't to give them some advice or a few quick tips on how to handle their dog, but I feel out of place. Do you guys think I should speak up? Would you offer pet handling advice to a stranger?
No. At least, not in this context. People do not generally take unsolicited advice very well.

If I am working with a puppy who is competing to be selected for the idolatrod, and someone tells me I should put a prong collar on the pup, well, I would not deck him, I would smile and nod and ignore the advice completely. When someone comes up to me and says, gee how do you get your dog to walk like that next you and to sit when you stop like that -- then I can give whatever advice I want and it will be taken in the best possible way.

Remember KISS. Keep it short and simple.

Well it takes some time and patience, the place to start is going to classes. Now my trainer is right in....

If you are nervous about his ability to manage his dog, the avoid his dog, walk the other way, cross the street when you see him. I would not tell him your fears. Look, he knows he has a problem if he is staring at the sky. You would be just adding salt to his wounds.

Complaining to him about how you are worried his dog will EAT yours, will likely just make him stop trying, and stop bringing the dog out.

Be a responsible owner to a good canine ambassador, and if the fellow wants help, he will ask you.
 

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I always thought that KISS stood for Keep It Simple, Stupid :)

I would try to catch them out without their dog. Make small talk, ask how is the son? How is the dog? that can lead to an opening if they want to ask for advice.
 

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No, stupid is a bad word, I do not use that in any way that is in reference to people. At least I try not to. And "short" is actually the most important word in it, simple and stupid can be the same thing -- simple minded, stupid. The thing is to have an uncomplicated short answer ready in the event that they do ask you anything.

Whenever anyone says, "the best advice I ever got was" they always follow it with a short simple sentence: "take him to training classes." Trying to explain different training collars and devices, praise, positive reinforcment, compusion, fitting the collar, making a correction, digging in, changing direction and the whole nine yards will completely befuddle the person and probably make them feel as though it is hopeless. Best to have a simple statement ready and deliver it in such a way that it does not put you forward as superior.

Working with dogs is so much easier. They are all the happier if we take on airs and sound superior. With people, they will create the holier than thou attitude where it never existed.
 

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If I were the person getting dragged on my butt by my dog, I would want help! I think if you were very careful about how you brought it up, and approached the topic slowly (don't mention your fears that the dog will get loose and hurt your dog), kind of feel the guy out a bit, then say things like:

"I went through that same thing!" People like to know they aren't alone in their failings.

"Isn't it awful when the dog lunges, boy it took me a while to train my dog not to do that, but in the end it wasn't too hard..." Hope for questions at this point.

Best to do this without the added pressure of your dog around. Maybe take a walk alone and hope to run into them. Make sure to throw in lots of compliments of their dog too, that might help move things alone in a friendly way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you everyone! Everyones advice makes a lot of sense but I'm still pretty torn. Normally, I just wave when we cross paths and don't stop as to not interrupt them while they are battling. I think I'll try to just say Hello and some small talk the next time to see where they take the conversation. I definitely agree with not giving lessons on collars or handling, I just wanted to give some encouragement and small tips, or even offer to walk together. I'm not sure if he's aggressive per se, it seems more like he wasn't socialized that well, but I can't be sure. Maybe, I should just stay away, but they just seem like a good family and the son really loves dogs, would always run to us when we were walking. I think thats why they got him, not sure if they were really ready, though. Maybe a walk alone would be best, but with my schedule, I like to take my dog whenever I go out.
 
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