i hate your dog

Do you have a dog? Yeah? I probably hate it. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs, in general. I want to have dogs some day. I just hate other people’s dogs. I don’t think most people should own dogs. The reasons are complicated, but I’ll do my best to explain. This post will contain some harsh reality for some dog-owners I know. Long-winded rant about why I hate your dog follows:

First and foremost is that most people can’t control their dogs. If you can’t control your dog, you should not own one. The reason for this is a basic consideration for other human beings. Some people are afraid of dogs. Some people are allergic to dogs (me). Some people just don’t like dogs. Some dogs can hurt other people. You need to be able to control your dog. If you can’t control your dog, you are being rude to other people, whether you realize this or not. It’s going to make you miserable, and when it’s not making you miserable, it’s probably making someone else miserable. There’s nothing more awkward/uncomfortable than going to dinner with someone, or to a party at someone’s house, at which there is a dog they can’t control. They spend every minute you’re there trying to keep the dog from jumping on everyone/everything, knocking drinks over, ruining board games, etc. It’s not fun. It’s not safe. It’s rude.

Second is that people get dogs when it’s clear there’s no way they’ll have time to give the dog the attention it deserves. This happens over and over. A person buys a dog, keeps it cooped up in an apartment all day, and is constantly making concessions in their lifestyle to take care of the dog at a bare minimum to keep it from crapping all over/destroying their apartment. How many times have you heard “I can’t do ____, I have to go let my dog out” followed by a deep, mournful sigh? Is this the joy that the pet was supposed to bring to your life? This neglect ties back into the first problem, which is that it leads to dogs that people can’t control. Having a dog is like having a kid. It should be a weighty decision that you make in tune with your lifestyle and ability. You don’t buy a dog just for the hell of it. A dog is not an identity. It’s a big responsibility. When my brother told me he was getting a dog, I told him clearly I thought it was a mistake. He poo-pooed me then, and he poo-poos me now. His dog Sam is a gorgeous boxer/pitbull mix, and she’s a lot of fun as long as you are outside. Otherwise, she’s a terror, and he can’t control her. It was a mistake.

Third is that indoor dogs and cats are nasty. Sorry. I know I am hypersensitive to this because I am allergic to dogs/cats/everything, but it’s really not pleasant to be in a household that is owned by a dog and not a person. As if it wasn’t enough to be in a household with a pet that won’t leave you alone because it’s FREAKING OUT because it’s the only attention it’s gotten that day, add in furniture covered in a thick coat of hair and dander and piss-stains all over the carpet. Yeah, sounds like a blast, I’ll be right over.

I’ve given it a lot of thought and I still really do love dogs, and I want to have a dog or two some day. But I am of the firm opinion that most of the people I know that own dogs should not. This is probably one big problem for Amanda and I because she loves dogs and particularly loves indoor lapdogs, whereas my ideal for a pet dog is:

  1. Well-trained. Note that “trained” here does not mean “well, she sits and rolls over .. sometimes.. if there’s not something more interesting in the room.” It means: does what I say and does not bother anyone unless given explicit permission. It sounds harsh and fascist, but for the reasons outlined above, it’s absolutely necessary.
  2. Outdoor. This is a tough one, but I am sticking to it. I would personally have a hard time with an indoor dog because it would probably kill me, but even if I wasn’t allergic, I wouldn’t want my home to be a loathsome deathtrop to anyone else that was. I think I long for a bygone era when dogs were only pets for people where it was lifestyle appropriate. They were functional companions suitable to their breed. Retrievers and labradors and terriers are fine if you live on a farm and, say, hunt a lot, and had room to keep your dogs outside. They’re not fine if you live in an apartment and work 40-50 hours a week. The result of this is simply a fat, annoying dog that you can’t control.

I think I am done ranting now. The inspiration for this post was Brittney’s post about her dog and a training regimen she’s putting her through. It sounds interesting, and I’ll definitely be following her progress intently.