Dogs in Public: A Podcast

dogs going places

Link to Podcast!


Hey guys, Dr. Sammy the dog trainer here.  I’ve been out and about traveling the world, so I haven’t had a spare moment to give you guys a podcast so I thought I would catch up here.  If you’re a reader or subscriber on my blog you’ll see that there are a lot of travel posts interspersed with the dog posts.  Some of them have a dog component to them, like the Dogs of New Zealand post or the Dogs of the United Kingdom, but some of them are straight travel posts.  I do it somewhat because the theme of the blog is an educated life with dogs and travel is sometimes the best education.  I do it somewhat because it’s my blog and I write what I want lol.

The dogs in Australia were interesting.  I saw a lot more border collies, blue and red heelers, and of course Australian shepherds than I would normally see in the States.  Saw some kelpies too. There is a sort of big counterculture of dog lovers there too who, let’s say, bend the rules at certain times collectively to bring their dogs out and about.  I thought it was pretty cool.  One city had an unspoken rule that dog owners allowed their dogs to enjoy the beach before a certain hour of the morning before they vacated for the rest of the beach goers.  This was just outside Sydney.
This brings about an interesting debate- some people do not like dogs.  They do not believe they should be inconvenienced by having to share space with creatures they don’t like or maybe sometimes are allergic to.  Dog lovers, on the other side of that argument, want to bring their dogs everywhere and have them included in everything.

Health Concerns

Let’s explore a couple facets of this debate.  The first is dog hair—even if you groom your dog pretty regularly, as a rule, dog hair is teeming with germs.  So, I understand many places’ regulations against dogs being present where food is prepared.  That’s just a sanitary issue.  Some people are allergic.  Some people are allergic to peanuts or bee stings.  But they have to exist in a world that has those things present.  But should they be needlessly put in danger just because someone wants to bring their dog along with them.  It’s a tough debate.  One that, at least in the States, we solve with the equal medical necessity of service dogs.  Service dogs have more rights per the ADA and AACA than normal pets due to the necessary services they perform for their people.  One might say they equally have a right to exist in public spaces.  They have a right to have their support with them in order to be more mobile and enjoy a higher quality of life.  So you see it’s a complicated balance between protecting the rights of the disabled and the rights of the allergic person.  I believe that is probably why only service dogs are allowed most places in US, besides other issues like disturbing natural habitats in some wilderness areas and attracting wild animals.


The second facet is fear.  Some people are afraid of dogs.  Should they be made to exist around an animal they fear?  I believe this is where dog training comes in and is such an important part of being a responsible dog owner.  If your dog is well behaved and friendly, then the person with the fear…well I hate to say it’s not founded because that sounds callous, but at least there is a mitigation of the actual danger. Some people might argue, well I wouldn’t want to hang out with a supposedly trained bear or lion either!  That would be a good point except for one biological point.  Bears and lions are not completely domesticated.  Dogs, or Canis familiaris, on the other hand, are.  They actually have an indicator in their digestive track that proves such.  They are the only large carnivore, other than 20th generation silver foxes, to have this genetic indicator.  The fox research is an interesting bit if you’re bored and want to look it up.  They started seeing the genetic indicator around the 3rd generation of domestication and it was consistent at the 20th.  Fascinating stuff.  So anyway, back to the issue at hand.  This means, that genetically, a dog is on par with a horse or cow…But then again some people are afraid of horses too.  That doesn’t mean they have to ride them, or pet your dog for that matter.  But it’s you, as the dog owner, to be a good ambassador and make sure your dog is properly trained and nonthreatening in public situations.

And this is one of the reasons I love my job.  Training dogs opens doors for them and for you.  Being well behaved means you could potentially bring them more places, do more things, and be good doggy ambassadors, showing the world that the species can exist in public venues right alongside their humans.

Dr. Sammy the Dog Trainer, PhD


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