It got me thinking though. If somebody 20 feet away fears for their safety because of a well mannered Pit bull in a heads-up obedience heel, we have a lot more educating to do. And we have a lot of catching up to do. The media has had a number of years and has used many outlets to scare people out of their wits when it comes to Pit bulls. In order to help turn the tide, pit bull owners should commit to making their dog the very best ambassador it can be. While out in public,
· obey your local leash laws.
· don’t allow your dog to run up to other dogs. Protect him from the consequences of a greeting gone bad.
· don’t allow your dog to run up to people. No matter how friendly your Pit bull is, not all people like dogs and some can become very frightened by a pit bull's effusive greeting.
· while in close quarters and passing others, ask your dog to look up at you and to walk close to you.
· clean up after your dog; it's common courtesy and it lessens the spread of disease. Most importantly, when you reach down to pickup after your dog, know where he is and what he’s doing while you’re concentrating on the clean up.
· when you turn a blind corner on a walk, make sure you look ahead and notice what might be hidden from view before your dog does. You don’t want to inadvertently run face-to-face with another dog that may not be friendly to yours.
· Be aware of dogs on retractable leashes and avoid them for your own, keeping your dogs close to you on walks. Besides, many cities have enacted six foot maximum leash laws.
Can you add anything to the list? I know my experience with the terrified woman is not an isolated event and I am certain you must have a similar story. But, with a trained, well managed dog, we should all be able to go about enjoying that leisurely, peaceful walk in our own neighborhoods.