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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Grrr:mad:

Tessa and I were just minding our business, out for a walk in this freezing cold weather Alberta is having right now, when a freaking runner with his dog comes up from behind us. Tessa lunged, but I don't think she bit/made contact - there was no growling on her part, no barking, just a quick pull towards what I thought was just a person walking next to us. I pulled her back and realized that he also had a large dog, so Tessa pulled closer and I held on. The runner didn't even stop, just stepped slightly to the side with his dog, apologized and kept running by. I think I said "that's alright?" I should've yelled at him instead!:mad:

Meanwhile all I can think about is "what if Tessa had bit him and I didn't notice?", "what if she made contact with his dog and I didn't know it?", "what if she did make contact and he realizes it when he gets home and calls animal control?". I'm pretty sure she didn't as he would've said something/the dog would have yelped which didn't happen - he wouldn't have kept running if contact was made right? The whole situation has my anxiety disorder on high alert, it doesn't help that I have obsessive compulsive disorder (including driving OCD and fears of hurting others) so all I'm doing right now is obsessing about it which is upsetting me more. He's probably at home laughing about it:mad:.

I don't know what I'd do if something happened to her because I wasn't prepared, because I didn't prevent it, because this jack a** put her in danger of reacting with a bite.

I hate this runner for making me worry like this. I keep rethinking what happened in my mind, which is only making me worry more. I keep think what I could've done to prevent not knowing he was there. I did have my hood from my jacket up because it's cold but I could hear the dogs barking and other people who had walked by - that Tessa didn't even flinch at. The snow was crunching beneath my feet - but I didn't hear his foot steps, and I notice Tessa reacted to a couple of dogs across the road - but there was no notice this runner was behind us. She didn't react to him or his dog. At All.

Normally she would've reacted to the dog by stopping mid sidewalk and barking at it, which would have been my cue to move over, but it's like she didn't even know he was there until he was - she was just as startled as I was. No yell, no cough, I had no idea they were there until he was right there beside me. I had looked ahead at the area before we got there to see if there was going to be any issues, you know since any dogs are a training experience for Tessa and we need to be under threshold, and no one was around. I never even saw him running in the area adjacent.

Why couldn't he have just given a heads up? Or even just go around us? What would make him think running close to a large, strange dog with his dog would be a good idea? Tessa could've easily bit him or his dog thinking she was protecting me and we'd be in huge trouble. If I had known he was there, we would've crossed the street, or moved to the side to let them pass. UGH!

Sorry this is such a long rant, my nerves are just shot. Poor Tessa was so spooked and I'm so anxious that I'm going to get a call or visit from Animal Control...Did I mention I now HATE this guy?!:mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tessa is muzzle trained, for emergency uses. I wouldn't use it for every day walking because she's never aggressively lunged at anyone, as she is more fear reactive, even at the runner that startled us she reacted in more of startled "holy cow" way and moved forward towards him not a "I'm going to eat your face" lunge. I also don't take her to place where there is too much stimuli or dogs, it's too stressful for her. We walk strictly at odd hours for exercise, or in areas where dogs aren't common, unless we're training on our dog reactivity in which case we train in areas that are open have multiple escape routes. We have never had an issue like this, ever.

And no, I don't have any issue saying I have major dislike for the guy, he's a plain sidewalk hogging jerk. I've talked with a lot of the neighbours in my area and they've said they've had similar experiences with him. One said he actually knocked her down when he ran up behind her, and another said he ran into him and his wife when they were holding hands walking down the sidewalk. He doesn't own the sidewalk any more than the rest of us. If he had given notice he was there there would be no problem, Or if he had been polite enough to run on the other side of the sidewalk, or around people walking ahead, but he apparently doesn't care enough to.

I'm a runner too, and I know it's important to get your groove going and you don't want anyone to interrupt it, but I still have manners. If I see someone ahead I go around, I let them know I'm there, I change my route. Takes 5 seconds of my run and it saves me from upsetting or startling someone. What if I had been deaf? Special needs? What if Tessa had been really aggressive? Hopefully he learned something, but I doubt it.

I get that I shouldn't have gotten so upset, but I had been startled to the point of having an anxiety attack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Honestly if your dog is reactive to strangers in their space to the point of snapping at someone, I'd muzzle them, and to me if this was Cosmo, this instance would have been a big red flag and indicator my dog needs to be muzzled for their own and others safety. You are responsible for your dog, so it's unfair to me to be angry at a runner with their dog who is well mannered and in control. What the dude does to other people is irrelevant to this situation. Sidewalks aren't very big, so it should be common sense that someone may have to pass you closely on a sidewalk, and it's unfair to expect someone to move on the other side of the road every time they pass someone. What if there was someone else on the other side as well, where are they supposed to go to be the most curteous? Zipping around the road is unsafe for them.

I highly highly highly doubt, like I'm almost sure, that he won't talk to the authorities. Sounds like he just went on his way. Plus he didn't have any of your information. If I was him I'd honestly be annoyed at being snapped at and wonder why the dog doesn't have a muzzle.
Thank you for your perspective, but I'm not muzzling my dog unless I feel the need. I don't currently feel that's it's required. She isn't the type to 'snap' or bite a person. Does she move to put herself in front of me? yes. Has she ever snapped? no. I said, a month ago, that I worried about "what if she had..." even though I knew deep down she wouldn't have. What ifs are a part of my day to day life with my anxiety disorder. I make things worse in my head than they are in reality because of all the "what ifs". And yes, I do regret even bothering to vent on here - should have never posted I guess, but I was upset at the time and needed to get it out.

