Feb 8, 2023Liked by Sara Ondrako

Perfect and well said!! I live in an apartment complex with hundreds of dogs, of all sizes and breeds and temperaments. My 8 pound Maltipoo has definite preferences for some dogs and people vs others. We are not sure if it is fear based or he is protecting me but we have to navigate our walks keeping this in mind. The complex has a leash mandatory requirement ( & a $500 fine for off leash dogs) but some owners still think their nice dog is OK off leash , cause he/she "Likes little dogs".

For example a fully grown Great Dane/Lab/Pit Bull Mix, etc coming towards us sets him off as you an imagine. I would love to send what you wrote to every dog owner in the complex. Maybe I will contact the management and see if they would circulate it. Is that OK, if I credit where it came from ?

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Hi Shirley!

That can be quite frightening - sorry you are having to deal with that. The vast majority of dogs have some selectivity - meaning even friendly dogs don't like every dog - which can be really concerning if the approaching friendly dog decides he doesn't care for your pup (or the language your pup is communicating to "stay back or else".

Yes - by all means, please feel free to share this with your apartment management and any others in your area that allow dogs. It's been well-received so far by apartment complexes in my area as well as a handful of HOAs. I'm always open to doing a Q&A session for them with residents or staff members if it helps. They can get in touch with me at saraondrako.com.

One trick that may help is conditioning your little Maltipoo to the opening and closing of an umbrella (so it doesn't scare him) and carry a small one with you. When you open it to an approaching dog, it will often startle them and stop them from advancing. It also serves as a visual barrier, lessening the stress of the situation and giving you time to get out of it. If the owner is present - calmly repeat - get control of your dog, get control of your dog, get control of your dog - until they feel it's urgent to move quickly.

All the best!


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Some day I hope cities will take dogs into greater consideration when developing. Dog parks are not enough. While there will always be irresponsible owners it seems that adding the infrastructure to accommodate more safe off leash areas for dogs would help curb this issue. That and of course owners taking the time to train their dog and making sure to respect others. Though accidents happen, dogs get loose. In my opinion it is never safe to take a dog aggressive dog out where there is a chance of an altercation without a muzzle. De-stigmatizing muzzles would go a long way as well.

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