Monday, April 11, 2011

Crash Course

On Sunday afternoon, I loaded up the four Border Collies and my mom. We were headed to the local grazing reserve, hoping to walk on the trails. Well the trails were still snow covered, so we decided to go down the oil service road. It was dry and the dogs would spend part of the walk on leash and part off leash. When we met horses we'd recall the dogs and leash them up. Sitting them down and waiting patiently for the horses to pass. We even met some people who were also walking their dogs there. Most of the time this isn't an issue. But sometimes people just blow me away.

A lady on a bike with a German Shepard was quickly approaching us. We called the dogs in, and put them all on leash. Simply because the babies don't always listen well, and Reba and Tessa are cranky pants. I wasn't interested in starting a dog fight. We sat our dog down and waited for her to pass. Except she didn't. Her dog came loping towards us. She called out he was just coming to say hi and he is very friendly. I called out my dogs were not. Did she recall her dog? Nope. Why bother? So there we were four dogs on leash, and one rapidly approaching. What do you think happened?

Reba raised her lip and uttered a growl, causing me to correct the behavior, and put her back into a Lie Down. I walked away from my mom so we weren't all together, trying to slow the train wreck I knew would happen. Dogs down again, I turned just as Tessa surged forward, causing Diva to leap with her. My mom hit the gravel, sliding with the forward motion of the dogs. Meanwhile the German Shepard is still trying to engage my dogs. Leaving my mom he comes towards me. The lady was delusional. His back hair was standing on end. Not generally a "friendly dog" look. Did she recall her dog? Nope. Meanwhile my mom is struggling to get to her feet. Tessa is wild, causing my mom to fall once more. The strange lady grabbed Diva. I told her to let her go, she'd recall to me. So there I am calling Diva with her leaping at the end of her collar trying to get to me, and the lady refusing to release her. I once more tell her to let her go. And she looks at me blankly. Seriously?? I was getting annoyed by this point. Her dog is still roaming loose, circling me, then circling my mom. Finally getting Diva, I hold my three while my mom regains her feet. Did I mention mom is waiting for knee surgery?? Worried, I watch her, while trying to encourage clueless lady to move on. When mom limped up to me I asked her what happened. She didn't know. She thinks the dogs pulled her off her feet, the bad knee giving out on her. I kept a careful eye on her. We still had a good 30 minutes walk to get back to the staging area. In my head I was making contingency plans. Figuring how I'd get my truck back in there to drive her out. She managed to walk out and is okay. A bit roughed up but okay.

I'm still a bit befuddled by the lady. What would posses her to think having her loose dog approach four leashed dogs (from the same pack) is okay? That's never got a good outcome. Even the babies who are generally pretty happy with other dogs were not. Tess with all her training went into protect mode and Reba went into attack mode. Tessa and Reba have enough training that I can generally lie them down and they'll wait patiently until the dog passes. The pups are learning to sit when we meet someone new. Greeting dogs on leash is a different thing. It's not like the dog park where they can greet, meet and move on at will. I would have been better off leaving Reba and Tessa off leash, reducing their protective/possessive instincts. But most people are respectful. They ask their dogs to heel or put them on a leash when passing.

All it takes is one...

1 comment:

MTWaggin said...

Because biker woman is S.T.U.P.I.D! May not have helped but next time take a pocket full of kibble and/or treats and pitch it away from you all so the loose dog sees it. Oh then TRIP the lady on the bike! :)