Man faces backlash for wanting to bring six-month-old dog to the gym

Many Reddit users have expressed the dangers of bringing a pet to a gym

Amber Raiken
New York
Friday 02 June 2023 00:49 BST
Related: Dogs expertly go through a quick agility course!

A man has been hit with criticism for wanting to bring his six-month-old dog to the gym with him.

In a recent post shared to the popular “Am I The a**hole?” Reddit forum, the 22-year-old dog owner, who goes by the username u/GymAITADogThrow1, described himself as “an avid gym goer”. He went on to note how he recently started to bring his dog, named Iron, to the gym since the pet has struggled with being left alone.

“He has a bit of separation anxiety that we are going through, but I thought it’d be a good idea to take him to the gym,” he wrote. “It’s a larger public chain gym, I looked online for a dog policy and didn’t see one.”

He claimed that when he showed up at his gym with his dog, the person at the front desk didn’t bring it up. “The gym employees see him all the time and I’ve even gotten positive feedback since I’ve started bringing him,” he explained. “I’ve gotten to the point [where] he is reliable on voice command.”

The Reddit user also explained that when his dog would try to interact with strangers, he would “quickly put him on a leash and keep Iron nearby”. However, she said that his dog’s behaviour has improved and that the pet is now part of his gym routine.

“I brought Iron nearly every day and his behaviour improved,” he continued. “He would just sit there while I worked out, it was special to me to be able to work out with my puppy.I received a lot of positive feedback and multiple gym goers told me my dog was cute and it brought a smile to their face to see Iron.”

Despite how the pet acts in the gym, the Reddit user went on to cite an incident where Iron “got away from [him] and interrupted a stranger’s workout”. According to the dog owner, the stranger was “pissed” about it. He said that while he “apologised and kept [the dog] near” him after that, another stranger then came up to him, prompting an argument about if Iron should be at the gym or not.

“[He] tells me I should leave my f***ing dog at home and that dogs don’t belong in gyms,” he continued. “I get defensive, but stay calm. I tell him to find a new gym if he has a problem because most people here like my dog coming with me. This guy responds back with just leave your f***ing dog at home a**hole. He walks away and left the conversation.”

After noting that he told his friends what happened and “got mixed responses”, he asked fellow Reddit users if he was “wrong to bring [his] dog to the gym, when it seems clear to [him] that Iron is welcome there”.

As of 1 June, the Reddit post has more than 2,000 upvotes, with multiple people in the comments criticising the dog owner for bringing his dog to the gym. Some people claim that it’s a given that pets aren’t allowed in these public spaces, despite the fact that it’s not advertised in the gym.

“There’s no stated dog policy because the vast majority of people have the good sense not to bring a pet to the gym,” one wrote.

“They probably don’t have a policy about not filling up the free weight area with Jello, but OP here would see that as ‘there’s no policy against it, so I guess it’s cool that I do that too,’” another sarcastically wrote.

In the comment of his Reddit post, the original poster explained that he did his research about the gym before joining it, and that there was never a rule that did not allow him to bring his pet. ”Multiple employees know and have seen my dog, and we’ve never been rejected. As far as I’m concerned the policy is dogs are allowed,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, other people expressed the dangers of having dogs in the gym, as they can wander off and end up hurting themselves or other people when getting near the machines.

“It’s also dangerous as hell, both for the dog and for other gym goers,” one wrote. “What if Iron runs up to someone on a treadmill and gets under their feet? What if Iron gets curious about a rowing machine and gets elbowed in the face?...Do you realize how easy it would be for Iron or any of the people using those machines/weights to be severely injured because your puppy is running around?”

“Not even mentioning what happens if Iron bites someone,” another wrote. “Spend more time with your dog and learn how to deal with puppy separation anxiety and socialize them in appropriate environments

One Reddit user also said that while they have a service dog, they wouldn’t even consider bringing him to the gym. “I don’t bring him to the gym or PT, because the machines and people doing things with them, weights, rubber bands, balance balls, etc, could be a danger to him. He really doesn’t know what to watch out for,” they explained.

The Independent has contacted u/GymAITADogThrow1 for comment.

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