a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Alienating the Neighbors

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Alienating the Neighbors

Well, we've managed to do it again. I've been trying to be good about always taking a clicker and goodies with me when we go for a walk, but then we hardly ever see other dogs on a leash in this neighborhood, and so I get lazy again and don't take anything. Plus today it was kind of dreary and drizzly, so what fools would be out walking their dogs, anyway?

Today, just as we were passing the house with a German Shepherd who lives in the garage (or at least barks there--perhaps he misheard what that room was to be used for), two dogs came down the other side of the street on leash. Tika starts to whine and yap and leap at the leash, so I tighten up on her leash and tell her as calmly as possible, "I don't think so." Well, the other dogs are not peacefully walking by--at least one of them, a large black probably Lab, is hauling at the leash in our direction and making his own racket, and then Tika's actions set Jake and Casey off on barking, all of which together--German Shepherd barking 10 feet away, me holding her firmly and trying to get her to lie down, Jake & Casey barking, and the other dog screaming obscenities at her from across the street, make her go completely apeshit. She thrashes and screams and sounds altogether like a 6-dog dogfight all by herself.

I'm trying to keep myself between me and her line of sight for the other dogs, and I can barely get her front end down and it takes all my effort; I'm starting to yell in casey and jake's faces to SHUT UP! to get them, at least, to be quiet.

And a lady in a bathrobe comes out the front door of the house 8 feet away and says, "Is there a problem?" Well, yes. I say, "Did I wake you up? I'm so sorry." And she comes back with some variant of "Is there a problem?" and I'm trying to hold onto Tika who is thrashing and shrieking, and I say something like, "I'm sorry, there were other dogs walking across the street and she got very excited." And she says, "My dog is very nervous" with some other words before and after it that I honestly can't hear, so I'm not sure whether she's telling me explicitly to please move out from in front of her house or what.

But the other dogs are finally out of sight, and I manage to get Tika into a down position, and she's heaving breaths and whining with each, still tense but now breathing instead of shrieking and spouting.

OK, so how many people did I manage to alienate with that episode? Everyone who has encountered me and Tika walking around the neighborhood where there's another dog in sight most likely thinks I'm an idiot dog owner and Tika is a nasty aggressive dangerous dog who shouldn't be allowed in public. No one has ever said that, but that might be what *I* was thinking if I saw something like that.

At least it was 10 in the morning, not 8 or so, when we sometimes walk.

Moral of the story--always always carry goodies and a clicker when you're walking an insane dog.

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