Okay, so yesterday we decided that it was time for Elsa's big "off leash" day. We have taken the dogs down to the canyon for years and years. It is somewhere that they can run off leash which I believe very strongly that every dog should do. Being in such cramped quarters as Southern California it is not easy to find a place to sneak away and release the hounds but the canyon has been pretty good. We rarely run into anyone, even on the weekends and this was Friday so we should be good right?
The moment came and my husband asked if I was ready? I nodded and he unhooked Elsa; she looked around a bit and was off like a wild woman after her big brother. This canyon is Luke's stomping grounds, he loves it down there. As they reached the end of the path I gave it a go "Elsa.....COME." To my surprise she jammed on her brakes and came flying. Treat, praise, treat, praise and she was off again.
We walked for sometime, Elsa following Luke's every footstep. It truly is wonderful to have an older dog to show a pup the way. I continued to call her and even when I called Luke she came. Treating is essential and it's got to be good treats. Something worth dropping the running and craziness for. I have to say that they looked amazing running down there, they both matched the scenery color to a T, beautiful.
One of the paths had a huge mud mess that was impassable so I said, "that's good, let's go." We turned around to see a large dog heading our way, he was very far int he distance. As far as he was I could see his tail held high along with his ears. We leashed both of the dogs and I panicked. I did not see an owner so I reached into my pouch and got out my pepper spray. When it comes to my dogs I am like a Momma Grizzly.
The came at an even pace, steady and never lowering his tail, eyes or ears. Not something you want to see with no owner behind it. Finally we saw a glimpse of a person, I yelled "call your dog." He was so far that I thought he probably couldn't hear me. The dog got closer and closer, Luke was now on his tip toes seeing that this dog was clearly challenging from the get go. Elsa was barking and nervous, rightly so. The dog approached Luke first and they stood shoulder to shoulder frozen. The dogs hair was up the entire length of it's body, I had my spray ready. I carry a pepper spray for these type of moments and I am not afraid of using it.
My husband yelled out to the man, he yelled something back and continued his snail pace our way. Really? It was like he was out for a Sunday walk but slower, like Tilley slow. I then yelled as I was getting very mad, the dog kept looking at Elsa and there was no way I wanted him near her. The veered off and peed on a bush, good at least it was a male. Good for Elsa, not so good for Luke. Luke is so great with dogs but if a male pushes him he will not back down and this male was pushing. He attempted to come my way and I yelled at him so he went back to Luke. They stood again frozen, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone threw the first punch.
The guy got within yelling distance and we called to him again to call his dog. "He doesn't really listen." Really? Is he sh#$%ing me? My husband and I looked at each other realizing that we had to deal with this, the owner had nothing. So at his crawl speed he continued to get closer and closer. The dog came over to Elsa and I could not back him away. I hoped that the fact of her being a girl was a good thing and it was, he sniffed her, postured and finally backed off when I yelled and postured back at him. I didn't want to use the spray if I didn't have to, I never want to spray a dog and my dogs would get the fall out of it.
The dog returned to Luke and my husband tried just walking away with him but the boys set up for more posturing. I could see that it was just another second until Luke lost it. He went after the dog backing him off. Luke is a force to be reckoned with if he let's her go. But at the age of 11 I do not want him getting into it; especially with a dog that looked like maybe a Shepherd/Akita mix. The guy was now finally close enough and so that he could hear what was going on and I'm sure see the rage of my husband, he called his dog and low and behold it went to him. He said again "he doesn't listen," and I screamed at him "then don't have him off leash." We had a few words and he slowly sloughed off. Honestly.
We let the guy get good and far away before even considering letting the pooches off again. It is very important to always end on a positive, both for the dogs and for us. Elsa was fine, it may have shaken her a bit seeing her big brother being so tough but she was fine, still I wanted to end on a fun note and we let them rip once again. I had my camera with me and wish that I would have thought to take his picture and he slithered away, but I was too wrapped up in my dogs protection.
I did get lots of pics of the two blondies having fun and it was a perfect day of fun and obedience, for us at least. A tiny glitch of stupidness, it boggles my mind how stupid some people really are.