Monday, April 17, 2017

The Downside to Cute Dogs

This weekend, Rye and I were out working on loose leash walking. This is by far our biggest training struggle. Most of the time, she looks like a feral animal at the end of the leash and I look like I could curl up in the fetal position in the middle of the sidewalk and wail at any minute.

She might be cute off leash, but on leash is another story.

This time, though, it was going pretty well. I wasn't stressed or in a hurry to get home, so we could take our time and really work through things. We looked ridiculous, I'm sure, as we would do a 360 in the middle of the sidewalk to get her back by my side when she started pulling, but she was catching on staying with me for longer periods of time than usual.

Things were going so well that we walked a little farther than usual. There's a library and a museum in our neighborhood and in the parking lot between them, there are some big yellow posts to show where the parking lot ends and the museum sidewalk begins (at least I assume that's why they're there). When Rye's having a good day, we use these posts for a training exercise. We'll start and walk to the end of the line, round the last post, and go back to the end. Then we go around the second to last post and back to the end, and continue making tighter loops each time until we do a small circle around the first post. (Here's a really bad video to illustrate--not only is hard to hold on to Rye and film, but this exercise also makes me dizzy!--but I'm not sure the explanation makes sense, so here's a visual.)


On really good days, we do it twice. Once with Rye on the outside so she can make slightly wider circles and once on the inside with even tighter circles. This particular day, we were struggling enough that we only did the exercise once because she was a little distracted by barking dogs and people coming in and out of the library at the other end of the parking lot.

When we came out of the exercise and went back to the sidewalk to head home, she was pulling again and I backed up and called her front. A car was leaving the parking lot, so we worked on a stay for a few seconds while they headed out and then we worked on our finish by having her come to my left side and sit before we started walking.

As we started walking, the car stopped in the road beside us. I looked over and there was a man in the driver's seat with the window down. He said hi. I said hi. Then he said, "I've seen about 20 people out walking their dogs today and you're the only one. . ."

At this point, I was sure he was going to say who had been training their dog. I was sure he was going to praise me for my patience working with Rye. Or ask how I'd learned to do these things with her. 

Instead, he said, ". . . where you and the dog are both cute. Well, I mean attractive. She's cute. You're attractive." 

I said thank you because what else can you say. But all it really made me want to do was go home and shower. I'm used to people stopping to comment on Barley and Rye or to ask questions about our training, but moments like this just make my skin crawl. 


I guess the only solution, really, is to make sure that my next dog is a homely beast. 

12 comments:

  1. Some people are just weird. Perhaps he was really trying to be a nice guy, but we would find it creepy too.

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    1. All nice guy points go out the window with me when a man thinks it's ok to pull over and comment on the appearance of a woman he doesn't know. We prefer our sweet retired neighbors who just want to visit with the girls and tell me about the dogs they've had in their lives :)

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    2. He probably does think he is a nice guy. Unfortunately most guys who self-label with the "nice guy" label are creepy jerks. They are the same ones who think that "friend zoning" is a thing, because obviously women are machines where if you put nice coins in sex falls out.

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  2. Okay, ick. I'm sorry that happened to you!

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    1. That sort of thing happens so rarely in my neighborhood since the majority of our neighbors are retirees and are so excited to see the girls out walking that they hardly even notice me, so it definitely caught me off guard!

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  3. I don't think it would matter how homely your dog was, that guy would probably have found something to say to you!
    At times like that I'd be happy to have a dog like Luke who would have barked at the guy and scared him away before he could even say anything!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Rye was definitely on edge--she hasn't wanted to even let neighbors I know get close to us (thankfully she's come a long way with that)--but I think since he was in a car, he probably wouldn't have cared even if I had Barley with me. If he'd been on foot, I'm pretty sure Rye would have growled.

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  4. That makes me feel gross just reading about it! I'm sorry that happened to you. :(

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    1. It definitely put a damper on our day. I used to be more desensitized to that kind of thing when I lived in a college town, but I'm one of the youngest in my neighborhood, so I don't expect that kind of thing when we're out here!

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  5. Oh no. First Jeep guy and now this. I think next dog should be a Chessie like Storm. She would discourage any random small talk from strangers.

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    1. I think since the guy was in his car, it probably wouldn't have mattered what kind of dog I had. If a creep on foot tries to talk to me, Barley steps in front of me and sticks her nose in their crotch and growls (this has been very helpful at keeping door-to-door sales people away) and Rye is weird about most men, so she usually bounces and barks like a wild animal.

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  6. ...Oh, er... that is not good. :(

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