May I please vent for a moment?
There are few things that bother me more than when I see someone using their dog’s collar to steer, drag, pull, or otherwise force their dog into going or doing something.
I’m not talking about an emergency situation where, like, a bicyclist isn’t paying attention and is about to slam into your dog so you snatch his collar to yank him out of harm’s way. Or other similar scenarios. There are causes and reasons for everything. I get that.
What I’m talking about is when you see someone using a dog’s collar to “drive” their pup when the dog clearly doesn’t want to or doesn’t understand.
It makes me nuts.
Imagine if you’re at a super fun house party with your friend, and you decide to go out onto the patio. The door is open. You’re super pumped to get outside and get some fresh air. You start walking toward the door. Just as your foot is about to hit the threshold of the door, your friend grabs you by your shirt and yanks you backwards, away from the door and into another room.
What the…? You’d likely be shocked at your friend’s behavior!
That would be such a violation of physical space and boundaries that of course your friend would never do that to you.
Yet, people do this to their friends, their dogs, all the time!
I see it everywhere: the guy loading his pup into the car at Lowe’s, the lady dragging her dog outside even though he’s having the time of his life greeting their house guests, the neighbor pulling his dog inside even though he’s having the time of his life barking at everyone walking by, etc. etc. etc. I’m sure you can think of a million other examples, too.
I’ve been guilty of it, too. Just recently, in fact, a glass broke in our kitchen, and I said to Cooper, “Outside!” But he totally wanted to know-slash-taste what had spilled everywhere (pickles), so I grabbed hold of his collar and pushed him out the door. Honestly? Had I asked him again while focusing ON HIM instead of the mess, he probably would’ve just gone out. There wasn’t broken glass there at his feet, so it’s not like it was a truly emergency situation, so it was totally my bad.
(I don’t know if you guys apologize to your dogs when you err, but I totally fess up. I was like, “Cooper, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.” He forgave me. 🙂 )
Anyway, every time I see it (or mess up and grab Coop’s collar), I cringe.
It’s such an overstepping of boundaries. I would HATE IT, absolutely loathe it, if anyone physically moved me where I didn’t want to go.
So, yeah, while this is a vent, I think the call to action is to think about whether or not you do this. Most of the time–barring those honest-to-goodness emergency situations–it can be completely avoided with better communication. Maybe it’s a call to focus on more training/listening if you find yourself doing this often or find yourself having to do this often because your dog doesn’t pay attention or understand you.
Ultimately, I think we’re all trying to do what’s best, and we are all trying our best in each moment.
No judgement here, just something to think about.
Have you ever used your dog’s collar as a steering wheel? Or are you more self-aware than I am? 😉
Do you think this is a problem behavior? Or do you find this one to be NBD?