Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Like a dog on a leash

 When my mom's dog Rosy is on a leash, walking the suburb streets, she is a nightmare. She turns into a pulling, whirling dervish that barks at dogs behind gates and lunges at other dogs out for a walk with their owners. She gets Rusty wound up too and so Rusts will also do the odd lunge, barking at dogs-behind-gates. 

This is asshole behaviour.

When Rosy is off lead, she is 98% a sweet, friendly and well-behaved dog. We have instances where she'll bark at passing mountain bikers or the odd yap at other dogs on the trail. For the rest, exemplary behaviour.

I see with other dog owners - regulars on the trails - that they also leave their dogs off lead. We let all the off-lead dogs greet each other. We have no issues, no barking, no snapping. But, if I have mine on leads and they have theirs on leads - well, it becomes a pulling, lunging, barking frenzy.

Websites credit 'leash aggression' to stress (at being restrained), aggression, fear, unruliness, play-soliciting behaviour (this is Rosy!), anxiety, territorial response, and being overly excited. I think too that on a leash, with you at their side, they are more confident, know they are safe with you to protect them and that they can get away with being an ass because the other dog cannot get at them either.

People are not so different to dogs.

In cars, people will hoot, shout, gesticulate, flip the bird, or accelerate like they're on a start line. They lack patience, forgiveness and show no accommodation. In their metal cocoon, they feel confident, invincible and superior.

We see so much asshole behaviour online too. Keyboard warriors pass judgement, spew vitriol, fling personal insults on even the most innocuous posts. Behind your computer, hundreds or thousands of kilometres away, you can say what you want - and get away with it. 

Would they say the same sentence to the face of the person, while looking into their eyes? Probably not. 

Rosy is proof of this. I've unclipped her when she is being an ass and there is an immediate change from idiot dog to nice, friendly dog. 

And perhaps this is the best way to censor anything you type. Ask yourself, "Would I say this to them straight if they were standing in front of me?". 

In some situation we sometimes do not say with honesty what we should (as relevant), but what goes on online smacks of poor socialisation and bad behaviour. 

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