Thursday, March 19

I just want to walk my dogs...

Spring is well on its way, and with it those warm temperatures we've all being longing for since mid-October.

For me, spring means a chance to get out and walk my dogs regularly again.

Honestly, I think every year I romanticize about how great it is to walk the dogs. So relaxing, so healthy... yeah, really, it's a nightmare.

I can overlook the fact that my dogs aren't the easiest animals to walk. Several are reactive and go nuts if they see another dog. One is extremely protective. One is leash aggressive. One pulls me down the road regardless of gentle leader, sporn harness, or any other training device and method. One dog teaches all the other dogs that walk with her that walking on the sidewalk isn't a necessity. One dog ONLY eats poop on dog walks. One dog barks furiously for the first five minutes of the walk before calming down.

I can deal with all that. I've even adjusted so that I walk my dogs in shifts - usually three or four walks - no more than two dogs at a time and sometimes just one. Heck, I even figured out who keeps their dogs outside all day, or on a tie-out, and I plan my route to avoid those houses.

What I can't deal with, is folks in my neighborhood who can't keep control of their own dogs, so I'm always encountering off-leash pets.

Yesterday, I was walking my Old English Sheepdog down the road for a 2 mile jaunt. Next thing I know, this rottweiler mix bolts out of his house and heads straight for my dog. Roofus is EXTREMELY social, loving, and friendly to other dogs - but he's also very protective of mommy, and running madly up to a dog out on a leisurely stroll is not good doggie manners. Roo was all riled up, jumping, barking, but thankfully on a Gentle Leader. I was wary because the dog was too big for me to punt if he wasn't friendly. The woman came up pretty quick though, apologizing, saying he just slipped out when she opened the door. Sigh...

Today, I was walking Popper and Blossom. A little background on my Blossom... she's a 14 year old dalmatian-border collie rescue dog, who is almost completely deaf and is very leash aggressive. Leash aggression is different from dog aggression, to an extent - she only dislikes strange dogs when she's on a leash. It's weird, I know. She came that way. She was also quite a scrapper when I first got her, so I know she can inflict damage when she wants to, which is also a problem.

Of course, we encounter not one - but TWO offleash dogs. This time, a pair of bullmastiffs. Now, they did seem to be the friendliest bullmastiffs known to man. But that doesn't matter when I'm walking a leash aggressive dog. The woman, who was chasing her dogs around (ironically right across the street from rottie lady) called and apologized about her loose dogs (one wearing a leash, one not) and tried to recall them. I said, "That spotted dog is dog aggressive! There's going to be a dog fight!" I don't know if that sped her up or not, but Blossom chose that moment to snap and snarfed at the mastiff who was sniffing her. Normal dogs do not like being snapped at. This particular dog was no exception. It began snarling, growling, and starting to lunge at B - I was pondering what action I was going to take to keep the two dogs apart when the owner grabbed the dog from behind - no small task with a large, angry dog - and I had my two gone lickety split from the situation before anybody got hurt. Blossom may not be the best behaved dog in the world - but she was on a leash and thus under my direct control. We shouldn't have to worry about being accosted by strange dogs.

That's TWO days in a row we've encountered large, loose dogs. It's aggravating that I'm trying to enjoy the time with my dogs, as well as the sunshine and fresh air, but I can't - I have to constantly be searching for loose dogs. I'm going to have to buy a can of doggie pepper spray... there's one called Direct Stop I'm going to try. It's amazing how many people in my neighborhood can't keep their dogs in their houses... I've never had my dogs slip out like that. And my dogs come when called. As Mad-Eye Moody would say - Constant Vigilance!

1 comment:

Ron said...

Poor Rufus!
I am glad he escaped unscathed from his close encounter of the Rottweiler kind.

And Blossom and Popper, too!