“He’s just a puppy!” and other dumbass excuses for idiots and the responsibility challenged

1 Oct

We’re sick of it. You know what we mean. The stupid people. The rude people. The rude and stupid people. The rude and ignorant stupid people. So we’re going to make it easy. Rather than attempting to muddle through the idiocy, we’ve made a guide. Consider it our guide to knowing if you’re going to need to make that drink a double.


1) He/She’s just a puppy.

This is the go-to excuse for people who don’t want to bother making boundaries or actually putting effort into their dogs. While we’re probably bordering on that being factual, your nine-month to eighteen month dog is not in fact a puppy anymore. Seemingly thought of as a way to excuse any and all of their dog’s bad behavior, we’re here to let you know, it’s not. If your fourteen month old retriever puppy harasses the other dogs and does not respond to their corrections, blowing it off with “Oh she’s just a puppy” is not a way to make friends. Conversely explaining that your “puppy” jumps up and bites your arms as you show your scars is not a good way to make a case for passing a basic test of control. Puppyhood is a very very short phase; you should enjoy and embrace every puppy behavior that charms and delights you. You do however need to understand that what was “cute” with a puppy, can be exceedingly *not* cute in an adult dog, and downright dangerous in many cases. Love your puppies, but make sure you’re raising an adult dog you can be proud of.


2) He/She is a rescue

All three Dog Snobs have rescue dogs.  We understand that sometimes the dog comes to you in a less than ideal condition.  We get that it can take time to work through them.  However, allowing your rescue to get away with murder and not making any attempt whatsoever to solve the issue at hand? Not cool.  Allowing this to go on for years?  Really not cool.  While rescuing a dog is a great thing, actually working with your rescue dog is even better.  Rescuing a dog is not a life-long excuse for his bad behavior nor does it give you an excuse for a life-long pass on responsible dog ownership.

Sometimes I bark at other dogs because a dog barked at me once four years ago.

3) He/She doesn’t mean it

Are you actually saying that your dog who is trying to go cobra at the end of your leash is “just joking”? Explaining the reasoning behind this particular sentiment is infuriating.  What exactly does he mean? Is snarling and slavering at the end of a leash how he says hello? If that’s what you consider hello, we’re gonna choose to walk away.

This is just how he says hello!


4) The other dogs will correct him/her if there’s a problem

People who say this are inevitably the ones who subsequently freak out when a dog does indeed correct theirs.   While we do agree that helicopter dog-parenting is not the way to go, nor is letting other dogs go all “Lord of the Flies” on your dog.   What starts as an appropriate correction can quickly escalate, especially if the dog on the receiving end is lacking in dog social skills.  Instead of letting the dogs battle it out, it’s your job as an owner to intercede if necessary.  Your dogs shouldn’t have to figure out everything on their own.  Part of being a responsible dog owner is knowing what kind of behavior is appropriate and what isn’t and making sure that your dog isn’t consistently pushing other dogs to the edge.

Not this kind of pushing, but we could see how that could get annoying.

5) My Dog is Friendly

Please don’t make us say this again.  It makes us get all riled up.  Read our thoughts on this asinine phrase here.


So, the moral of the story? If someone opens their mouth and some of these phrases come spewing out, there’s a good chance you’re talking to a moron.   Walk away, and quickly.  We hear idiot can be contagious.

33 Responses to ““He’s just a puppy!” and other dumbass excuses for idiots and the responsibility challenged”

  1. KinseyBanjo October 1, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Yes! Love this post. The other reason #2 is shitty is because it gives rescue dogs a bad name! People will remember an interaction they had with an ill-behaved dog and lazy owner who says: “he’s a rescue” – that person (if they’re not in the know about this stuff) will associate all rescue pups with being “damaged goods”! Not cool at all.

  2. tideeyed October 1, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    I personally know someone who is using the “he’s a rescue” argument after owning his dog well over 5 years now. Don’t make me punch you in the throat!!

  3. rubytheblacklabrador October 1, 2013 at 5:13 am #

    Agree – all of the above apply!!

  4. Anna Burgio October 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    I’ve got a rescue dog with a lot of temperament problems, and working out his issues has been a 4 year project so far. We have a behaviorist and have put him through classes specifically for dog-aggression, and while he has made vast improvements, the underlying causes appear to be very much genetic.

