This is not my dog. The photo came from The Dog Pages
But this is a reasonable facsimile of my dog. Please note she is large.
She weighs in at over 100lbs, stands roughly 26" tall at the shoulder, and she's a gentle, drooling giant. I am 5'2" and I weigh less than my dog.
So tonight I observed something as my son and I took our Newfy on a walk. While admittedly it is a rather humorous sight to see my son flying along behind the dog, for us, manners on a leash are imperative. Not only because it's truly no fun to go skiing along behind when 100lbs+ decides the rabbit looks yummy, but because people sharing the sidewalk aren't too keen on having 100+lbs of drooling hair loping toward them, even if their intent is just to lick them to death.
We put time into teaching our dog the general sense of 'heel'. It's not an expert version and we didn't spend money taking her to obedience training. We did it ourselves, it wasn't hard, and it wasn't an option.
What I noticed tonight is that dog walking etiquette is directly proportionate to dog size. People with big dogs put that bit of effort in and evidently retain the thought of "It's not cool to have my dog run over you, or yours". People with medium sized dogs put medium amounts of effort into enforcing leash behavior. People with teacup size dogs...
Trust me, you teacup dog owners, it's still not cool to have your dog advancing on me or mine. Especially if your teacup dog has no respect for the size of mine's mouth and yours does something to tick mine off.
I don't want to be responsible for stitching your dog back together. So I have done my part in making sure that my dog behaves when she's in public. Teacup dog owners seem to be very content with letting their dog lead them, forging ahead down the sidewalk, and greeting all who happen along their way.
It's really not cool when my dog hasn't looked sideways at yours, until yours is now is crossing that imaginary centerline on the sidewalk, and now I have to take my dog's collar in hand and treat her like a horse because you have yet to rein in your pup. It's NOT FUNNY when I have to push my dog forward on two legs because you have yet to pull back on your leash an inch.
I applaud the medium sized dog owner who compromised. She allowed her dogs to lead and walk her, but when approaching us, and her dogs perked up and pulled on the leashes, she crossed to the other side. That enabled us to toodle along at a nice "Heel", with my dog merely turning her head.
Just because you can pick your dog up and carry it, and when it bolts on ahead it doesn't change your forward momentum, does not mean it's okay to do so. Your pup should be walked by YOU-- not the other way around. It's really not cute that Suzie Schnauzer is choking herself at the end of the leash trying to get friendly with mine, and it does not warrant laughter that I suddenly have to use all my body mass to keep my dog moving forward when yours lacks manners.
So, on behalf of the giant breed dog owners everywhere, who's beasts are really quite friendly, but we've been made aware that they intimidate people and other dogs, and we've taught ours to be respectful... Please folks... give us the same courtesy. We are doing our part by teaching our dogs how to behave on leashes and not mow you down, your pup down, or take us on a cement ski trip. Please do the same.