Monday, May 3, 2010

Props to the Local Dogs

I'm not much of a dog person. In SoCal the dogs are batshit. They lunge at one from behind fences, barking insanely as one ride one's bicycle down the street. To the SoCal cyclist, the sight of an unleashed dog is cause for alarm as the beast is 95% guaranteed to take immediate chase, maddened by the sight of a cyclist and going for blood. My heart has nearly stopped more times than I can count because I had the temerity to walk between parked cars in a parking lot, not knowing that one contained a dog until the animal hurled itself against the inside of the partially-closed windows, snarling and barking, fangs flashing.


So what's up with the dogs here? They seem to find cyclists totally unremarkable, I've passed numerous dogs on trails and rather than giving chase, the dogs seem to "get" what a cyclist is all about and stay out of the way (with the exception of smaller, yappy dogs that are, let's face it, really too stupid to be alive as a breed were it not for humans taking care of them). The dogs tied up outside shops seem pretty content to just watch the foot and wheeled traffic go by until their human comes out; and the dogs in cars and truck beds are totally mellow with someone passing nearby.

A few minutes ago I was walking from the bank to my car when I discovered, with alarm, that I was passing within inches of a sedan with two large brown dogs in it. I expected them to explode in rage and try to throw themselves through the rolled-up window at me.

They didn't. They radiated doggy "Hi there!" instead.

There are a lot fewer asshole dogs here, that's for sure. I'm getting over my aversion to them.


  1. One positive thing I will say about my fellow Bendites: Those who own dogs seem to know how to take care of them and train them.

    We also seem to have few or none of the morons who train their dogs to be savage. There doesn't seem to be any dogfighting around here -- at least I've never heard of any arrests for it in my 25 years here.

    Dogs aren't assholes, but some dog owners are.

  2. I have a pet theory (ha ha) that crowding, never mind overcrowding, wears down the fine points and just leaves the rough edges in both man and beast (if that isn't redundant).
    Of course that doesn't explain how we get the same aggression phenomenon out here in the dirt; we just tend to blame the heat.
    Or the meth labs.

  3. "Blame the heat"? WHAT heat?

    Meth labs we got, though. In abundance.

  4. I believe that Robert lives in the southwest somewhere.

    I don't subscribe to the "all dogs are good or bad" belief. Some dogs are sweet, some are dicks. They have personalities, like people.

    But I also think that Robert is right, that packing dogs into small yards and lots and keeping them isolated by locking them up in cars doesn't allow them to become socialized. Same thing for the people down there. It's ugly for human or dog alike.

    If someone suddenly lunges at me, flashing sharp objects and making terrifyingly threatening noises, I don't care whether that someone has been conditioned to do that or does it because they are an asshole. It's asshole behavior, however you cut it.

  5. "Some dogs are sweet, some are dicks. They have personalities, like people."

    I've never met a dog that was "naturally" vicious. Not saying such dogs don't exist, but I've never met one.

  6. Well now, I said nothing about "vicious." "Insanely territorial" might be a better descriptor of their behavior. "Poorly trained," or "unsocialized" are good, too. Either way, having nearly every single dog go totally apeshit crazy and act like they want to rip one's face off if one dares to ride a bike or walk within fang range didn't lead me to think on them kindly. Not their fault, but it's asshole behavior. I still become alert when I spot a loose dog around here, but so far they have been either disinterested or mildly friendly. I'm having to recalibrate my canine alert-o-scope.


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