    That said, I still agree with #2. We never use his problems as an excuse because we never put him in a situation where we need an excuse. Anytime Charlie goes anywhere outside the house, he’s equipped with a head collar, a yellow ribbon on his lead, my constant attention, and a bag of high value treats to keep his focus. We turn around or cross the street if a dog is coming. If other dog owners attempt to come close, I’ll go as far as yelling and screaming to keep them at bay. Every walk outside and any trip in the car is handled as delicately as possible to keep Charlie calm, and everyone around him safe.

    • Lolly October 2, 2013 at 12:48 am #

      Yes, yelling and screaming at proximal dogs definitely sounds like handling things as delicately as possible. I’m sure that in no way is contributing to your dog’s anxiety and aggression toward other dogs.

      • Anna Burgio October 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

        I probably didn’t make it specific enough, but I’ve only used yelling/screaming as a last resort for people who insist on approaching us. It may not be delicate, but it keeps everyone safe.

    • Lolly October 2, 2013 at 12:50 am #

      P.S. If your dog is so dangerous to other dogs, he needs to wear a muzzle when outdoors, in case of an accident wherein you drop the leash or he gets out of his collar/harness.

      • Anna Burgio October 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

        He has been trained to wear a muzzle when we go places where we anticipate close contact like the vet, though I don’t bring it with us on walks outside. His collar/head-collar is pretty darned secure, and his leash is hooked to a loop around my waist.

  5. Christine Vezina October 1, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    “S/he’s just a puppy” is the bane of my existence right now. Not only is the excuse as represented here obnoxious, there is a polar opposite. Owners who will melt helplessly into the ground as their puppy does something annoying, but totally normal, and despair over whether they will be able to keep this awful creature in their home. Hence I end up actually saying, “s/he’s just a puppy” all the time lately. However, it is always followed up with a heavily stressed, “WE HAVE TO TEACH HIM (whatever behavior/s).”

  6. Kyle October 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Another great post.
    Just two weekends ago we are walking our dogs on the boardwalk along the beach. A 10 year old female lab and a 154 lbs male Rottweiler, who’s extremely protecting of her, and we know that. So does she, little b…ch. 🙂

    We pass a bench with four people, and they have some rat foo-foo thing on their lap. As we are walking by, the freaking hairy cockroach starts spitting foam, growling, lunging and snarling at my Rott, who’s leashed (of course) and heeling. Usually he pays no attention to dogs like that, and that was the case this time.
    I was the one who lost it though…

    As we pass by, instead of correcting their stupid mutt, I hear them laughing and see them patting the dog, saying: “Ha-ha-ha, you’re so cute! You are such a good boy, you are not afraid of big doggy and want to kill it… Good boy, show them what you can do! Ha-ha-ha”

    I’ve lost it. My boyfriend had to drag me away from them literally by the scruff, as I was yelling that people like that should not be allowed to have dogs. And kids. And suggested spay and neuter program (for them). As well as promised to take my boy off the leash and see their stupid mutt get trampled first and then them ripped to shreds (would have never done that though, was just really mad).

    But seriously though, I see that every day. Why do I have to correct my dog constantly and watch his every step? Why do I have to have him perfectly trained, so I can stop him in the air by voice if he’d had enough and going for a fight? Because it’s perfectly fine for some labradoodle or golden to bite him, mount him and show other domination signs because their owners don’t know any better, but God forbid my dog snaps and corrects them… “These killers should not be allowed, he was just playing, he’s a puppy, rescue, moron, has no balls blah-blah-blah…” And all Damien always does is uses his weight. In those cases he just pins the dog to the ground for two – three seconds and growls. Then walks away.
    Oh, boy… What do I hear then…
    I’m so tired of rude, stupid, ignorant people…

    Bottom line – great post. Awesome blog. Love you. Seriously.

