Mina is leash-aggressive around other dogs. I expect it from her. She can meet small dogs, no problem, on leash. She can bully her way up to large, calm dogs, no problem. But any dog who shows an interest or yelps or barks, she takes the offensive - on leash. Off-leash, her social skills aren't much better, but she's more keen on running and playing than anything else.
So when my parents and I took the dogs for a walk yesterday, I expected Mina's over-excited, irksome behavior upon seeing another dog.
What I didn't expect was my other dog, my calm, sweet, perpetual puppy Celeste to slip her collar and dash across a country road and start yelling in the other dog's face.
There I was with an 11-yr-old Pit Bull screaming bloody murder and an un-collared, un-leashed muttskie yelping - seriously - something at a geriatric, old-lady Vizsla dog with the kindest, nicest, calmest owner on earth. While Celeste is standing inches from the dog's face, talking and talking about what - none of us know - the man is standing there calmly and politely telling Celeste, "Oh gosh, you don't mean that." And it's true, Celeste doesn't. She's feeding off of Mina's energy and doing her best to protect the pack from this clear and present danger who's currently staring off into space.
My dad runs over and Celeste is all OH MY GOD U KILLS ME?!? No, my dad is being nice and sweet and Celeste is just oh so very concerned. I call Celeste and her recall skills, being far more reliable than a certain old-lady dog, comes over. She's looking quite upset about the whole fiasco, and I don't blame her.
Me? I'm ever thankful my parents are with me. With Mina, I wouldn't have been able to get within 5' of the other dog. Either Mina would have had to been tied to a freaking grapevine or the other man would have had to leash Celeste and hand her back to me...but from a safe distance, thanks.
The collar is tight now. No chance of slipping possible. Celeste didn't pose a threat to the dog and, really, you could tell the dog knew it. Celeste, bless her sweet, gentle, submissive heart, was so incredibly unsure of what the hell she was doing that she'd vacillate between barking and then gently sniffing the dog's nose, barking and then trying to sniff the dog's butt. Which is just me being overwhelming happy that, if this shitastic event were to occur, it occurred on a less-traveled road, at 11 in the morning, with my parents present and involving one nice man and his equally nice dog.
Worst case scenario didn't happen - encountering a car. Celeste can survive an encounter with an ornery dog, but not with a 2,000 lb vehicle.
Check your collars. Check your harnesses. Make sure your gear is safe and secure. Have all sorts of back-up plans for if the unthinkable happens. Celeste won't be slipping her collar ever again. My heart is unprepared to deal with her running in traffic to go yell passive-aggressive obscenities at other dogs.