Not long ago I went into an already quite crowded elevator: a guy with a Saint Bernard and a young woman who was just coming back from exercising. I love dogs, any kind, the mutts, the purebred, the senior ones, the crippled ones. I love them all. I can’t say the same for the owners though.

The Saint Bernard was sniffing the young woman’s crotch, and she was clearly very uncomfortable. The owner of the dog was smiling instead of pulling the dog away; that’s the kind of moment when I have to control my temper! Fortunately, the young woman was going to a lower floor, so she did not have to endure the behavior of the dog for long. In my book, it’s called bullying!

I know, everyone, starting with myself, believes that their dogs are the cutest ones on the earth, and seriously, they are! But it doesn’t mean that everyone is seeing them with my or your eyes. Some people are afraid of dogs, some are just not dog people, and some don’t want to be covered with dog hair if they are going out or something. I never “force” my dogs on anyone! If one of them gets inappropriate with a person, I pulled back on the leash, and I apologize, because yes – breaking news – I am not perfect! – And my crew is not either!

In the whole picture, what is so unfair is that PEOPLE WILL RESENT THE DOGS instead of resenting the owners. I know it’s something I said and said over and over again, but there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

There is a law leash in this country if my memory is good, and there is a reason for that. If I hear one more time from an owner with an unleashed dog coming straight at me and my leashed one: “he is sweet, he just wants to play!”, I am going to bite the balls I don’t have out of frustration!

I am not trying to preach, I am just trying to make some people realize that you have to respect another dog’s or another person’s boundaries.

A French philosopher said one time “Your freedom stops where mine starts.” Maybe we should conjugate this at every tense!

There are many places where you can have your dog run free: your backyard, dog parks, some dog beaches.

Dogs are amazing beings and they should never be seen as a nuisance! It’s too unfair to them!


Don’t be lenient with your dog. A well trained dog is a happy one. They are like kids; they need to know the limits. An out of control dog becomes a nuisance.

Last year, one of my labs, Zoe, had knee surgery, and she had to walk a bit more every day as part of the rehab.

We were walking quietly in my neighborhood, when I saw some hundred feet away an unleashed Golden retriever with a man. I nicely asked the guy to put his dog back on a leash. His response was: “It’s ok. My dog is friendly. He just wants to play!”

My answer was: “My dog just had surgery. She can’t play!”

He had no leash with him, tried to grab his dog’s collar, lost control, fell on the ground while his dog lunged at me and Zoe. Zoe was shaking with fear, and the dog sensed it and started to become aggressive. I would never have thought that I would ever meet an aggressive Golden! I had to kick the dog out of Zoe’s face while his owner finally made it!

His first question was: “What’s wrong with you?”

Then, he got on his knees and started “consoling” his dog, telling him that I did not mean to kick him, that he was a good boy, that he loved him….. I mean. Seriously?

It did not happen once, but several times. And I just stopped walking there with Zoe. I never managed to get into the owner’s brain. Too thick? No clue. He just doesn’t get that his out-of-control dog is a nuisance, and can also get hurt if he gets into traffic running after a squirrel or something else. Yes, the dog is cute, but that’s beyond the point. Not everyone wants to have in their face a 100 lb rambunctious dog!


  • Be in control of your dog at all time for his or her own safety,
  • If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on his leash, stay away. It means that the dog needs his or her space for whatever reasons.
  • Remember that there is no balance if one dog is on a leash and yours is unleashed. The leashed one can feel cornered.
  • Ask when you are going to meet another dog if it’s ok for them to say hi to each other.
  • Be the parent of your dog, not his best buddy!


  • Teach your children not to run to pet an unknown dog: What is true for the dogs is also true for children. I always cringe when I see small children running and screaming towards dogs. The sweetest dog could be easily spooked by a child going straight at him or her.
  • Always ask permission to pet a dog.
  • Approach your hands slowly to allow the dog to smell them.
  • If the dog backs out, don’t force it.
  • Follow the directions of the owner. Some like I do will make their dogs sit in order for you not to have muddy paws all over you!

Good manners will always take you a long way no matter if you are a two or a four-legged one!

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