Barking Blondes: Other people’s dogs

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

barking 300x178 Barking Blondes: Other peoples dogsWe have never had children but would like to ask all parents this. When you experience a birth do you instantly become interested in or affectionate towards other babies and small people?

We had a radio producer, who, having recently become a mother and was therefore expected to do her share of child minding, once said “Just because I love mine… doesn’t mean I can tolerate theirs.”

We think the same can be said for dog ownership. There is always an instant connection between the meetings of the same breed. For instance, we both have bull breeds and should we meet another British bulldog or miniature bull terrier in the park, then there is camaraderie as we compare weight, features and behavior etc. We then we walk on. Often with all parties complacent in the belief that their dog is fitter and more obedient.

But what about the visiting dog to your house? The dog that is accompanying his owner because they were calling in anyway and you have enthusiastically revealed that you have a dog and there is a garden for them all to play in.

How soon into the visit, when “visiting” dog has peed on your slate floor mistaking it for pavement, do you realize this mutt has no house manners, social skills and is eating all your own dog’s toys? Then, do you, as with children, take the risk of reprimanding other peoples charges?

A young mother of twins living at the end of our street has a yorkie but loves bulldogs. When she saw us out with Matilda, our bulldog, she invited us in for tea, so the twins could meet her.

As she opened her front door, the vision of a glorious empty, leather sofa came into view just as Matilda ran, bounced onto it, and scratched massive marks into the upholstery. Suddenly our dog had become the “visiting” dog with all the anti-social behavior that comes with it.

They say there are no bad dogs just bad owners. And maybe we make enormous demands on these domesticated creatures by expecting them to abide by the rules of individual households. The owner of the house with the massive garden enjoyed by the male Doberman, never forgave the visiting Labrador bitch, whose pee burned circular scorch marks into the lawn.

Molly, our bull terrier, on a home visit, after just a few seconds, will have cased the joint, eaten the remains from resident’s dog bowl and settled all her attention on any vessel containing food. This can be a fridge, fruit bowl or shopping bag. A low gurgling noise then begins to erupt from her throat causing host dog to mistake it for aggression. Not the most relaxing environment in which to take tea.

Most days will find us in Regents Park. In keeping with most urban dog owners we get to suss out the dogs that like our dogs and if we like the owners, then that’s a bonus, whilst we all stand and chat. However, recently, there is a new comer to the group. A young polish girl who has rescued an unneutered massive, cross breed mutt, and for the sake of this blog, who we will call Nelson.

She is a total joy, brings Polish cakes for us all to share whilst huddled under coats on cold winter mornings, sings the virtues of London and offers to dog sit should any of us need her. Nelson, on the other hand is a total pain in the neck, mounts anything, including joggers, jumps literally into your arms whilst covered in mud and barks incessantly at squirrels and bites cyclists. Now, when Nelson enters the park all of us scatter, clip the leads back onto our own dogs and pretend we have to get home to cook a casserole.

All dogs are wonderful or are they? Cos, well with Nelson… we just don’t like him.

The Barking Hour, every Thursday, 3-4Pm, BBC London 94.9FM

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  • 5brian5

    Hi Ladies; Your loyal BBC London listeners (emphasis on “listen”) would never buy into the “casserole excuse”! Regarding your question about birth: When I helped deliver my son in the hospital delivery room decades ago, it was an experience like no other. Wonderful and frightening at the same time. We’ve all heard radio presenters and doctors refer to women who “fake orgasm”, well trust me when I tell you, If I come across as over exuberant towards another parents “curtain climber”, I’m usually faking it to be polite. Pets can be the same for me. I think that sometimes a dog or cat can be a window on the owners personality in private. Sometimes, I have been privy to see the inside of someones home, who has a out of control pet. many times, the house / flat / ect. is in disarray, nothing or very little being in its place. (unwashed dishes, clutter, generally messy.) Whether there’s any correlation or not, I don’t know. My current pet, my cat “Tula”, is very tuned into me, and I to her. There is structure, various activities as well as behaviors (like getting out of bed to the alarm ect.), occur around the same times every day, and we’re both programmed to respond. As a result, I can honesty tell all of you, that she exhibits not one single maladaptive behaviour. Other people may disagree with me, as their tolerances are of course different than mine. It would be too time consuming to elaborate to far, but this guy I am helping out right now is the perfect example. As “ADD” as it gets, no structure, a car messier than a rubbish bin ect.. His dog, a long haired Dachshund, well, it bites and barks non stop. Polish sweets and tea or not, who knows what Nelson’s home life is really like. Brian (Detroit)xxxx

