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Dear runners, about my dogs… July 11, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in pets.
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It would be much easier to walk the dogs individually, but it’s awfully difficult to find the time, especially with the hot weather.  The only time I really have to take them out before the heat sets in is about 6 a.m.  So I get everyone leashed up, and we look like this.

Keep in mind…that’s an 1/8 of a ton of dog I’m holding onto.

Today, Rainier left a brown, smelly gift on someone’s lawn.  Cleaning this up is not easy while trying to hold onto the dogs.  Therefore, I get them to sit down nicely on the sidewalk, and they are pretty good about staying there while I take care of their business.

Except today…because of someone who wasn’t thinking.  After this incident, I feel it necessary to convey some etiquette to clueless joggers about dogs.  I hope they listen.

Dear runners,

If you see a dog seated on the sidewalk, please make a point to take advantage of the 8 feet of boulevard to your left.  Only an idiot or small child runs up to a dog they don’t know.  Do NOT try to run directly past them.  I am not attempting to ‘own’ the sidewalk.  I am telling you this to keep you (and me!) safe.  If nothing else, try to remember that running on grass is better for your knees, so you can at least give your knees a break.

1 – Running up to a dog you don’t know is stupid.  Not all dogs are friendly to strangers.  If you run up to a dog you don’t know, they could very well turn around and bite you as they may think you’re attacking them.  I hope not…but some dogs are that way.

2 – Running sets off a chase instinct in many dogs.  If they didn’t have an inclination to go after you before, they very well may after they see you running away.

3 – A dog who is friendly may also be excitable, and you running up to the dog is likely to result in that dog jumping on you.  I can tell you that having 100 lbs. of excitable fluff jump onto you can be an unpleasant experience.

4 – Running up behind a dog is stupid because, even if those dogs are super friendly with people (like mine are), you may spook them (like you did today), and they may take off running (like they did today).  This may result in the person who didn’t see you because she is attempting to pick up poop either having her arm yanked out of the socket or nearly pulled over.  All I can say is that I am glad Rainier really doesn’t move fast because he was a great anchor when Gigadog decided to check out these interlopers.

Now that I have clearly established reasons why you were not doing the brightest thing today, I can assure that I will continue to take my dogs to sit on the boulevard and let you pass.  I realize not all people like dogs, and I make every effort to keep mine from accosting strangers who have no interest.  I would ask that you do the same for me, however, when I am not in a position to see you coming.

Thanks,

Cherish

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Comments»

1. Sandra Jones - July 11, 2012

Cherish, they make a coupler thing you can get at like petsmart that you could use much easier than tying them together, I have 2 lab sisters that use this sometime. It was pretty cheap. Drawback, one might pull the other.

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mareserinitatis - July 12, 2012

Will look at that option, too, when I have the chance. In all honesty, I was thinking that might be good as long as the skittish one doesn’t hurt the other one. He’s a big boy and will follow her but won’t necessarily let her move very fast. 🙂

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2. Mados - July 12, 2012

I agree with your rules for runners!

Re. leashes: when I walk my 2 dogs, each has a thin but strong leash tied onto one shared wooden ‘handgrip’ (just a nice stick I found) which I hold in my hand. The grip gives a solid and finger-friendly hold on the leashes if both dogs get agitated and pull hard at once, and it also allows me to correct each dog individually. Plus, the leashes are very light and convenient… So thin leashes cause pain & harm to the fingers with so big dogs if they pull, that’s why I use the handgrip (although they only occasionally pull, it is bad when they do).

Apart from that we also have a solid, thich 2-dog leash where each end can be fastened in each dog’s collar, and which can be adjusted in various way… made by Rogz. It is pretty good too, but doesn’t have the hand grip and lightness of my home made solution described above.

My dogs don’t weigh 50 kgs each, though… 25 kg and probably about 30 – 35 kg.

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3. Mados - July 12, 2012

I forgot to say I take our dogs for about an hours walk/run every morning in rugged/rocky terrain, on narrow firetracks etc, and can’t let them run off-leash (have tried that;-) that’s why the lightness and high control of the leashes is important.

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mareserinitatis - July 12, 2012

Shoot…I saw your comment and stopped by the pet store today…and then forgot to look for a 2-dog leash! The new pup is very steady on walks, but my younger one has this tendency to bolt when she hears a strange sound. There are many times where I’ve almost had an arm injury. I will say that having the bigger one as an anchor is nice, but you’re right – the way I have them tied doesn’t give me much individual control.

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Mados - July 13, 2012

If the bigger one serves as an anchor, then I guess it does make sense to tie them together.

In my case, when one bolts (dog! cat! nice lady! squirrel! whatever! 😉 the other tends to join in on the fun about two miliseconds later… Unfortunately I don’t have an anchor. Maybe I should buy a Newf. 😉

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Mados - July 13, 2012

How expensive are they?

No, just kidding.

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4. teckdeck2008 - July 12, 2012

Sorry to be bit argumentative but I just have to say that I disagree with some of your stuff. I agree with parts to be sure – I never sneak up on dogs from behind or do anything that makes them run off/jumpy. But I actually kind of like running up to a dog in an unsurprising way and giving it a quick pet. It’s fun and most of the time, as long as I don’t go dashing off immediately, it doesn’t chase after me or cause too much chaos. And truthfully, I don’t mind a 100 lb dog jumping on me or playing; I am a bit of dog person though so that helps. Now that I think about it, I am really careful when the dogs aren’t clearly on leash and the owner is not able to control them as well. I just think that it’s excessive to say that all joggers should completely avoid dogs/dog walkers because the only thing we cause is inconvenience.

