I've watched the Strava posts that are labeled "Don't Worry He's Friendly" and then the picture of the dog bite on their leg.
When Gus and I were out in Grill Preserve on our fake run on Sunday, he only wanted to bomb down the down hills, well it is his time he gets to decide.... We ventured across the Polly Coon Bridge - the weaving through the barriers stumped him! And we were in to Grills Sanctuary. Very cool.
Yes, he is off leash until the moment he stops because he sees something or I stop him because I see or hear something. He stays put (for now) and waits for me to hook the leash to his harness. He sticks close to me and doesn't get to far ahead. I'm a little lax with behind because I expect to see people coming at us not behind us, but still he gets in his smells and uses the space to open up and run a bit faster.
We were alone on the windy trails until the Tomaquag Bridge. Then he stopped, in the middle of the bridge (well I had to convince him he did not really NEED to bomb through the muddy water and it would be OK to go over the water - it was quite the debate). I knew him stopping that meant he spied something. Another dog. Shit. The owner was yelling "He's friendly. He's Friendly." I yelled back "He's NOT" the guy was shocked and hurried to get his dog who was romping around in the water and then coming up to investigate this new dog on this narrow bridge. This owner had no collar or leash on his dog and eventually caught up.
Gus, is unpredictable, to say he isn't friendly isn't true, introduced calmly he is friendly. But to yell "HE'S UNPREDICTABLE" is incredibly long and hard to understand. The fact that Gus is on a harness makes him less iffy than when he just has a collar around his neck. I mean really would YOU want to meet another person with a collar around your neck attached to your person and the other person didn't. (Get your mind out of the dungeon)
The pups met, no big deal. Not a hair raised on either's back but I ushered Gus over the bridge swiftly. He only has 4 teeth left and the likelyhood of him actually trying to bite is fairly low. BUT feeling threatened I'd resort to biting. And the dogs feed off their guardian's emotions, so if I'm stressed he gets anxious. (I'm also part of the problem?)
I'm sure this guy was like what the hell is this girl (or insert your own expletive here) doing on trails with an unfriendly dog... so be it... I do remember having a few words with a biker on the JB Hudson who tossed his bike at the dogs when I was out with Diesel, Sage, and Gizmo and the three of them got a little packish. Taking three dogs to the woods wasn't exactly smart on my part either. I have learned my lesson also.
It really annoys me when people yell "S/he's friendly" about their dog. Well probably most of the time but who knows. If you are going to let your dog off leash s/he needs to be under your control. With Gus I trust him just enough that he won't run off, but I do need to stay on alert and not go places were there are a lot of people at an off time. With Jax he is shocker collar trained. As medieval as that sounds, it was the only way to get him to pay attention and not chase vehicles or go into the dunes at the beach (as two examples). It was becoming a yelling contest where I think he would see just how loud we could yell at him. Anyhow, Dave takes him out on the more technical trails (Sammy Cs, Secret Trail, etc) in Burlingame for 5 - 7 miles. Jax sticks with Dave and after the initial training he's only had to shock him once or twice. Jax knows what's expected he also knows whats more fun... he makes the correct choice, and if he doesn't he is reminded. We both think this isn't the option for all dogs, however for this one, it was the perfect option.
So that's a long rambling blather about dogs on trails and their guardians. Those that don't pay attention to their surroundings are ruining it for those of us who do.
I'm sorry there are assholes out there that have bitten several of you. I am sure if you cross paths with Gus and I or Dave and Jax, there won't be biting. Hopefully just a curious dog on the end of a leash, and a runner going on his merry way down the trail, unscathed.
Beth always trying to be the responsible dog guardian....