Also, yes I do expect common courtesy when you use a side walk and find it sad that so many are ok without it. I don't care what you are doing on that side walk, you need to be courteous to those who are walking vs if you are moving faster. I don't require you to go around, but a simple "Hey!" would have had me realize someone was behind me and we would have moved to increase Tessa's threshold. What if I was deaf? Old? Handicapped? Should people just be allowed to be rude because it's expected that manners have gone the way of the dodo?

I too run, and I have yet to have a moment when I have required to bulldoze through people with zero alert I'm there, actually I've never seen the need to bulldoze through people ever - particularly if I'm coming up behind them and they are walking a strange dog. I give a shout. If the person doesn't move their head, then I glance around for 5 seconds and look for an alternative, if there isn't one I slow down, also for 5 seconds, and pass them.

I also live in a very small area where people still have manners. I have never encountered an incident like this. Maybe I'm naive. FYI I ran into this person again, almost the same reasoning, only he came up on our front. I moved off the path onto the sidewalk and had Tessa stop and stay. He approached and stopped, asked why I did that, I explained that Tessa is fearful of life and needs space to be calm and explained if he wants to run by all is needed is a yell that he's there and we'd move. He agreed. Hopefully this will be a win win for us both.

I get that others may have a differing of opinion, good on you, but I had a particularly bad night A MONTH AGO and I need to vent my feelings. I have done so and moved on. Tessa had a slight set back because of the incident, but has moved on as well. Thanks for your opinions, but this thread is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Since no one is letting this thread die off, I'll respond to a few things.
First:
Good question. What if you were deaf? What would you expect the runner to do then? Yelling "Hey!" sure isn't going to work.
And you don't have to be deaf. A lot of people listen to music when they walk or run. If you'd had earbuds in listening to music with your hood up, no verbal warning would've reached you even if he'd given one.
As @Flaming said, even the slightest sound would make most dogs note you're there; knowing a lot of people who use their dogs as service animals I can say most are intone with even the slightest head tilt which would prompt a human response. But even runners slowing down would be nice.

I also wanted to add to that post, but it was too late, about what if I had a toddler that ran out and tangled the runner and his dog? or was afraid of large dogs? just slowing down, making a sound, or moving a little (the sidewalk is rather wide) would prevent anyone from getting hurt.

It seems to me that the dog may not be the only one in this partnership who is reactive and fear aggressive.
I agree. I am a reactive and if I was a dog, I would definitely say a little fear aggressive, though I doubt I'll ever bite anyone - but who knows:D. Maybe I should wear a muzzle lol.

Me and Tessa are very similar. Every day I do my best to prevent my own anxiety to bounce off of hers, and vice versa. We use each other's experience to work through. It's my own experience that allows me to understand what she must be feeling. Some people wouldn't have this unique understanding, sometimes it's a blessing, sometimes a curse.

Also yeah, if my dog tried to bite someone BECAUSE he was reactive I would certainly muzzle him in public. It's not cruel, its for others safety. I may not be able to predict others' actions. Children run up to Cosmo all the time, if he was bite reactive I certainly would't want the liability of him biting a child. It sounds like your dog bites when approached quickly, I'd be concerned about that.
Again she didn't try to bite anyone, her mouth never even opened, she did move toward the danger though, which we are working on a better response to move away instead. Also any dog can bite when startled, whether it be at a vet clinic, out on a walk, startled from sleeping, fast moving objects, Old dogs that have lost eye sight or hearing, etc. Should all dogs be muzzled? I'm not trying to sound angry or aggressive, but it is a good debate, maybe one for another thread. What about a sheltie that nips at a bike rider riding by? Or a heeler who attempts to herd passing children? Should they require muzzling too? Even though they are doing something that can be trained to be inhibited. Just a thought I've had.

As I said, I doubt Tessa would ever bite anyone but at the time I made this thread I was still running off of adrenaline and anxiety so I had a lot of "what ifs" running through my mind and the thread reflects this. I wish I never posted - lesson learned. I definitely sounded more dramatic in those few moments of posting and I regret that, I had had rough day, this incident occurred, and well I vented. And yes at the time I felt I was allowed to hate on the person who was also involved in making me feel this way - we all do it, but I don't truly wish him ill, I just hated that whole situtation. My bad, but please stop telling me I need to be more attentive and muzzle my dog.

As I've repeated, if I felt it was required I would. It is at this time that both the trainer we are working with and I feel that a muzzle is not required. She was startled, as was I. If ever I feel she is a danger to bite I will definitely muzzle her, I have no issues with muzzling when warranted, but it's been agreed with the people who have met and assessed my dog that it is not needed.

I have, however, taken the whole experience and applied it to training with Tessa. She is learning a default "side". I understand not every situation is possible to expect, but we will be as ready as possible.

and yes @TiggerBounce is correct, I do my general walking at odd hours or in places most people don't take their dogs. We do small, short, training at parks where there are people and other dogs, but we are always at a distance Tessa feels comfortable. She has done amazing in improvement since her first moment of reactivity, almost 2 years ago. She can now meet strange people and let them pet her, she also can walk down the same side walk as a strange dog - barring this one incident, I am proud of my dog's progress.

Can we get over it now and let this vent rest in peace? Please?
 
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