Foolish moves

This is a Weimaraner but not the one from yesterday.  I shot this little pup several years ago, what a sweetie.  

Yesterday I was out with Elsa for a walk.  We headed out very early because the weather forecast called for heat.  I was glad we had because even at such an early hour it was warm when we got out of the Xterra.  We headed first to the field, it is a fenced in baseball field that many people use for free off leash time.  As we went around a corner I caught a glimpse of a mans head and heard him yell a dogs name.  I forget the dogs name now because I was so concerned by the whole ordeal.  He was angry and in a panicked tone called the dog again.  I stopped dead in my tracks as they came into full view.

A man around my age with two weimaraners.   A very large and over weight one and the one he was trying to get hooked up.  After he got the first one leashed he then moved much more calmly to hook up the big boy.  He moved in close to the play structure and away from the path.  I was a little taken back as I thought he would have shouted "there friendly," being that they'd been off leash.  He did not, he pulled his dogs in as we passed.  He was saying "good girl," to the one he'd been concerned with as she lunged and very aggressively barked at Elsa.

Elsa is very cautious about greeting other dogs.  She is not a typical youngster who throws herself at just anyone.  She lowered her head as we walked by and just looked up as if to say "hi guys," and she got a full and clear message.  Her tail immediately dropped and she moved away quickly.  She was still on leash of course as we headed to our field, I can't imagine having her off leash at that point. I never said a word to the man as we walked by.  What I did give him was a long and telling stare.

Honestly?  He had that dog off leash on a path around a corner.  Really?  I was really mad and kept checking over my shoulder as we left the area.  I have worked very, very hard at making sure that Elsa does not have a bad experience before she is ready to deal with it.  When the dog did lunge at her I quickly kicked my "no big deal," mode into gear.  I calmly said "we don't care about that" in a happy normal conversational voice and she was immediately relaxed and okay because Mom was.  Had I reacted in a shocked manner, pulling her leash tight and speeding up my pace she would have gotten a frightened response and reacted accordingly.

As we finally got to our field I checked and checked again that he was no where in sight.  Elsa had her fun and upon heading out I spotted him near the structure again but with his leashes on.  If someone other than me had been walking down the path at a quick pace and not been paying attention it could have turned out very badly.  Just the owners behavior itself explained how his dog typically responds to other dogs.  Dogs like this should NEVER be off leash in public.  Especially somewhere someone is liable to walk by at any moment.  Yes I was brewing, stupid, stupid, stupid.

I just don't understand the risk.  I really don't.  If you know that your dog is aggressive, why would you have it off leash in public?  Specifically in an area where you cannot see other people coming by with dogs?  Leash aggression is one thing but real dog/dog aggression is quite another.   Lots of dogs are really friendly but can display leash aggression. This man showed by his behavior that his dog was indeed aggressive.  There is just no excuse for this type of behavior and he and his dogs are simply an incident waiting to happen.  Which as we all know will be no accident.