Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Collie Down the Street

When I first moved to this neighborhood 4 years ago my dog Chale befriended a rough Collie named Lincoln. Lincoln was playing in his front yard with his owner's while I was walking Chale. They were about the same size, age and temperament so I thought they were a good match. It seemed like every time I walked Chale, Lincoln was outside. Lincoln belongs to an old, retired couple. They were frequently working in the yard and doing other activities outside so I didn't think there was anything strange about Lincoln being outside with them a lot.

It didn't take long until our first encounter with Lincoln "unattended". He was just roaming around his front yard with no owner's insight. When Chale and I walked by he started to follow us. I yelled at Lincoln to stay/stop/whatever commands I thought he might know but he continued to follow us. Eventually I started yelling for the owner's to come outside because Lincoln was crossing the street and I didn't want him to get hit by a car. Luckily Lincoln stopped following us once we broke into a jog and had gone several houses past his house.

The Lincoln sightings started to become a daily occurrence. I found myself changing our walk patterns to try and avoid their house but it is nearly impossible because of how close we live to each other. Lincoln became more possessive of his yard every time we walked by and would bark and growl at Chale and I. Chale is a 110 lb German Shepherd. He is a very nice dog but he is every bit the alpha male and very protective of me. So of course Chale challenges Lincoln with his own barking and growling. Now its to the point that even when Lincoln isn't in the yard, Chale barks and growls at the house.

I don't think it's because they're an older couple because I see tons of older people walking and playing with their dogs. The are very nice people but definitely not giving their high energy dog what he needs to be balanced and healthy. Sometimes they are sitting on the porch or in the backyard when Lincoln is running loose. For the most part, he listens to them when they tell him to stay but they are often not close enough to intervene.

I would like to say that this is the exception to the other dog owners in the neighborhood but we have several other off leash offenders (an Akita, a Maltese, a Pointer, a Standard Poodle and two German Shepherds to be specific). These are not dogs with an electric fence (I will cover that terrible situation in an another blog). These are dogs that are completely free whenever they are out and generally without any human chaperon.

I can't count the number of times that I have had to yell commands at other peoples dogs and practically run home to avoid these dogs. I don't want to get into a situation where Chale, myself or another dog could be injured but I fear it will come to that eventually. I live in the suburbs, not in the country, so I'm not sure why people think it's safe for their dogs to roam around the neighborhood. There is a lot of vehicle traffic in my neighborhood and I am grateful that no one's dog has been hit by a car yet. I think that these people are lazy and shouldn't own dogs.

Letting your dog roam free does not replace being walked or spending other quality time with humans. I feel sorry for these dogs but I don't know what I can do to solve the problem. Even if I take the time to give each of them a crash course in dog ownership and explain to them what is wrong with what they're doing I don't think it would make a difference. I would be the bitch in the neighborhood and their dogs would continue to run loose.

For now I'll stick to walking Chale at 5 am and 10 pm when I can because there aren't as many people out and I'll invest in some re-training to get rid of this new reactive behavior that he's developed against other dogs. My husband and I tried to walk Chale at 7 pm tonight and were reminded why that was such a bad idea. Sigh.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

  1. That is too bad and it sucks that you can't walk your dog when you want to . We have a leash law here but there are always loose dogs as well. It makes me mad and it is hard to get through to those people.