Since Moby is currently benched when it comes to playing ball and frisbee, we go for A LOT of walks. We go for a walk every morning after breakfast. If I’m able to come home at lunch, we go for a walk then. We go for a walk either before or after dinner (depending on what time I get home because heaven forbid if Boney eats a MINUTE after 5:30!). And sometimes we go for a walk before bedtime.
His energy level dictates what type of walk we will have.
Usually the after breakfast walks are pretty calm – he’s still waking up, it’s dark out so there isn’t a lot to peak his attention and he walks almost loose leash.
Lunch time walks are another story. He’s been sleeping all morning and is ready to get out and play! I’m sad to say that I am usually being dragged around the neighborhood when it comes to lunch though sometimes towards the end he gets a little tired.
Dinner time walks are usually a toss up. Sometimes he has a full belly and and is pretty calm. Sometimes (when his dad and brother come along) it’s like he’s never been for a walk before in his life!
Bedtime walks are much like the morning walks. It tends to be a little darker/at dusk so there isn’t a lot going on and he’s almost ready to call it a night.
My favorite walks are in the morning – it’s quiet and it’s just us – not too many others are up and about and I can be in tune with him. It’s perfect.
My least favorite walks are during the day. In our neighborhood, folks tend to let their dogs roam at large. I’m always on the lookout for what is ahead and aware of anyone else that might be walking their dog as well. I only want to put Moby in situations where I know he will succeed, so I try to avoid those that might end another way. For example, there is a woman in the neighborhood with two dogs that walks by our house every day. She is very nice and always says Hi! but I know that one of her dogs is leash/dog reactive. So, if we see them, we simply choose another route. No need for both of us to get stressed!
This weekend, we weren’t so great at avoiding situations. In fact, we were charged on two separate dogs on two separate walks. It’s almost like we had a target on our back! I’m happy to say that Moby reacted incredibly well (much better than me!).
In the first situation, we turned a corner and I could see someone with their dog a block away, also turning the corner. We moved to the other side of the street so as to avoid a face-to-face walk by. She didn’t see us, but her dog did. Her dog (a schnauzer) barked, jerked at us and backed right out of his collar – can promptly came running and barking at us. My first reaction was to protect Moby. I had no idea what this dog’s intentions were an it was obvious his mom was in shock over him coming loose. Moby sat and I knelt down and shielded him with my body. The dog came right up and stopped once it realized that I wasn’t going give up – and his mother finally made it to us and scooped him up – but with no apologies for his behavior!
In the second situation, we were walking and saw a neighbors dog in their front yard (which I knew he could get out of) so we proceeded to turn around before he realized he could get out. At that point, a tiny Yorkie came charging down the street – growling and snapping. Again, Moby sat and I covered him up. The owner came sauntering down the street to which I hollered (all while huddled over Moby) “He’s afraid of little dogs!” (disclaimer: he’s not, but I was trying not to yell the profanities that were going through my head and that’s all I could come up with). The response: “just kick her away, it’s fine.” Again, no apologies. Next time I won’t be so nice and I WILL kick your little dog.
The thing that makes me maddest about both of these situations is that because of Moby’s size, if he would have taken any action at all – which would have been perfectly legitimate in my eyes as he was the one being attacked – it would have been his fault. And neither owner said they were sorry. I can promise you that if either one of my dogs get out/loose and goes to another dog, I’m going to apologizing up a storm! I’ll also be rethinking the type of collar/harness/leash I use and making darn sure it doesn’t happen again!
We’ve had a couple days of situation free walks since then but I do have to say that it puts me on high alert when we are out. What would you do in those situations? What can you say to those owners without sounding like a jerk?