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Grr! Had the worst dog interaction yesterday!

 

My little dog Cricket is only 20 pounds. When she first came from rescue in June, she was scared of everything, but especially people and large dogs. She's made huge strides, and will now typically meet small dogs with glee and large dogs (on leash) with some trepidation but overall hope for friendship. Her rule is, "Slow is safe." Fast approaches, especially by large dogs, trigger her fear response.

 

She also loves to "flush" chipmunks and squirrels, so I've been taking her to a local wooded park to run. The rules are that dogs can be off leash IF in control and in sight of their owners and IF not allowed to approach other people who might not want to be approached. Since we started to walk in this park, we've had several pairs or groups of large dogs come at us. This causes Cricket to try to run away (on her leash), which triggers chase mode in the other dogs. So, I'm bound to my dog in the middle of a group of big dogs who are swarming around my feet.

 

Generally, as people with big dogs approach, I call out, "Can you hold your dog!?" and about half the time the owners do, and it's fine. About 1/4 of the time, they blithely say, "Oh, he's friendly" as their dog ignores them and continues to charge at us. The other 1/4 of the time they owners are so obliviously out of contact with their dogs that they don't even know there's a situation. So, when owners aren't in control, I just lift my dog up, which prevents the tangled mess of dogs around my feet.

 

Yesterday, I saw two women with three large dogs (Newfie mix, random mix, Rottweiler). Made my request, and one owner held two of the dogs. Rottie came toward me and actually jumped up (putting his paws on me) to try to get at my dog. Now... I know dog body language, and this dog wasn't being aggressive; he wanted me to put Cricket down so he could sniff her. But, I was stuck there managing this big dog and holding my frightened tiny dog while the woman who owned him made no attempt to get him away from me. And... seriously... a stranger's Rottweiler was jumping up on me!

 

As she came toward me, I said, "I can't control my dog and three 100-pound dogs at the same time!" We got into a heated verbal exchange about the leash laws, and when I pointed out that the signs said NOT to let your dog approach strangers, she just went ballistic. She screamed, "You're a loser!" a bunch of times and called me a *itch and yelled several "*uck yous!" flipping me off... and concluded with a loud, "SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!"

 

I'm SO frustrated! People like this make me crazy - there's no rational way to discuss the situation or explain anything, and I suspect even if this woman heard a trainer explain why her dog's behavior wasn't suitable to a public park, she'd just swear at him and go about her merry way.

 

She told me: "If you can't handle this park, then don't come here." I'm super angry at both her and myself, because I feel like that's what I'm going to have to do - stop going somewhere I love because there are idiots who refuse to think about anyone else. It's not like I'm asking for them to keep their dogs on leash all the time - holding them for the minute or two required for us to pass each other on the path would be fine.

 

On the other hand: "Shut your pie hole!" No one has ever said that to me before. :)

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Uggghh people are the worst. We walk in a leash required park, and people still get in arguments with me over whether or not their dogs should be leashed. I've decided it's our right to use the park and follow the rules. I'm not letting people who can't follow the rules take that away from us.

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I'd report her to whoever runs the park. If she's done this to you and your dog she's likely done it to others. She doesn't deserve to be allowed to use the park. Period.

 

ETA: I'm sure you don't have her name, but you can certainly give a good description. Chances are others have also complained about her.

 

J.

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I agree with reporting the incident and the 'perpetrator'. Animal control, sheriff, police, whomever (whoever?).

 

In another post, someone suggested taking a photo on a cell phone. Obviously, you can't take one during the chaos, but perhaps in the aftermath, take a photo of the dog and owner.

 

Carry bear spray. Protect your dog.

 

And, I am sorry, I know it was a horrible experience, but as I was reading it, I had to chuckle about how you described your conversation with the other woman. One of those beyond absurd situations.

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Report the woman. Taking a photo is a great idea as well, if you can manage it in a moment when she doesn't see you doing it. Also, document in detail, with times, every incident you have with her if there are more of them. If the park management doesn't do anything about it you can go to the police if you have a detailed record of her verbal attack and her dog's unruly behavior.

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I'm mad for you! So incredibly stupid, irresponsible and rude. :( I mean, not to mention your scared little dog, but who thinks it's ok for their 100+ lb dog to put it's paws on a stranger? People are crazy.

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About 30 years ago I was at an Ian Dunbar seminar (he is a well known dob behaviourist) He gave a similar scenario and asked me what I would do if someone approached with a large Rottie with it's hackles up and they said "My dog is friendly" When asked what I would do I said, "Mine is not so don't come near". I would still say that unless I KNEW that my dog was bombproof! I simply don't trust other's opinions when it comes to dog behavior-guess I've been around the public as dog owners too much

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Sorry this happened to you and Cricket. What a #*&^$@!

 

I'm with the rest who suggest reporting the incident to authorities. There's a good chance Animal Control would make some passes through for a while. I don't know exactly what happened in a similar park locally, but we noticed the ACO driving through and he stopped to talk to us, asking if we'd run into any problems because there'd been reports.

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The funny thing about people who 'know it all about dogs' when in actuality they have a monster dog is that they typically don't care what anyone says even if they take their dog to a trainer.

 

I pay good money to train with a highly requested dog trainer in my area and I have heard people telling her how she is wrong that the dog jumping all over people needs serious training. They always get upset and tell her how their dog isn't there because they need manners, but because they want their untrained dog to do agility. Those are also usually the people that want to immediately start using equipment with no foundations and then get upset that beginning agility is a lot of obedience.

 

I hate people like that. They also make all dog owners look bad because they usually think their untrained dog should be allowed everywhere.

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Oh my gosh! That is freaky scary. I can't imagine Jade and myself in a situation like that. As others have said, try to take a picture, report her, whatever it takes. This is exactly why Jade and I could never go to a dog park or even a heavily traveled trail to walk on, which makes me sad. And Gentle Lake I love love love your saying it made me have a true belly laugh. There is so much truth in it. I have owned or had dogs my whole life and have no mentality that I am in expert in any part of owning a dog. and yep Breathe!

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I've found that a cell phone video of the dogs in action generally works. I was having trouble on the local bike trail with a man who was walking a pack of Labs and hounds, all off leash, totally under control. There was a strict 4 ft max leash law on the bike trail. These dogs were off leash and knocked me off my bike several times. I had scrapes and bruises. I finally managed to get my cell out quickly and get video of the man and his dogs. I let him know they were being forwarded to the police. Never saw him again.

 

Unfortunately, I've had many, many run ins with fools like that. It is for that reason that I basically don't walk my dogs in public. The rare exception is taking one along when I am riding my bike. If I have any doubts about a dog I see coming down the trail, I am ready to take action. People just don't want to take responsibility or be courteous to one another anymore. I've actually heard of people carrying tasers to fend off other people's out of control dogs.

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