While on my walk with Mia last night on the lovely first evening of spring, I started mentally composing a post quite similar to this one. Shoot. Turns out I’ve already written it.
But the question remains, what are we supposed to do when we pass another dog on a narrow path? I mean, if the other person blithely lets her dog wander to the end of its leash, I’m going to let Mia do whatever she wants to, which is usually to sniff between its legs.
Circumstances have changed slightly. It’s lighter, drier and warmer out, so we’re seeing more dogs (and we’re actually able to see the dog, and read the human’s facial expression).
I can’t read people as well as I read dogs, but the last three we passed, I sensed that the walkers didn’t want our dogs to meet. In two of the three cases, I suspect they were afraid of what their dog might do.
Scenario 1: Passing on the sidewalk
Mia and I see a woman and a golden on the sidewalk, on the same side of the street as us. Joy, joy, I think. Since Leo’s not with us, I don’t have to cross to the other side of the street. The woman veers out into the street to give us space. Her dog strains against its leash, Mia strains against her leash. Mia’s hackles go up. The woman murmurs something to her dog as I say, “You’re fine. Good girl.” (To Mia, not the other woman.)
Scenario 2: Passing on a footbridge
There’s a whole other anecdote connected to this scenario, involving a little kid running up ahead of his parents and falling down in front of me (and Mia), shrieking as if he’d been shot (c’mon, kid. You didn’t fall that far, and I wouldn’t even be crying if I’d taken that fall), and me thinking it’s just as irresponsible to let your child run out of your sight on a woodsy trail as it is to flout the leash law. But I digress. Before the kid fell, while he’s still running ahead of me and Mia (with his parents behind us), we see a couple of older ladies approaching with a small dog, perhaps a miniature pinscher. The ladies give me a look, a little like, “Can’t you control your kid,” and I just keep walking over the footbridge. The ladies sort of pause at the other end of it, but not far enough away to keep Mia from sticking her face in the min-pin’s crotch for a good whiff. I felt like the lady wasn’t too thrilled about having my terrifying beast that close to her dog, but maybe that’s just remnants of my reactive dog shame talking. I mean, if she didn’t want our dogs to meet she could have a) picked hers up, or b) given us more space.
Scenario 3: Passing on the trail
A couple emerges from the woods as Mia and I are walking on the trail. They clearly want to keep their dog from meeting Mia. I think the man asked the dog to sit, but then, like, maybe he changed his mind and kept walking (or maybe the woman knew the dog wouldn’t sit and she overrode his strategy). In any case, their dog might have growled, but stayed on its side of the trail. Mia pulled on her leash a little, but kept on walking with me, and her hackles didn’t go up. “You’re fine. Good girl,” I told her.
I guess a perfect dog wouldn’t pull on the leash and try to sniff another dog? But Mia doesn’t pull me off my feet, or bark, lunge, growl or snarl, so as far as I’m concerned, she’s behaving appropriately… at least as appropriately as the other dogs.
I suppose I could have been more courteous to the ladies in Scenario 2, but as I said, I think the people in Scenarios 1 and 3 were concerned about their own dogs’ behavior, not Mia’s.
Tell me, owners of “normal” dogs, are Mia and I doing this right? I’m happy to take your constructive criticism.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…