I walk dogs. This is the story of a dilemma I faced walking a dog I have known for years. As a matter of fact, I know so many of the residents in that neighborhood that I have attended parties there and several of the neighbors are also my clients.
So, there we were, a while back on a Saturday morning, returning to my client dog’s home after a walk. We were about to turn into the dog’s street when along came a UPS truck that turned the other way. I heard barking so I turned around and looked up. A young dog was chasing the truck (see photo of Canadian dog, Slammer, demonstrating what a running dog looks like) and I knew that dog had been “trained” on an electric (shock) collar to stay in the unfenced front yard when outside alone so I wondered what was going on.
The dog was outside the perimeter of his front yard, chasing the truck in the street and getting closer to a potentially dangerous situation. The driver was yelling. I knew I couldn’t do much with one dog leash already in my hand (and didn’t know the running dog very well) so I literally ran up to that dog’s front door and knocked madly. When the owner came to the door, I hastily explained the situation and suggested he call his dog right away.
Was I shocked when the man said his dog wasn’t wearing his electronic (shock) collar and often chased the UPS truck. He was not worried.
And then. . . .
The UPS truck stopped for a delivery and I approached, suggesting that the driver carry dog biscuits to toss for dogs in the future, thus allowing his getaway.
Eventually the truck left the neighborhood, the dog returned to his front yard and I walked my canine client home, heart still beating rapidly.
I was still a bit upset.
What would you have done?
In the first place, I don’t endorse electric (shock) collars or fences because there are less expensive, quicker and more dog-friendly ways of keeping a dog in the yard than through the use of shock.
Secondly, the dog was smart enough to either know he was not wearing the collar that would shock him or he was willing to endure the shock in order to chase the truck.
And finally, I was disappointed in the owner’s reaction to my concern about the safety of his dog running after a vehicle in the street. Other cars might swerve to avoid a collision and cause damage.
Needless to say, we adults are always role models for children and the entire episode was not an example of mature adult behavior for any kids to learn from, much less for safety reasons.
This happened months ago and I still cannot get the episode out of my mind. I would probably do the same thing again even now that I know how ‘smart’ the dog is and how often he runs into the street after vehicles.
I wish it had never happened and hope it never does again. However, I am not holding my breath. What would you have done?
(Photo courtesy Lazyriver Photos)
(This article first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com on 27 March 2014.)