by Sam Mazzotta
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: My dog “Kip” is really friendly and wouldn’t harm a fly. When I take him out for walks he likes to go right up to people and sometimes jumps up on them for a friendly pat. But last week, this woman yelled at me, telling me to watch out or she would call animal control! What was her problem? — Keri in Worcester, MA
DEAR KERI: Honestly, the problem wasn’t hers — it’s yours. I’m sure Kip is a wonderful dog and just as friendly as you say. The trouble is, people on the street don’t know that. They just see a dog running up and jumping on them, and they’re not sure of Kip’s intent.
A great many people are terrified of dogs, Keri. It’s no laughing matter, either — most of those who are fearful of dogs had some traumatic event in their past. But even if they don’t fear them, just the sight of a strange dog charging at them can incite a fearful reaction.
It’s also an invasion of people’s privacy — their personal space — and just bad etiquette all around to allow your dog to jump on them.
As Kip’s owner, it’s your responsibility to control his behavior. The older he gets and the more he’s allowed to run up and jump on people, the harder it is to train him out of it. And you need to train him out of this behavior, pronto.
I recommend that you sign up for behavior training classes as soon as possible. Attend these sessions with Kip, listen closely to the instructor and follow his or her advice.
Remember that pets are a part of our community, and like every other member of a community they must follow some rules in order for everyone to get along. It’s up to you to show Kip how to behave on his daily walks.