    • ShanT1969 October 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      I TOTALLY get your reaction! Many owners of little dogs think it is so cute their little hairball has such a “big personality” and yet when the larger breed reacts to the snarling, lunging little monster, the owner gets offended. Several years ago a small toy terrier attacked my Staffordshire Terrier (Asia) by actually jumping up and biting her neck and throat area repeatedly. Thankfully Asia was uber friendly with all dogs, and particularly loved small dogs and just shook the little guy off several times until the owner finally grabbed him. The owner was shocked at his dogs behavior, “He has never done that before” (really nimrod?). He admitted to almost crapping his pants thinking Asia (with her fighting scars and too short cropped ears-previous owner) was going to kill his dog and gave me a heartfelt thanks for having such a well behaved “pit bull”. I explained HE should have a well behaved dog because he would end up losing his dog in the future to a less tolerant larger dog if it happened again.

      • Paul October 14, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        I agree with the little dog/big personality problem. And it isn’t merely a little problem. If your Jack Russell is at my dogs feet, foaming at the mouth…or an adorable Pom yapping his furry head off…it’s not cute, it’s obnoxious. These are the same owners that see my AmBull, who is looking away happily snuffing molecules and grab their Boopsy off the ground. Who is the actual evil doggie here?

        And if your beastie is “just being friendly” humping other dogs…my girl IS going to tell him off and I will too.

      • Michelle April 23, 2015 at 12:36 am #

        I realize that this reply is a year and a half old. I just want to pipe up as the proud mom of a cavalier, shih tzu, and yorkie…. I’m not one of those assholes. People get MAD AT ME for correcting my “adorable, small dogs that wouldn’t hurt a fly.” I have to explain that one bite = possible death…. my dogs are not allowed to be assholes. We’re all not like that, I swear.

    • AD December 24, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

      phew! I get you. I am incredibly rude to people we pass by and their dog is freaking out at my dog and they are standing there petting their dog! UGH.. I pass by and flat out tell them “oh yes, praise your dog for being bad, that’s an awesome idea!”

  7. lovelyeternity October 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    I also hate, “he’s too old to correct _____ problem now, so we just don’t _______ ::insert stupid accommodation here::. We should have done something about it when he was a puppy.” Like dogs stop learning once they turn 2 years old…

  8. Frustrated October 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    I agree with the sentiment. Caring for a dog is a responsibility. My dog is a great, well loved dog. But, not predictable. He still chases cats, and is not reliable around small children. I won’t let kids pet him as I don’t trust what he’ll do. I’ve spent thousands on training, and work with him daily. I don’t see this problem going away, nor do I see myself as irresponsible. Please don’t be too quick to judge. My previous dogs have be relatively easy in comparison, my current love, however, is challenging to say the least.

    • Jim October 1, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      But you appear to have a handle on your dog’s behavior, and I think that’s all the author was looking for. That the owner take responsibility and/or action to deal with their dog’s behavior, not blow it off with an excuse.

  9. Patti Tate October 1, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Unfortunately, at the moment I find myself living across the street from one of these morons. I, literally and with no exaggeration, cannot go outside into my own driveway unless I am armed. Truly a nightmare. At this point, with law enforcement ignoring the situation, I can only hope that someone will come driving by too fast at just the right moment.

  10. Hounded and Happy October 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    You can fix ignorance with some education, but there is no cure for stupid.

  11. Kat October 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I had a man tell me ” Dont worry shes friendly” as his offleash dog ran out of his yard and grabbed my leashed controlled dog by the throat and threw her on the ground. Not FRIENDLY. Luckily me and my dog were ok, shes got an amazing amount of fur that seems at times to thwart teeth.

  12. Katie October 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    A great post, but overlooks the fact that yes, some dogs DO have the skill to appropriately correct young dogs. My bitch has great correction skills for other younger dogs, and people like to let her interact with their puppies because she applies behavior-appropriate pressure that helps juveniles learn boundaries without the fear of getting maimed.

    • Alicia Graybill October 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      I don’t think the post ignores the fact that some bitches have that skill but clearly, there are some dogs who don’t have the social skills to understand how to react when properly corrected. I have a wonderful old dog who can correct a respectful pup with just a look or, at most, a bark, but if the pup has never learned how to properly react to such a correction, she could be attacked and hurt or killed. I’m not going to risk my girl’s health, safety or life just for my dog to do the owner’s job.

      • Catherine Duke October 1, 2013 at 8:50 pm #

        I do ask sometimes if I can let the other dog correct my idiot dog’s mounting…because I can stop him repeatedly without deterring him, and we will have to leave the area…but one swift reprimand from the hump-ee will stop him permanently (at least with that dog).

