I’ve had several traumatising experiences with dogs. When I was about twelve I witnessed my dad being mauled by two Rottweiler’s when swooped to the rescue of a woman being attacked by these dogs. Go dad!
Then a few years later whilst fishing in the Durban harbour a young woman who continually reassured me her dog, sniffing me up and down like I was biltong, didn’t bite, confused his owner and chased me into the water snapping at my heals.
I am a dog lover. Absolute fanatic. I have one of my own, a beautiful Dachshund cross named Twakkie. Brave as a bear and a personality like no other. I grew up with an Alsatian Rottweiler cross named Sacha. I loved her with all my heart. She ultimately passed at sixteen. I also had a beautiful Weimaraner named Maya and a Ridgeback named Zulu.
So it is not as if I am afraid of dogs I am just really cautious around strange dogs. I am sure they can sense my uneasiness which usually leads to instances explained above.
I am an avid outdoorsman. Bodyboarding, mountain biking and trail running are my sports of choice. These activities often navigate me to places allowing dog owners to walk their beloved pets. I am not clued up on the leash laws but notice most do not walk their dogs with a leash.
Each to their own. I ignore you, you ignore me.
The problem comes in when your dog, not on a leash, ignores the private space rule. As they most often do, because they’re curious animals. I usually try pat and make weird “hello big guy” voices to a dog sniffing me, what else am I supposed to?
Embarrassingly though an argument usually ensues. I ask the dog owner to call their pet and undoubtedly, almost every time, they will reply “don’t’ worry, my dog doesn’t bite.” To which I reply. “I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. Take your dog away from me.”
Just last week my girlfriend and I were walking to our car when a man running after his dog in the street, bolting in our direction, shouted to us from some twenty metres behind his galloping Doberman….Well, you know what he shouted.
My own experiences with dogs have taught me that their behaviour at times can be highly unpredictable, especially with strangers. So, when I walk my dog, even though he is a tiny Dachsie, I keep him on a leash. It’s just me.
I don’t know what the solution is?
Some dogs might really not bite. All I’m saying is, even if you think he doesn’t bite, please don’t let him probe me with his nose while you casually stroll along the promenade acting like you don’t see what he’s doing.