My husband told me last night that the reason he doesn’t read my blog is because he lives it, he doesn’t need the recaps. That made me laugh. *g*
We took Bishy to Durand on Monday night to hike around on the trails, and my sweet moose of a dog very nearly killed me-death by dragging, of course. We were in this hilly area that’s pretty nearly all pines, and with all the fallen needles, traction was kind of sketchy. While we were standing at the crest of one particularly steep hill, this huge guy with an unleashed miniature poodle came out of nowhere and walked past us to head down slope. Bishy started to follow, excited by the other dog, and because I couldn’t get my footing I had no choice but to follow as well. I was holding on to the leash with a death grip, and actually ending up bruising a couple of my fingers really badly because they were squeezed so tightly together by the leash as Bishy pulled. Craig ran down and grabbed me just in time. I was a little shaken up, and my hand hurt, but I was really none the worse for wear.
We have a leash law in NY state that not many people in Rochester really abide to unfortunately. Most people walking their dogs within the city proper will leash their animal, but head to any of our wonderful parks, and you’ll see tons of dogs off-leash. Not only is this a nuisance, but this type of behavior can also lead to a dangerous situation for both dog and owner as well as any random bystanders. We ALWAYS leash our dog-we have to as he’s a scent hound. When we are approached by dogs off-leash, inevitably their owners will say something along the lines of “don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.” That’s great-how do you know mine won’t? And I’m certainly not going to trust an unknown dog on a stranger’s say so. These owners have absolutely no control over their dogs, and as they run up and sniff, and bounce around my animal, how can they be absolutely certain that my dog won’t bite? They don’t know my dog. Not to mention the fact that these are animals, and as such, are subject to a certain amount of unpredictability. I don’t care how well these irresponsible owners think they know their pets-if an unleashed dog gets a wild hare up his butt to bite my dog, how is the owner going to stop it? And what if the situation should be reversed? An unleashed dog happily bounds up to my dog for a friendly sniff and for whatever reason Bishy decides to respond aggressively? Who’s at fault? My pet is leashed. We have also been at the park without Bishy when unleashed dogs have approached us-again, how do we know that dog is not aggressive? What if I happen to be a person who’s scared of dogs? What if that unleashed dog attacks me? There are children in these parks playing-what if a child oversteps its boundaries with an unleashed pet, and receives a bite, or worse?
Lest you think I am the “Dog Nazi,” we do let Bishy approach other dogs and vice versa, using good judgment & common sense. I am more apt to let him meet other leashed dogs, who appear happy & healthy, and with owners who seem friendly but careful. I am wary of owners who seem to be careless of their animal, not really paying attention to their animal’s body language or signals. I am also leery of unleashed dogs that approach us, their owners close at hand or some distance away, and that give off signals of uncertainty or caution. Having worked for many years as a veterinary assistant, I am comfortable around all kinds of animals in pretty much any situation, though I have experienced firsthand how unpredictable even the most docile pet can become given the right (or wrong) set of circumstances.
My own dog is a 115 pound puppy, and has not proven himself to be a biter. He is big, clumsy and drooly though, and can look pretty intimidating to little kids or people who don’t like or are scared of dogs. He also still does the puppy mouthing where he’ll grab your hand very gently with his mouth as a show of affection. We are working on breaking him of that habit, as I’m sure it could be quite alarming to some people. On our walks and park & pet store excursions, we are almost always approached by everyone we happen across. Not a lot of people around here have actually ever seen a bloodhound, and so he gets a lot of attention everywhere we go. (He has a big fan club! *g*) He loves to meet people as well as other dogs. We are always very careful to tell people that he’s kind of messy with the drool, and he’s very friendly & overly enthusiastic at times. We make certain we have a good hold on him, and put him in a sit stay before any friendly overtures are made towards him. As he’s gotten a bit older, he’s grown more accustomed to meeting strangers, and knows what we expect of him. He’s very good with little kids, and other dogs as well, though we supervise him continually, and keep a constant vigil on his behavior.
One of the most awesome things about Bishop is that he has this power to make anyone who sees him smile. You absolutely cannot look at this big, floppy cartoon character of a dog and not smile. It’s amazing to walk him and watch the reactions of everyone we pass. Even the grumpiest looking people will crack a grin when seeing our dog clumsily loping along.
BTW, I have some new pics of Bishy-Boo, but they haven’t made it out of the camera yet. Hopefully, within the next few days!
*happygrin* I love my dog.