“My dog doesn’t like other dogs.” Say it once. Now say it 36,400 times. Now ask yourself why you choose to own this amazing creature.
I’ve been dog-sitting at Fire Clay Lofts in RiNo, Denver, quite a bit of late, which has given me the opportunity to meet loads of neighbors. Including the neighbor who hangs out in the communal dog area with Trevor, a schnauzerish-looking something or other. The neighbor like to remind me that her dog is unfriendly. “My dog doesn’t like other dogs,” she says every time she sees me.
How does such a thing occur? The ownership of such a dog, I mean. Does distaste for other living creatures come with the breed? Did the owner know about Trevor’s issues when she bought him or picked him up from the shelter? Has the owner reinforced these issues by refusing to make Trevor stop barking when he’s near other dogs? Or is such a dog untrainable?
Owner: “I’m looking for a barky loner dog with a crappy personality. Something that’ll keep me up all night and bug the shit out of my neighbors during the day. Got anything like that?”
Breeder: “Indeed we do. Follow me as we pass by the quiet, happy dogs and head to the psych ward at the end of the hall where the barky loner dogs with crappy personalities are kept in solitary confinement for everyone’s protection.”
This? Is this what happened?
I ask because, as I said, Trevor is around other dogs constantly. And the owner is forever shooing away dogs and dog owners who make the mistake of entering Trevor’s circle of unhappiness. “My dog doesn’t like other dogs,” she says by way of greeting.
Let’s say Trevor lives 10 years and the owner runs into 10 dogs a day. “My dog doesn’t like other dogs.” That’s what the owner would tell the dogs’ owners 10 times a day, 70 times a week, 300 times a month, 3,640 times a year. She’d say it 36,400 times during Trevor’s lifetime.
If this was a mistake — oops! I meant to get a pleasant, social dog, but instead I wound up with Trevor — it’s a God-blessed doozy. Seriously, how does this happen?