I’m not quiet when I walk Sampson and Delilah.
If you’re walking with me and hoping to enjoy the quiet of nature and scenery like
You may want to choose another walking partner.
My whole purpose of walking with my dogs is to interact with
In order to do this, I talk to them and at times I need to call them. In other words I’m very loud.
So when I catch someone unaware it surprises me, I mean sound really carries in our little neck of the woods.
We were taking our walk on Sunday when I noticed someone ahead of me on an adjacent trail. I called the dogs to me and waited, watching.
From the distance we were at I couldn’t tell who it was. Then all of a sudden I saw a brown dog with an orange collar come into the picture.
Ah, it’s Brady and one of his moms I thought. So I let the dogs go, and started walking towards them.
This was a big mistake.
The dog in question was not Brady at all.
The dogs were fine with the other dog but as soon as I realized my faux pas, I started walking towards them calling my dogs as I walked. As I got closer I could see a woman holding her dog, while telling my dogs to “Go.”
My dogs did. They came back and I hooked them up, then shouted over my apologies.
“I’m so sorry, I saw your dog off-leash and assumed it would be okay.”
“Are you speaking?”
“Yes, I said, I’m super sorry, I saw your dog off-leash and assumed it would be okay to allow them to say hello.”
“She wears a mask, because sometimes she doesn’t like other dogs, not all dogs, just some.”
Let me remind you all of what ASSUME means.
Yes, I felt like a complete ass. Here is her poor dog, in the woods wearing a muzzle and the two galloping goofs are rushing over to say hello.
I’m going to make another assumption right now. That assumption is you’ve read Suzanne Clothier’s article He Just Wants To Say “Hi.” If you haven’t read this amazing article, take the time to do so, if you don’t have the time, bookmark the page or print it off and stick it in your pocket for future reading. It is a must read for every single dog owner.
I. Kid. You. Not.
And I want to thank Pamela Douglas Webster again for sharing the article. I cried when I read the article, thinking of the times I corrected my dog for reacting like a dog. I also printed it off to put with my dog material and I intend to make at least one copy to carry with me, for sharing purposes.
That article sprang to mind as this woman and I shouted back and forth across the trails. I thought of her poor dog and the frustration and fear her dog must feel, being muzzled and unable to let another dog know that she wants to be left alone.
And then of all the other dog owners who will misunderstand and misread the signals their dogs are sending to them. Other dog owners who have consulted with professional dog trainers.
I did. The first time Delilah reacted to a dog, we went back to class. I worked with her on reactivity and as I worked her, I really started watching just exactly when and what she reacted to.
Yes, she was selective in her reactions. Dogs who are rude, or misbehaving are the dogs she snipes at. She’s letting them know she doesn’t care for their behavior.
The problem is, that many owners misunderstand her ‘reactions’ as aggression and I have to be careful. I can’t have her reacting to a dog whose owner is not going to understand what’s going on.
Have you read the article? What do you think? Is it a reactive dog, an aggressive dog, a fearful dog or a dog with normal expectations of how other dogs should behave?