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10 Things You Should Never Say To A Dog Owner

Dog owners love to chat. Head down to your local dog park and you will see them chatting away about their dogs. It’s difficult not to talk about your dog to other people and also make comments about their dogs. Our dogs are often like our children, so we don’t take too kindly to any comments that are remotely negative.

If you are chatting to your best friend then yes you can probably be a bit more honest with them. Some people are generally more open to criticism and won’t react as badly to comments that accidentally cause offence. However, on the whole, dog owners are a very proud crowd. Lots of dog owners will react pretty badly (or get very upset and not say anything) if you say something mean about their dog.

The best thing to do is to keep your opinion to yourself. If a dog is clearly being mistreated then you can always report the owner, but you don’t have to start causing trouble in the dog park. Try to be nice about other people’s dogs unless they do something to offend you (such as being aggressive or upsetting your dog). Here are 10 things you should never say to a dog owner.

Suggest their dog needs to lose weight


Unfortunately many dogs these days are overweight, however it’s not necessarily your place to say. Dog owners will probably get very angry if you tell them that their dog is fat. In many cases when dogs are overweight it is because the owner is in denial, so it’s unlikely that a strangers view will change their mind. Leave this awkward job to the vet, who will certainly tell an owner if they dog is dangerously overweight.

Assume that their dog is male or female


This is a standard error that lots of people make. Dog owners get sick of people getting their dog’s sex wrong. It gets a bit frustrating when people constantly think your birth is a dog and vice versa. Avoid making this mistake by simply asking whether their dog is a bitch or a dog (or being 100% certain by checking what bits they have!).

Try and guess their age and get it very wrong


The awkward moment when you guess a dog is 12 year’s old when it’s actually two. You are basically saying that their dog looks old and frail. Not cool. People don’t mind so much when you think a dog is younger that it actually is (often they will actually be proud).

Tell them how to train their dog


The most annoying people at the dog park are the ones that try to tell everyone else how to train your dog. For example, if someone’s dog isn’t coming back to them don’t suggest they get a (because that’s a bit obvious isn’t it?). Don’t be a know it all and pretend you know everything about dog training. Other dog owners will quickly start to avoid you.

Tell them you think their dog’s is on its last legs


When a dog is near the end of its days it can be heartbreaking. Owners are faced with the gut wrenching decision of when to end their dog’s life. The decision people make is completely up to them. It’s true that some owners leave it too long before putting their dogs out of their misery but it’s not your place to intrude. Don’t suggest that their dog is on its last legs even if you do it with sympathy. People just don’t want to hear this. Plus you don’t know about their health history and the conditions that might be holding them back, but perfectly fine to continue living with.

Find out their dog died and suggest they get another one


The last thing a grieving owner wants to hear is someone suggesting they instantly get a new dog. Each dog we have is special, no dog can replace them and owners need some time to grieve for their beloved companion. Yes they might get another dog when the time is right but suggesting they get a puppy is not helpful.

Make judgements about their dog’s breed


Some dog breeds have a very . Owners that love a particular breed are extremely loyal to their dogs. We naturally grow to love some breeds more than others. What breed of dog you like is completely personal. Don’t let the media cloud your vision and lead your to make unfair judgements about a person’s dog breed.

Suggest they punish their dog


If someone’s dog is misbehaving do not suggest that they punish their dog. How they train their dog is up to them, and punishing a dog can be cruel. You will get a few funny looks if you tell someone in the dog park to punish their dog.

Ask whether they have dogs because they don’t have kids


Don’t ask people if they only have dogs because they don’t have kids. You don’t know why some people have chosen not to have kids so keep out of their business. This subject is very sensitive and best avoided.

Make judgements about things they let their dog do


Some people will judge dog owners who say they let their dog on the sofa or bed. Or they might look at owners who allow their dog to lick them in disgust. Whatever other people let their dog do is up to them (unless their dog is making you feel threatened).


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