Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dogs and Joggers

If I could have been paid the princely sum of £1 for every time a dog owner has uttered these famous word “It’s OK he won’t bite”….then I would have been able to retire early sitting atop a pile of cash some years ago.

I go out jogging from time to time and these mutts are at best a nuisance and at worst downright dangerous. Now experience tells me to slow down to a near walk so as not to the raise hackles or arouse the hunting instinct of the canine beast unnecessarily. It is a tactic that generally seems to work but there are occasions when it fails for no apparent reason, and I am left in a situation where I am confronted by a snarling beast and the owner is nowhere in sight.
Thankfully it has always resulted in a stand off between me and the pooch while we wait for the owner to finally appear lead in hand and a sheepish look on their face to take temporary control of the dog.

I say temporary because this incident shows that perhaps the dog is not as well controlled as the owner likes to think.
The incident generally concludes with a heated verbal exchange between me and the dog owner and they always seem to offer one of the same old excuses. “Oh he’s never done that before” or “You must have startled him”.
Suffice to say the exchange generally ends with me yelling “Get your bloody mutt under control”!!
Now whether doggie has never done it before or he has been startled is not really the point, the fact is the dog was not really under control.

Now take me the grumpy jogger out of the equation and replace me with a child, and now things look a lot different. Child gets scared and tries to run, dog goes into attack mode and the child has no chance.
By the time the dog has been brought under control by the owner or subdued in some way by the child’s parents or passer by, it is often too late and the child is left with horrific injuries.
So I say to dog owners if your dog has never 'done it before' then it does not guarantee he won’t, and if you take him where he likely to be startled by joggers then put him on a lead. Most important of all if there is a chance he will encounter children and he is not under tight control then put a muzzle on his schmuzzle.

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