Dog Walk as in “W”
A dog walk is a great way to spend time with your best friend. Last week we had an opportunity to take the dogs out for a walk along the river. Now, my boy Buster is generally a good dog. He can be intimidating to some people. And, as much as I’ve tried to socialize him, he’s not much of a dog person. It’s not every dog mind you. I can’t tell who he’ll get along with and who he won’t. At the dog park, he is on his own to get fit in. Out here it was a different story. People may not be expecting to encounter a dog.
Buster is a Louisiana Leopard Catahoula. Yeah, I know. That’s a mouthful. The breed is used for hunting wild pigs in the southeast. I’ve never had the pleasure of running into a wild pig, but I understand they can be quite cranky. It takes a tough dog to help in the hunt. How I ended up with Buster is a story for another time. He’s mine now. While I’m not out looking for wild pigs, it’s kinda nice to know we could if that’s what the world comes to.
Back to the walk. Most of the time out in open country Buster is left of lead to roam and smell to his heart’s content. That is, after all, the point of a dog walk. If we see people or horses I just clip on his leash and we are back under control. We (my wife Ranae and I) were walking along the Kern River. Lots of open country and every once in awhile some water to play in or around. Buster is roaming about enjoying himself, perhaps checking the area for wild pigs. Who knows? Off in the distance we see a man walking his dog. We see the dog is big, somewhat Rottweiler-ish and there is no leash attached. Recalling Buster, I clip on his leash and we move off to the side of the trail.
The man approaching us yells out, “Don’t worry. My dog is fine! He’s gentle.” If you’ve ever had an eighty pound dog lumbering toward you, this comment is not very soothing.
“Yeah, my dog is NOT. Please call your dog. My dog can be aggressive!” I yell back. If the dogs get in a fight, I want him warned.
“No, don’t worry. He is just a pup. He won’t hurt you.” Well, if he is a puppy, he’s destined to be seven feet tall.
We have caught the Rottweiler’s eye and once again I go for the it’s-not-you-it’s-me routine, “Please call your dog back. My dog will start a fight.” I’ve got Buster on a very short leash now and we are trying to put as much space between us and the puppy. There really is anywhere to go. This part of the riverbank is a cliff covered by stiff brush. “PLEEEASE, leash your dog,” I plead once more.
Again we get, “He won’t hurt you. Tyson is a great dog. He listens to me.”
What?! Tyson? Named after the fighter? C’mon buddy, you are not instilling much confidence here at all. I change tactics. “If he listens so well, show me. Let’s see if he will come to you. I don’t believe he will.”
“Tyson, come here boy.” Tyson looks determined to tear someone’s ear off. “TYSON, COME!”
Like a fighter pilot disengaging a target, Tyson veers away and changes course. He doesn’t go to his owner, just off to the next wonderfully natural smell. The other walker has passed us now and he turns to give us his sage advice, “You should really take your dog to obedience class!”
I had no quick retort and left that comment hanging in the air. My wife and I looked at each other and smiled. As he got a little farther away he may have felt he was too hard on us. He had to pass on one more great piece of advice, “Try some natural dog food. I give my dog raw food and he loves it.” With a “Thank You” wave we turned and were off to our next adventure.