We were walking our crew down by the lake the other day, when a loose pit bull comes charging around the corner. Now, he LOOKED friendly... But he was a Pitty, with those huge jaws, and that bred-in predisposition to fight other dogs. i know there are nice ones, but I didn't know this dog at all. On top of that, Pixel is afraid of big dogs, and Panda is still a puppy. i couldn't risk a bad experience for either of them, whether this dog meant any harm or not.
I quickly told Dave to pick up Kodi and Pixel, and I picked up Panda. The dog came toward us, still looking friendly, but you just never know. The owner, an elderly man, hobbled around the corner... He didn't even have a leash with him. We got the old "Oh, he's friendly" thing, And I pointed out that we had no way of knowing that, and we had little dogs and puppies to worry about. He just smiled and went on his way.
Fortunately, the dog WAS well enough trained that the moment he called it, it went to him. But if the dog is allowed to get out of his sight, he's not controlling it appropriately. In our town, we actually have a "dog under control" law, not a leash law. Unfortunately, this is VERY loosely interpreted by some people. I DO let Kodi and Pixel loose in some places, but they are never allowed out of my sight. They will both IMMEDIATELY come back to me (quickly) when called, and will either sit by my side, or allow me to leash them up. If there are people or bicycles approaching, I call them to me, and they are expected to stay right beside me until the person or bike has passed. If there is a dog, I ALWAYS leash them, not because I don't trust their training, but because I don't trust other dog owners. I want to be able to control at least my dogs if the situation gets touchy....and because Pixel worries about big dogs, I don't want to chance her getting scared enough to run away.
Panda is just plain too young to be trusted yet. (Though her recalls are coming along quite nicely in controlled environments) And because it would be too difficult to have her on leash and the other two off, they are all on leash when we walk all three together.
We DO, however, stop in a couple of big fields while we are out walking, and practice recalls back and forth from Dave to me, one dog at a time, then in pairs, then all together, with leashes dragging so that we could catch them if needed. This is GREAT fun for all of them. In this setting, even Panda is 100% reliable, because she has the example of the older ones, AND they are HEAVILY rewarded for coming when called. (Kodi practices his drop on recall, while the other two do straight recalls)
But, yeah, on or off leash, other dogs and their owners can be really scary. As we walked home with our three the other night, the last stretch is along our very busy street. There is a wide verge on our side of the street, but not the other side, so everyone walks on our side, going in both directions. A person came in the other direction with a very large Lab-ish mix. I don't know why, but they worried me, even though the dog was on leash. I told Dave to pick up Pix and I picked up Panda. We went as far to the side as possible and stood still to let them get by. As they came abreast of us, the dog started pulling toward ours so hard that the man was JUST barely able to hold onto him. "Oh, he's friendly... He just wants to say hi!" What's wrong with people that they don't "get" that a 100lb dog "greeting" a 9-17 lb dog (the range of our three) that way, is at very least going to frighten them, if not hurt them, no matter whether they "mean" to or not? It's just plain rude behavior, of the owner AND the dog!
Karen, Kodi, Pixel and Panda
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Last edited by krandall; 06-03-2016 at 07:22 PM.