From Oxford Dictionary: Obedience: ‘Compliance with an order, request, or law or submission to another’s authority’
It’s the owner’s responsibility to control their dog. Nobody else’s.
Yesterday, I witnessed someone performing the pathetic ‘alpha roll’ on a Staffie. The dog had picked up another dog’s ball and refused to let go. I offered to bribe the poor thing with treats but as my offer was turned down, I walked away. To my surprise, a few minutes later I saw someone I thought was just an onlooker taking the said Staffie away. She seemed really cross, though I guess the fact she felt embarrassed with her dog having stolen someone else’s ball prevented her from acting or even commenting on the strange man’s behaviour.
As often in my life, this seemingly insignificant event has upset me. I feel sorry for the man’s dog and for any dog he will ever come in contact with. Dogs will steal balls. Forcing them to give up a cheap, tennis ball is as stupid as it is pathetic.
We, people, need to obey the law, even if we’re not aware the rules exist (ignorantia legis neminem excusat). But then, there are other, unwritten rules. When you use a common park, be polite and friendly, teach your dog to be so, too. Try to understand that dogs, like children might not always behave as you expect them to. Accept that someone else’s dog might break your dog’s toy. If it bothers you buy cheap toys. Or go somewhere where you don’t need to interact with other people and dogs.
Back to my story: I’m not like the Staffie’s owner. When this excuse of a human told Brian to ‘back off’ (Brian wanted to play with his dog, his dog wanted to play with Brian) I told him politely and firmly not to give any commands to my dogs as he’s legally my responsibility and he was properly controlled in the designated, common area. I also asked him not to use any gestures as my dogs were trained to respond to them and as a certified trainer and behaviourist I strongly disapproved of his Cesar Millan style pseudo techniques.
I did use ‘please’, of course.