We just took the second walk of the season a few weeks ago (weather and scheduling issues have kept our walks infrequent), and the spring dog walker idiots were out in force!
First I actually encountered someone with dog etiquette and intelligence. He saw that we were having some trouble getting the groove of walking, this was Bear’s first walk since joining our pack. He pulled his dog aside and waited for us to pass. I smiled and thanked him.
The second encounter was with a lady and her two unleashed terrier types who came running at my dogs. Of course, Bear having never really been socialized or walked on the greenway is lacking in manners and is a rather reactive dog, so he started acting up. I shortened the leashes and quickly tried to pass once she had her dogs leashed and under control. As we got closer she asked if bear was a chow mix due to his black tongue, I simply said “No” and continued walking while I was mentally scolding her, “No lady Chows aren’t the only dogs with black tongues if you haven’t noticed my German Shepherd also has black spots on her tongue.” As we start to pass she said, “I’m presuming your dogs are friendly?” Cue Bear’s lack of manners. I told her “Yes my girls are, but they are being egged on by Bear, and Bear has barely been taught leash manners and is leash reactive so I can’t really say what he would do to another dog.” As indicated by my cinching up his leash, his being on a no-pull harness and on the farthest side from you and your dogs and other oncoming traffic… really people get a clue.
I did manage to walk away before she decided to give me an earful for bringing a ‘vicious’ dog to the greenway. Bear isn’t vicious, he’s really a sweet dog when off leash, he’s just untrained, and how am I supposed to train him if I don’t expose him and work with him?
Towards the end of our 1.5-mile walk, he was behaving much better, he was also panting and slowing down, and while he was still excitable he was learning that barking at other dogs was a no-no, and pulling wasn’t going to get him anywhere. I really strongly feel that dogs learn best from other dogs. Instead, he started stopping and trying to turn and try to follow the dogs we just passed (that would be a Willow trick), clever boy… Although that’s just going to make me ‘drag’ you since I’m not stopping. He caught on pretty quick though.
During one of my teaching moments with Bear (giving verbal adjustments to his walking), Chloe decided to be a bad girl and lunge at a biker. She only did that once, and it got me cussed at, needless to say, I was embarrassed. Oh well, nobody actually got hurt, and I did verbally correct Chloe (a good firm ‘That was NO’) the bicyclist may have need of some extra drying time for his britches but he didn’t fall and while Chloe was close she didn’t touch him.
Willow was actually rather behaved, aside from her usual desire to stop and sniff as many times as possible. There were a few times where she stubbornly planted herself and required coaxing. But overall she did better than the other two.
I only took the three of them for a few reasons, I am out of shape and while I know I can walk five dogs, and have the gear to walk five dogs, I’m not quite ready for it. The dogs are out of shape and need to build up to our old walking speed and distances. Bear is a new walker and needs to learn the rules and three dogs are easier to handle than five when teaching a new dog proper manners. The biggest reason of all, my truck is not big enough to take five dogs. Four is pushing it, and I won’t leave one dog at the house alone if I can help it, so I will only take three until I have a larger vehicle (which is in the works).
*NOTE* The only picture of Bear in this post is the title photo, all the other dog photos are of Willow, Putt-Putt, and Chloe. I was a bit preoccupied with actually walking Bear to take any pictures of our walk.