On my morning walk last week, I saw a man with a handsome red-colored Golden Retriever. The dog was happily sniffing around and the man kept walking. That’s when I realized that the dog was not on a leash, one of my pet peeves. This neighborhood is right in the middle of West Chester University, a busy traffic area. As I approached them, I had the battle I always have in my mind before saying something to people who don’t leash their dogs. Should I say something or not? My passion overruled my survival instinct (one day, I may get punched by someone I ask to leash their dog).

“Sir, there’s a lot of cars around here. You might want to leash your dog for his safety,” I said, as politely as possible.

“My dog listens to me and always stays with me,” he replied tersely.

“Well, you know dogs are never 100% reliable, no matter how well trained they are,” I continued, sensing he had an attitude but not willing to back off.

“I’ve been training dogs all of my life and my dogs listen to me!” His reply was chock-full of ego.

I decided to let it go because once people show the ego about how much they know about dog training, you can’t win the argument. I thought to myself, that man will one day have a dog with an even bigger attitude than his and he will teach him a thing or two! If you are a regular reading, you know of my story with Gizzy, the best teacher in the world. He humbled me.

The truth is, dogs are never 100% reliable. They are dogs. No matter how well-trained, dogs may not listen in certain situations. One instance comes to mind which had very sad consequences. A man had two dogs that went everywhere with him. On a hot day, he left them in the car as he quickly ran into the grocery store for a couple of items. He left the windows open, believing that his dogs “never” jumped out of the windows. Unfortunately, one of the dogs proved him wrong. He did jump out of the car. A woman saw him and tried to get him back to the car. The dog bit her. She went to the emergency room for treatment and the dog was reported to the dog warden. As a result, the man’s homeowner’s insurance costs increased due to having a “dangerous dog.”

These two people, and anyone else who relies on a dog to be 100% trained, are risking the dog’s life and causing potential problems for themselves. There’s never 100%.

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