The other night when I had BD I decided it would be nice to go on a walk around a local forest together. It’s a lovely place to walk, it’s close to where I pick him up from and the gravel path means that he doesn’t get too mucky (I love him, but I have new creamish carpets so although I want him to have loads of fun on our walks at the moment I am all about good clean fun!) It’s also nice and quiet, we very rarely run into other people or dogs and when we do the path is big enough I know we can easily pass – I call it a low stress walk!
However, last night my ‘low stress’ walk backfired slightly when an idiot male passed crossed my path and I went from relaxed to full out stress in the space of about 5 minutes, and it was all his bloody fault.
Bd and I were happily walking along, BD had is tennis ball and I was chattering away to him and focusing on being in the moment when in the distance I spotted a man running and a black dog behind him. Now anyone with a reactive dog will tell you one of the skills you develop when your dog doesn’t like others is an ability to spot another dog at 1000 paces.
I knew this was going to be a challenging situation for BD and that more than likely we would have a reaction. For some unknown reason he has started barking at every dog he sees (not a popular habit he has formed!) however the massive improvement is it isn’t a ‘grrr I’m going to kill you’ bark more a ‘look, look, over there is a dog, have you seen it?’ bark. To me this is a big improvement, not so much to the people with the other dog, you should have seen the dirty look the cute young vet gave me when he passed me in the street, his terrier trotting along nicely in front of him while my ginger nutcase bounced and barked and tried to pull me into the street, while I told him he was a good boy, to calm down and tried to persuade him to sit (apparently asking for a ‘trick’ distracts them). Anyway I digress!
So I called BD to me, took his tennis ball from him and put on his muzzle.
This is my fail safe way to get BD past a dog. I do not put him back on his lead as he feels restricted and so is more likely to react. So I muzzle and then carry on with the walk. With his muzzle on he can’t bite the other dog, so even if anything was to look like it may happen BD can’t do any damage. But the really play is to make sure I have the tennis ball in my hand. My boy is ball obsessed and so long as I have the tennis ball his eyes will be on me. A marching band could parade past him and unless they got in his face he would not bat an eyelid – the ball is all that matters.
Ideally in this situation I will just try and walk past the other dog, as I once read you need to make seeing another dog a ‘none event’ but as this was a running dog I thought it was better to pause in a nice wide part of the trail and wait for them to pass.
Which the runner did. He said hello as he ran past, but the dog froze. I called after the runner to ask if that was his dog, but he just ignored me and carried on his way.
I assumed that one of two things would happen. One the runner would stop and wait for the dog to catch up, encouraging him past me and BD so they could carry on with their walk or b the dog would pause slightly but as his ‘dad’ carried on he would run past us both to catch up.
Neither of these things happened.
The man kept on running, as in out of sight, gone, forgotten about.
And the dog froze.
I waited and then I swore.
The man had gone. Clearly this was not his dog.
There was no one else about, and we had been walking for a while. I knew we were in the middle of nowhere and for a dog to be here alone it was probably lost.
I swore again.
I couldn’t just leave it.
But I was with BD, I will admit to grumbling something along the lines of “why does this only ever happen when I have BD with me.” Had this situation presented itself with Mity he would have trotted along happily next to the new dog, thinking he had found a new friend. In fact once we used Mity as ‘bait’ when a neighbours scared dog got out. We encouraged it to follow Mity all the way home and Mity thought the whole thing was the most fun game ever.
BD would not think this is the most fun game ever. BD would not like this dog following him home.
I told BD to wait, and I slowly crept towards the strange dog. I noticed it was wearing a collar and so I decided I would ring the number on it. Simples.
I crept forward, talking calmly.
BD watched my every mood.
I have to admit he was very good and he didn’t make a fuss and let me approach this dog.
As I swapped between watching this dog and checking BD for signs of concern/reactivity I tried to assess the condition of the strange dog to see how long it may have been out there.
I found some dog treats in my pocket and held one out, hoping that the other dog would be tempted. I kept my tone low and my movements slow.
As I got close the dog let out an almighty yelp and raced off.
I swore again.
BD watched it go he sort of went to follow it, but not in an aggressive manner and returned to me as soon as I called. But now I was more upset. In this situation I can’t help but wonder what would happen if it was BD or Mity; how I would feel about them being out there alone. I felt like I had let down this dog and its owner. I wondered what I should have done different. I considered leaving the rest of my treats on the trail so it would have a little something to eat. Granted it was about 4 large treats, but still it would have been something.
I decided to pull myself together. Unmuzzled BD and chucked his ball for him resigned to the fact that I couldn’t do anything more.
And at the point the idiot running man came back into view with the dog clearly with him; turns out his was his dog after all. Initially I was relieved that the dog was going to be ok, but the relief was replaced with annoyance with this bloke. He had seen my muzzle BD. His dog had been held up, too afraid to pass me and BD and yet he had ran off and not given a flying ……..feck.
You don’t have to have a dog. It is a choice not a necessity and if you can’t be arsed to properly care and look after a dog, then don’t have one.
I tell you this guys complete disregard has me boiling for quite some time. In fact even now it gets me cross just thinking about it.
That is a strange situation. Maybe he was dog sitting and didn’t realise (but in that case, why wasn’t the dog leashed?). My pet peeve this week: Why do owners of reactive dogs walk them along canal paths/other areas where there is nowhere for the dogs to escape to & clearly other dogs are walked,and then give you the evils when you come bouncing round the corner with your off-leash running partner?
But yes, dogs are WAY better company than poo-head men 🙂 (massive generalisation based on my own history, they are not all like that or so I am told).
I’m told that too, but yet in my experience it is not the truth (excluding my dad of course, he is beyond amazing and does not count in the all men and poo-head category!!)
It was the fact he was so oblivious. I called BD over to me and put a big black muzzle on him, that’s the sign that you need to step up and pay attention regardless of what you are doing!
I have to admit to walking my reactive dog down narrow paths and cannal paths. However, I am always looking for somewhere to step out the way and if I see another dog call BD to me and get him under control – I would never give evils, unless I call BD to me and the other persons dog came over, got in his face and the owner did nothing to call or get their dog away. In that situation, I have done everything in my power – called my dog to my feet, got hold of his collar and taken a step as much off the path as possible, I would expect the other owner to step up and do their bit. if you’re running and not prepared to stop and pay attention to your dog then perhaps leave your dog at home!
What a stupid man and not only that but an irresponsible dog owner. Have a tremendous Thursday.
Best wishes Molly
You should have seen me stomp off down the path muttering after our encounter. It would have been funny had I not been so mad!!
Clearly he was a Dick. How else could you describe that? I’m sorry, the sad thing about dog ownership is that some owners are just so stinking clueless. It makes me wonder what they are like in other areas of their lives.
The good thing is that BD was okay and didn’t react to the other dog.
BD was brilliant, I was so proud of him!!!!
I agree with Jodi, especially about BD being so good. Pierson would not have let me help at all. He’s gotten better, but not as good as BD.
Thank you. I very tactically left the tennis ball on the floor near him, so I think his biggest concern was why I wasn’t throwing the ball!
Poor other doggie being stuck with a knob of an owner. But high five BD! Well handled.
he was brilliant, I was so proud of him!!
You and BD did very well.
My bipeds would be worried about a dog that appears to be alone. That man should have made sure his dog stayed near him.
Had I realised the dog was his sooner he may very well have been given a peace of my mind! So irresponsible!!!