        That said, I respect the other owner’s wishes if they say no, I stop him and we move on.

        I sincerely hope my next dog is NOT a relentless humper, it drives me insane.

    • Christina October 2, 2013 at 2:10 am #

      I thought the same thing. The counter to the “oh just let him be corrected” and then overreacting people are those who flip their shit when their dog appropriately corrects a rude dog.

  13. Annie October 5, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    I have had serious issues with #5- in fact at our local park (not dog park) I got bit on the shoe by a little terrier while the owner was yelling “he is friendly” at me. Recently I got a dog that I muzzle on walks and people cross the street just to stay away from us. People with children literally pull their kids off the sidewalk and people illegally walking their dogs off leash call them frantically to get away from us- I have considered investing in muzzles for everyone- then we would never have to speak to a person again while outside.

    • TheDogSnobs October 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      It’s really effective if you don’t want to be bothered but be prepared for people who tell you to put your “vicious” dogs down.

      • Annie October 6, 2013 at 3:16 am #

        I have thick skin- and surprisingly have not gotten that one yet.

      • Paul October 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

        Our next door neighbor has told my wife that she “knows” our AmBull is vicious. Not because she’s ever had any contact with him…maybe he’s barked from the other side of the fence…but he’s obviously vicious with a face that could stop traffic.
        Our girl dog looks more like a Shepard so she doesn’t get such a strong reaction of course. The reality is that the boy despite his look is a socialized, easygoing, lap dog. The girl…the “good” one…is neurotic, sometimes unpredictable, with a strong prey drive. But of course appearance is everything…

  14. M. Burke October 6, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    “He’s just playing.” “She just wants to play.” I don’t think staring down my dog and blocking her from coming to me when I call her are appropriate ways to initiate play…

    • red rabbit October 30, 2014 at 5:49 am #

      That just happened to me today. I was outside with my mini dachshund when a golden retriever coming down the street started lunging and jumping – onto my dog’s yard – and snarling at her. Of course the idiot owner had the audacity to say, “he just wants to play.” Well, 1) “play” for a large dog can frighten or injure a small one 2) the dog straining on its leash to get at my dog didn’t look playful to me, and 3) keep your snarling behemoth out of my yard. Ugh.

  15. H. Jones March 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    I hate when the “he’s a rescue!” excuse is made by people whose ‘rescues’ are rather ordinarily-raised dogs who just happened to wind up at a shelter. Anybody who’s raised a rescue who actually -has- a reason to have long-standing behavior issues doesn’t, you know…let them get into situations that trigger the issues.

    I have a dog who appears to have spent his first three or four months either on the street or partially in the care of someone abusive and incompetent. It was definitely a few years before I could let him greet strangers or their dogs with confidence that there would not be a freak out, and even still I have to be careful letting him greet other dogs, as sometimes when he’s intimidated by another dog he sends mixed signals that set other dogs off. (We avoid herding dogs because of this- they tend to judge him more harshly and move to correct him. Having owned a sheltie, I understand this.) And there’s situations at home where we have to keep an eye on his body language too! He’s ten and a much, much happier and calmer dog than he was when we got him, and having plans and systems put in place for keeping him from feeling threatened is a big part of that.

    However, your average rescue does not come to its new home such a magnificent bundle of poor socialization and resource-related aggression. It’s a fairly clean slate. If it winds up a terrifying barky mess that tries to charge Dan and me in the park, it’s probably because the owner didn’t try too hard to fix that.

  16. AD December 24, 2014 at 5:37 pm #

    #1 and #2 go hand in hand. Often people use the excuse “he’s just a puppy” until they can’t deal with that “puppy” behavior anymore, than they dump it at a shelter where a person adopts it then claims the dog must have been abused and say “he’s a rescue”. When I walk my trained well behaved (most of the time) rescue and hear people use that excuse for their out of control dog I say “my dog is rescue too move on to the next excuse”. I absolutely hated when my dog was 2 and people asked his age, they would say “oh he’s just a puppy”, grrrr. no he’s not, he’s a fully frown young adult dog.


  1. “My dog has never done that before”…. | The Dog Snobs - March 22, 2014

    […] of hearing this phrase? What about any of these others rage-inducing phrases we’ve covered before ?  Let us know in the […]

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