Control, under control.

                                                       Only under control.

"Heel, ahhhhh, NO, I said heel," was what I heard coming up behind us.  After having a quick look over my shoulder and noticing that there was a woman walking a Dalmatian, I heard this commotion.  I looked again to judge their distance and speed.  We had a few minutes so I calmly  moved Luke over to my right side.  Luke and I were just finishing up our walk when we were subjected to this ridiculous display of training gone wrong.  She continued with her useless words which obviously meant nothing to her dog.  Did she think that all the words made it look like her dog was trained?  Perhaps. 

When I am out in public with Luke; I am uber cautious.  He is old and frail and it doesn't take a whole lot to knock him over.  So the sight of an unleashed dog sends me into my protective Mother Grizzly mode; it is my job and I take it very seriously.  I certainly do not want to hear someone's measly attempts at getting control of their unleashed dog coming up from behind us.  But, there we were with exactly this happening; and I was growing angrier by the moment.  The owner of this poor dog continued to bellow orders which he clearly did not understand.  He most definitely was not heeling; I'm not sure if she even understood what the word meant. 

I talk about leash/off-leash a lot and this was most definitely one of those leash  moments.  The woman had no control over her dog.   They got close enough that Luke could now hear the woman yelling and he looked around to see what was going on.  He stopped for a moment when he saw the dog; but I coaxed him along so we could finish our walk.  I could literally feel my own posture changing as they got close enough to touch us.  Honestly, if you have no control over your dog KEEP IT ON A LEASH.  Bottom line, really easy to understand.  As they passed us her dog wandered closer and closer requiring a laser beam stare from me directed at the owner.  She brushed it off saying "I know you want to say hi to that dog, HEEL, AHHHHHHH, NOOO, HEEEEEEL."  Really?

They passed us and moved on towards the street.  Yep, she was crossing the street off-leash as well.  Her dog started smelling the ground as she headed across the street yelling "heel."  The dog finally lifted it's head and followed her across the street and onto the path on the other side.  Endangering your dog's life like this is just stupid.  I am never a fan of off leash on or nearby a street. 

When I was in Oregon recently I noted that many of the parks and beaches state that dogs must be on-leash or  under direct control, which means within sight and responsive to commands.  When we were at the beach I saw both on-leash and off-leash dogs under control, nice.  Off-leash does not always mean that your dog should be running around willy nilly, doing whatever they please and not listening.  Off-leash should mean under control unless they are contained securely in your own yard.  If your dog is not reliable off-leash then they should NEVER be off. 

If they are in training, then get the training accomplished before taking off the leash. 

When others fuel the fire.

How many times have you run into a stranger or friend who bring out the worst in your dog?  Thankfully I don't too often anymore because most of my friends know my rules but strangers are a different thing entirely.  Of course people don't mean to create problems but their lack of understanding as far as dogs are concerned is the real issue.  We met a few of these folks on the weekend; they were really very nice but my gosh.  Trying to undo what they are doing can be a challenge.  Being direct, calm and polite is the best route to take. 

It was another hot weekend here is Southern California.  When I woke up yesterday morning I really wanted to hit the beach.  Being that it is still closed to dogs during midday hours we had to leave early.  At least we are allowed on the beach early in the morning or in the evening.  I really hate when dogs are simply not allowed at any point.   So we were up and gone early and as we got closer to the beach I could see the fog; there was a very heavy marine layer at the beach.  It is always interesting to drive out of pure sunshine and into engulfing fog.  Standing on the beach looking inland you can see the blue sky; but the fog lingers over the ocean and beach.

They are excited before we even get out; both Luke and Elsa know where we are.  As soon as they are out, the two turn towards the water and want to go.  Luke puts his head down and pulls with all of his 13 year old body.  Elsa on the other hand runs tries to run to the beach; she can barely contain herself.  I love seeing how happy they are to be at the beach.  It makes the trips so much better knowing that they love being there. 

We were only on the beach a moment when we ran into people wanting to know what Luke and Elsa were.  Then we stopped to chat to a woman with a doodle who was quite shy and reserved but adorable.  He matched Elsa's color exactly; but the 10 mos. old never left the safety of his Moms' legs.  A little further down the beach we ran into the folks who pushed the behavior button for Elsa.  Even Luke had a hard time but being an old guy he contained himself. 

"OH, MY GOSH.......................HOW BEAUTIFUL,"  she shrieked.  At this point Elsa was watching some kids in the surf so she didn't notice.  Once we stopped she did notice and was immediately airborne.  The woman was very nice but a little over the top with her greeting which sent Elsa along with her.  She gushed over both Luke and Elsa while asking questions and waving her arms.  "OFF," was my immediate response and the woman actually heard it.  Most times when this happens I am saying "off, off, off," while the person continues to promote the unruly jumping behavior.  They state that they are fine with the dog jumping on them; "it's okay, I don't mind."  But they don't realize that "I" do mind.

If having your dog jump on others when they fuel the excitement fire is not something you like, don't allow it.  Be direct, let the person who is causing the commotion understand that it is not okay.  You can throw out words like " training, OFF (which I use)" or pause.  Try to get your dog's attention and have them sit.  This makes most excited human greeters take a moment; maybe even realize that you don't want your dog to be out of control.  Of course it all depends on your dog and the particular individual.  Elsa happens to love meeting new people and if those people are as excited as her, things can get a little carried away.  She rarely jumps on people now but if a human pushes those excitement buttons; then she's more than happy to join in. 

Stay calm and address the situation.  After all happy jumping is a good problem to have. 

It is important to take charge of any situation that involves your dog.  You can be very direct without being rude and you might even teach someone a thing or two about greeting dogs.  Usually as soon as "OFF" is out of my mouth the greeter takes a step back and watches.  They usually see that I like orderly conduct immediately; but not always of course.  Sometimes you run across someone who will never get it and will continue to squeal and wave their arms around; winding your dog into a happy greeting frenzy.  For these types you simply smile and walk away.