|Blogs > RedheadedMedStd > The Roller Coaster - My Life|
My Attack Dog
My Attack Dog
My dog is in my opinion non-intimidating. She is a 35 lb. mutt and mostly looks like a beagle with ears that stand up instead of flop over. I know I'm biased, but it's not like she is a Pit Bull or a Doberman or even a German Shepard (sorry Tills). She has maybe barked a dozen times since I have owned her from 6 weeks old. I guess the only way in my opinion that she could even remotely be considered threatening is when you walk by her, she lunges at you cause she wants you to pet her. She's usually on a leash so I can easily hold her back rather than have people be frightened by her.
At almost 2 years old, most people say she is a very well-trained dog. She is just an attention freak. Lizzie always wants you to pet her and focus the majority of your first 10 mins. solely on her. She does have a tendency to jump on people, which is a habit I am training her to not do. But all in all, she gives most people a dang toothache (she's soooo sweet).
I usually never let her off the leash. When she was a puppy and even up to last summer she would readily take off after people across the street to have them go pay attention to her and it scared the H-E-double hockey sticks out of me. So she has been back on a leash ever since. Our street has light to moderate traffic and she has never had to play chicken with an oncoming car as my neighbors dog has which is of great relief to me. There are few and far between occasions when I will let her off her leash.
One, training. I am training and retraining some things I find undesirable (like the jumping) or I want her to learn (heeling with no leash on). She is off the leash when playing fetch at the park given there is no one around that she can run to and "visit", the same is true for when she gets let out to go to the bathroom. The only other time she is let off the leash is a post-walk tradition. I trained her to run from the corner of our block to our apartment building to get out excess energy. She will run over to the big tree in our yard and not move, until I call her. And she NEVER runs to people when she is doing this. She has gotten publicly whooped for doing that one a few too many times.
She is a fast dog and thinks she can somehow, someday, catch a squirrel. Sure, uh huh. She always dashes to the tree in our yard to see if she can get a squirrel and to wait for me to get to the apartment. Mind you, she is only maybe 500 feet away, and never out of my eyesight.
This evening, because it was so nice, I decided to walk Lizzie around sunset which now is getting closer to 8-8:30pm because of Daylight Savings Time. We did our normal hour walk and at the end, as traditional, I let her off the leash. It was getting kinda dark, so I didn't see the guy in dark clothes walking by the bus stop. The first thing I noticed was his 70's tube socks pulled up to his eyeballs. He was probably in his 60's and had an accent, I think it was Indian. I had headphones on and was jammin' away to Destiny's Child when I saw a guy nearly jump or half-fall into the street by my apt. building. Now I know my dog, she didn't go near the guy. She ran to her tree to see if she could get a squirrel, didn't stopped and probably looked at him and wagged her tail.
The guy meanwhile after nearly jumping into the street, yelped loudly and I thought he had tripped and just barely caught himself. He was standing in the street closest to traffic on the other side of the parked cars and was standing very still. I heard his half-shout and thought he might be hurt, so I took my headphones off and strode quickly in his direction. He crossed the street before I got to him and I heard him yell a "Godda*&it!" as he made his way. I looked and saw Lizzie, wagging her tail, standing under the tree, looking at me, just like she was supposed to.
I asked the guy if he was ok and he must've noticed the leash in my hand in the fading light cause he said something to the effect of, "Your dog attacked me!" He wasn't scared or hurt, he was just mad. I apologized to him, telling him that I wouldn't have let her off her leash if I had seen him (I wouldn't!). He got loud again insisting that my dog jumped on him and that she was dangerous and she should be on the leash. I apologized again, saying I was very sorry, but stating in a calm voice that she is trained to run under the tree and stay there til I get there so there was no way she could've jumped on/attacked him. He yelled something about how I was an irresponsible girl and that I should be reported to the police. He was doing this in a loud enough voice so that all the neighborhood could hear at 9 pm.
Now, I know, some people are very afraid of dogs. They may have been attacked severely at some point in their lives or had a comparatively traumatic experience with dogs that may make them nervous or fearful around them. I know that some people just plain old don't like them. I KNOW that my dog did not go near that guy. I watched her run to her tree and stay there. The guy just yelled at me to make a scene. I understand some dog racing in your direction is/could be a scary situation, especially a bigger dog.
Lizzie is one of the least intimidating dogs you will find. She is friendly to a fault, over-eagerm and, happy all the time. This guy did this probably because he had a bad day and decided I was an easy target, but I resent that! I apologized twice and realizing he wasn't going to be consoled, simply took her inside. I wasn't about to start yelling with him on the street, after all, I saw my dog, I watched her from the moment I let her off her leash to the moment she got into the building.
My question is, should I have done something different like put her on the leash and introduced them? Or was what I did the right decision? Is there some alternative I haven't thought of in the 47 mins. since the incident? I would appreciate your comments on this one.