Train your dogs     

Sometimes dogs can be perceived as a threat even if they mean no harm. Read more to learn about the precautions that can be taken to avoid this. Illustration by Sarah Chantres/The Daily Campus.

This article is not something a cat lover came up with to bash on dogs and their owners. I think all dogs are adorable and deserve to have a loving family with lots of treats. It would feel like heaven if a cute fluffy dog ran into my arms and started licking my whole face. Well, that would only be the case if I was a dog lover. For those like me who are morbidly afraid of dogs that are bigger than me or bark louder than they should, that would be a terrifying experience.  

Most dog owners train their dogs well and are careful when their dogs start approaching strangers in the street. However, I have seen many dogs on campus who are not leashed and  run up to strangers while the owner just smiles and lets them be. Compared to the behavior of our mascots, the two Jonathans who are trained, I believe that this must be discussed.  

Although different countries and states have different policies about this issue, it is not mandated in Connecticut for dogs to be leashed at all times. Unless the dog is trespassing on private property, it can roam freely with its owner while taking a walk in the park. I know there will be a lot of backlash from the majority of dog lovers with this statement, but I believe that in most places, like sidewalks in busy areas, all dogs should be on a leash. Some people just don’t like animals and others have traumatic experiences being bitten or chased by a dog.  Besides the fact that some are afraid of dogs, a lot of people have allergies that can affect their health significantly. Those with pet allergies are advised to avoid exposure to dogs as much as possible. If a bear-sized dog runs up to those people, it can cause serious problems with breathing among other symptoms.  

 Even if the dog is just extremely friendly and loves people, that is something only the owner knows- not the strangers on the street. Unless they are service dogs that are professionally trained and are wearing their vest as proof, it is hard to assume they are coming up to me as a friendly gesture, a toy to bite or wanting to eat whatever food I have on my hand. And believe it or not, not all dogs are furry, sweet angels. Some dog breeds, like Pitbulls, are known to be aggressive when not trained properly by irresponsible caretakers. Even the most friendly dog breeds can be aggressive without proper training and lack of socializing, specifically Golden Retrievers

According to an article on Forbes, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States annually and nearly 800,000 people need regular medical checkups after the bite.  No matter how many times social media promotes dogs cuddling with little children and how adorable they look together, it is dangerous to leave them alone and unsupervised. We should keep in mind that although dogs are domestic pets, they are still animals that are faithful to their desires. Just like how people must be educated, dogs need to be trained to fit into society.   

Again, this article is not about how dangerous dogs can be and that you should get a cat instead. All animals can be somewhat of a threat to certain people, and it is the owner’s responsibility to make others feel safe and to respect other people’s space. But in most cases, dogs are friendly, excited to see new people and think everybody loves to pet them. I strongly believe that there is no such thing as a bad dog, only a bad owner. 

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