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mareserinitatis - July 12, 2012

I guess I’ve been around too many dogs that are skittish, and I personally have learned to never approach a dog unless first getting permission from the owner. I’m not saying that because it’s inconvenient, and certainly if you’re familiar with the dog, that changes things. But dogs are animals with instincts to protect themselves, and they often need a chance to get to know you before allowing you to touch or interact with them. How would you feel if someone ran past you and just randomly reached out an touched you? Personally, I’d be freaked out, and I don’t think it’s fair to a dog to just force them to accept touching when they aren’t sure it’s safe.

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Mados - July 13, 2012

@ teckdeck2008,

Sorry for jumping into this conversation, but you can’t touch dogs without checking with their owners first in any case. And to come running from behind and suddenly touch a dog that hasn’t noticed you and maybe doesn’t even know you at all, is totally unacceptable/suicidal/very selfish. It would startle many dogs and is likely to cause some to react in a way that could bring them in deep trouble. Plus, it is bad to encourage jumping on strangers and other impulsive behaviours, since it can bring the dog + people in trouble at other times. Very selfish attitude.

OK, so your comment provoked me as a dog owner. Was it trolling, or were you serious?

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teckdeck2008 - July 13, 2012

I’m not trolling but it wasn’t completely serious. I was just asking for a little perspective. I may have not been exactly clear I guess. I don’t go up and touch every dog I run by; but if I run by and they start playing with me, I’ll give them a quick pet. Like I said before, I have some respect for dogs and the dog owners. I don’t startle them, run up behind them, or pet them where any owner doesn’t see it or can’t do anything about it. If I see an owner try and stop the dog’s behavior, I don’t do anything to provoke the dog more. How is a stranger randomly interacting with your dog in public selfish on his part – assuming there are no major boundaries crossed?

I was just saying that I think it is excessive to avoid dogs all together in public just because of some possible inconvenience or issue. To make the same parallel you just did, I don’t avoid people in public because they might not want me around them. And if I ran by them and they wanted me to give me a high five as I passed, I would do that and maybe say “hi how are you doing?” Why should it be any different with a dog?

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Mados - July 13, 2012

How is a stranger randomly interacting with your dog in public selfish on his part – assuming there are no major boundaries crossed?

No, but they usually ask me first – although the dogs are all wiggly & ‘come and pet me!’ happy, they still ask if the dogs are OK with being petted. And that way I can tell them that 1. The dogs are friendly and would love to be petted, 2. One of them can be jumpy, which is why I hold onto her and allows her to approach people only slowly.

It is perfectly OK to interact with dogs when they and their owner are aware of it and prepared. However, that isn’t the issue Cherish points out in her post. She talks about runners who come running from behind and startle dogs that sit and wait while their owner is busy picking up pooh.

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teckdeck2008 - July 13, 2012

Fair enough. I agree with you then. I was talking more about the specifics of certain rules at the end. And cherish, I definitely agreed with the first part of the article – i didn’t mean to start a big issue.

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mareserinitatis - July 15, 2012

I understand. I guess it’s that I’ve spent over a year now around other dog owners, and I’m starting to realize how clueless some of them are. I don’t know how many times I’ve brought Gigadog to Petsmart and asked someone with another dog there if their dog is friendly with other dogs. They’ll say, “Sure!” I’ll let Gigadog approach, and their dog nearly attacks her. Then they’ll tell that their dog doesn’t like bigger dogs, or other people, or some such. It’s gotten me very worried about my younger son who knows to always ask before he approaches any dog. If owners are really that clueless, you *still* have to be very careful, even when they say it’s okay. So, in general, I think it’s best to be safe and steer clear unless your familiar with the dog…especially in a situation where you’re running and a number of bad things could happen.

Bah. I think all dog owners ought to be required to go through some sort of training before getting a dog…

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5. Mados - July 17, 2012

I think all dog owners ought to be required to go through some sort of training before getting a dog…

I agree… There should be a sort of mandatory driver licence for dogs, or at least dogs over a certain size, given how dangerous they can be for others.

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6. Mados - July 17, 2012

BTW re. dog owners…

We started out with our 2 big puppies in a one bedroom flat in a beach suburb. The dog had lots of walkies, obviously, and interacted with many other dogs every day, both on leash and off leash. The suburb we lived in was full of dogs on walkies, well mannered, and there were virtually never problems or dpg conflicts.

Then we moved to a house in an outer suburb. Here are plenty of dogs, but we only know that because of the barking – we rarely ever see any being walked.

When we do meet another dog, then the following happens:

On leash:

Angry dogs bark insanely of each other and pull temporarily on the leash like insane monsters (including mine, unfortunately – something they never did before we moved here)

Unleashed:

I see a dog and shout ‘hello’ or something to warn the owner that I’m coming. The owner, who was walking relaxed and chatting with someone, turns pale when he sees me and my dogs and shouts for his dog in panic. When he finds his dog, he screams to me (his voice in panic:) ‘HE IS FRIENDLY!!!’ then RUNS over to his dog and more or less throws himself over it and hold onto the collar with a very determined, ready-for-trouble look until he gets the leash on. Then looks deeply relieved.

Reassuring!

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