We love our walks. They have been great for us physically, mentally and emotionally as well. Sometimes I just need to get out of my own head and walking helps me do that. Walking also helps with Petal’s behavior. She gets to burn some of her endless energy and seeing and hearing other dogs on a daily basis has helped tremendously with her manners.
Thursday’s walk was a little rough, however. But before I tell you about that you should know that we’re both fine. I’m fine and so is Petal.
Thursday morning, during our usual morning walk, Petal’s thick and long collie coat literally saved her butt when a loose dog attacked from behind. We were walking down the sidewalk through a neighborhood we’ve walked through many times before with no issues whatsoever. Thursday was different. As we walked I noticed a loose dog on the opposite side of the street. The dog was running around the driveway of its home, looking happy to be out in the sunshine. He/she looked like a well behaved dog, staying in its yard and not wandering. I didn’t feel any need to turn around, we were at a safe distance from the other dog, it was with its owner and from afar it showed no desire to leave its yard. Still, I wanted to prevent Petal from barking at this dog or pulling on her leash. I asked her to sit and wait at my heel while I adjusted her leash, making it shorter. She did so perfectly and then walked very politely at my heel, her eyes locked on me with perfect focus despite the loose dog she had seen. I was so proud of her and praising and treating her like crazy. As we got closer it looked like the dog had gone back inside the house. I felt we were safe to keep going. Petal was behaving perfectly and the other dog had vanished, possibly into the house.
We walked past the house, a whole street between us and the house, minding our own business. Suddenly I see a black flash and hear snarling from behind, before I could react the dog was biting Petal’s back legs. I started yelling, the dog moved to the front, ready to go for the face and I yelled louder, which seemed to make the dog hesitate and Petal’s face was not bit. The dog’s owner called the dog over and crossed the street to meet his dog half way. He took his dog back to the house, said a simple, “Sorry about that!” And I watched as the dog struggled to spit out a huge chunk of Petal’s fur.
He did not put his dog in the house.
He did not leash his dog.
He did not ask me if I was alright or if Petal was alright.
We got away from that house as quickly as we could and then I did a thorough check of Petal. No broken skin, no scratches, no tenderness. She was fine. But had she been another breed of dog, had she had less fur or been a smaller dog, I don’t think we would have been so lucky.
Petal, for the past couple of years, has had issues with loose dogs. I’ve talked about this on the blog before. They make her nervous and/or jealous when she sees them running around with no leash while she is confined to one. I have been working with her on this issue for awhile now and I’m so proud to say she has made a lot of progress. This event proved that as Petal did not loose her cool, not one time, not even for a little bit.
This loose dog jeopardized this progress and more importantly our safety. I do not blame the dog though, I blame the owner. His/her inconsiderate owner pissed me off. If your dog has an issue with other dogs, keep them on a leash. If you are not diligently watching your dog, keep them in the house or on a leash. Even though me and my dog were clear across the street and I had Petal on a leash, I still took the time to stop and shorten her leash and to encourage her to be on her best behavior to avoid any conflict. And she was! She was perfectly behaved and did not bait or taunt this dog at all. She didn’t even fight back when she got attacked. She didn’t cower or hide, that’s for sure, instead she stood in front of me and gave the dog her warning look, but she did not fight back.
While I’m still shocked and a little angry with this irresponsible owner, I am so proud of Petal and so grateful for her thick coat!
Despite what happened Thursday, we still love our walks.