Monday, March 7, 2016

Boat Life Gloom: Off Leash Dogs

See the leashes.....  We use them.....  But as in other areas, marinas also have folks who are less concerned about doggie safety and the impact they have on others.    There are some very well trained dogs who don't really need leashes,  they pass as if on leash close by their owners - I'm not referring to them. I'm also not referring to dogs mistakenly getting off their boats by surprise.  It happens, it's happened to us.  I'm referring to folks who just don't seem to care.  Marinas tend to attract a large number of folks who believe dogs should be free and wander at will.   It's almost like they confuse living out in the country with the openness of the Bay.  As sailors, we can sail anywhere we can and want on the Bay - roam free.  But people forget,  just like there are rules of the road for sailing,  there are land rules to follow in a marina.

I'm sitting here tonight again feeling the effects to of those careless folks who don't think rules apply to them and let their dogs offleash in our marina.  I know this is a larger problem,  not one of the marina only. It really ruins my day.  I work very hard training my two and they aren't perfect,  but it makes it so much harder when others are oblivious and outright uncaring of others.

I'm at a loss of how to handle the owner who's dog is running full speed at my dog and yelling "he's friendly". I got into a little argument with a guy tonight when I told him I didn't care if his dog was friendly as his dog should be on leash. Mine is friendly as well and would like nothing more than me dropping her leash for them to play.  But we're in a park, not a dog park there are other people around and I'm trying to have a walk with my dog. He instead verbally attacked my dog who was visibly excited about his dog racing around us. Fortunately it was short lived as I wasn't sticking around too long. He doesn't care about the leash law. Unfortunately he lives here.  And I get to see him and his dog most days.

I've had neighbors let their dogs romp through the parking lot - clearly out of sight..... I've had dogs charge at my leashed dogs repeatedly while the owners fumble around surprised they are supposed to manage their dogs,  not even carrying a leash.  Our marina has had problems of people letting their dogs roam unattended.  I haven't seen, but have heard of some letting their dogs poop on other people's boats. I've picked up poop off of the dock from neighbors dogs so mine don't get the blame. It's always suprising.

Our marina has a large park and off leash dog play area - big, with lots of space, hills, a couple trails. There's really no reason to have your dog meandering through parking lots, streets and the city park area.  There's also little enforcement in our marina, I assume due to funding issues.

Admittedly, I am sensitive to this.  I have pitbulls and for the most part Tack and Clewie are good - though they have had some leash reactivity.  As most people know, pitbulls get a much more limited range of acceptable behavior and mistakes.  They need to be so much better than the average dog. And even if they do nothing "wrong" people will overact by just looking at them.

But I also lead some pitbull walks with a local meetup group and know that there are other dogs who have issues with dedicated owners working with them.  These folks need safe places where they can train and work with their dogs in a controlled environment. Most marinas in our area are city parks and are also under leash laws... Public parks are a great place to work on training in exciting environments at appropriate distances.  I just wish folks respected the rules.

I'm also surprised about the lack of respect for your neighbor.  Marinas are close communities.... sometimes you are relaxing in your living room with your neighbor relaxing in their living room less than 10 feet away.  And pretty much everytime you leave your boat, you run into someone.  So in this sort of environment, it's surprising when folks don't see and respect the impact they have on others.

Thoughts? Any ideas how to deal with the non-leashers?