  • MrReasons2BCheerful

    Bruno is rarely let off his lead on the first visit to a “new” house as I don’t know what ‘delightful’ smells he might discover on the carpet (that programme on TV a few months ago taught me a lot about dogs ability with historical scent). Nor will be be allowed off the lead until either the second or third visit. I know it sounds unkind but it is the only way to have piece of mind your dog won’t embarrass itself or you.

    A bit sad you don’t feel able to let the Polish woman know her dog’s behaviour is not acceptable – it doesn’t hurt to explain a bit of doggie etiquette.

  • Holly Lily Jones

    Holly was my first dog and when she was young and playful I would seek out the dogs and their owners who she would play most beautifully with…

    Lily being the obvious one.

    Through her I met Sarah and so my life changed forever and Holly&Lil was born.

    Just as many of my friends with children seem to hang with other families as their common interests and new lives begin to outweigh old ties.

    However as Holly was my first dog and I had always been a cat person I did go to scholl with her for TWO years! So she is a very polite girl when I need her to be.
    I have fallen into the trap with Augustus of thinking I can do it alone. I did not want to but as he was 6 months when I got him I did try and sign up to Puppy Classes but he was too big and too old. I worked hard at first then dropped off BUT now am a woman with a mission as his affectionate jumping could lay some people flat. And his bouncing could clear a table top in second. I feel I want my dogs to be happy and a little crazy but it is crucial they know their place and have good manners.

  • marcbletchley

    good morning jo and anna
    fun reading about visiting fellow owners with dogs and visitors although not having a dog ive seen the exact situation of ‘a new playground’ for dogs would change there normal habbits and fly off to chew other peoples stuff.
    the worse thing i saw was a terrier type dog scoff a bowl of cat food then throw it up 2 minutes later all over the living room.
    i do a lot of people watching and most mornings in the week while im heading down to town i walk across a park and the same routine of fellow dog owners or walkers are out in force exercising there pets its more of a social club for the owners.
    great reading as normal
    woof woof from bletchley towers

  • Heathbar

    Good post Robin. Thought this was quite an odd piece of ‘journalism’ from Anna, the PR person, and Jo, the radio presenter. I thought Anna prided herself on her ability to train other dogs. I heard her say the other day that she had even trained Jessie J’s dog, as she had peed in a radio studio. Why would she then let her own dog run amok in someone else’s house?

  • madgooner1

    If you love dogs, you’ll love all dogs.

  • Ziggydog

    It takes a lot of time and patience to get a dog to be well behaved in new places. No dog is perfect just like all people, you have to know yours and your dog’s limitations. Everyone loves their own dog the best, but still admires and respects others. Maybe except a dog that attacks or hurts theirs!

  • Gizwiz

    Oooh, a slightly contentious issue! I am an ‘auntie’ to a number of dogs and although they don’t come to visit me (my cat really wouldn’t like it!) I do go to visit them and can honestly say they are far from perfectly behaved and I have told them all off at times. One small dog constantly jumps up and the behaviour has never been corrected by her ‘parents’ because they find it cute….I find it the epitome of rudeness. Word of advice to dog owners – please don’t take your dog to anyone’s ones home uninvited. As much as they make like your dog, they won’t necessarily appreciate it in their home!

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