Know When To Walk Away

Silas’s favorite park in the UNIVERSE!! is actually a terrible park for dogs.

The paths are narrow, and there is either heavy underbrush or water on both sides of the trail.

Path

For example.

Those narrow trails make it really hard to meet people or dogs. They come around blind corners, and you have no choice (unless you get lucky and are in a rare clearing) but to meet them head on. This is setting dogs, especially, up for disaster. Let two dogs, even dogs who are decent with other dogs, walk directly toward each other in a confined environment, and somebody is likely to react.

It took me a long time to learn to trust my instincts and to not worry about other people’s feelings in situations like this. If I’m meeting your dog head on, and he’s not 100% friendly (by my judgment, not yours), I’m going to do what I think is necessary. Silas is on the skittish-but-okay side with other dogs, and I’d like him to not collect evidence that other dogs are terrible.

Tuesday we met a little Schnauzer. When we were still quite a distance away little Schnauzer let out a little bark. Just one. And I instantly turned around and walked as fast as my legs would carry me back to the last trail junction, where Silas and I could wait for them to pass. (Bless Silas’s heart, he was so good. He walked right away, stayed with me without stopping, and then stood with me on the “scary” trail.)

It probably hurt Schnauzer “mom’s” feelings or embarrassed her. I know how women are. But I didn’t have time to explain, to blame the design of the park. I didn’t think her dog was going to attack Silas. We weren’t afraid of him. But you have to do what you have to do, and sometimes avoidance is really the best thing.

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8 thoughts on “Know When To Walk Away

  1. Been there & done that — so many times! I always look for places to walk now with lots of wide open spaces and the ability to spot dogs in the distance; sometimes it is unavoidable, though. Le sigh!

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  2. Yep – do this all the time. Who gives a rip about confusion or hurt feelings? I prefer to be in charge of greetings and ensure they’re always good experiences. Besides, if one dogs gets grumpy, because my dog is the biggest, the trend seems to be to blame him, so I’d rather not open up that risk.

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  3. My apartment neighbours must think I am SUCH A COW because we will turn around, zig zag across streets and duck into alleys to avoid meeting them and their dogs. In fact, one even tries to flag us down, calling that her dog is friendly. Finally, I ran into her one day sans dog and I explained that mine are friendly too, but Felix is AWFUL at leash greetings. No apologies, no guilt. We’re doing what our dogs need us to do and that, my friend, is something to be proud of.

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  4. I agree, the dogs’ comfort and safety come first, people can get over their feelings. But a dog may have a hard time getting over a bad encounter. My younger beagle is leash reactive and we are often seen turning around going the other way if I see other dogs coming towards us (some around here are known to be off leash which makes matters much worse).

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  5. I’ve reached the point where I really don’t care what someone else thinks about me or my dogs. I am doing what is best for my dog and that is what matters to me.

    Good for you for standing up for Silas.

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