Thursday, July 5, 2007

Borderland and a kvetch

Yesterday I took Ike and my in-law's dog Carmen (also a Miniature Schnauzer) for a hike at Borderland State Park (maybe 10 minutes from my house). It was a great morning - sunny and warm without being too hot. Last summer we had an incident at Borderland where Ike was clearly beginning to suffer from heat exhaustion, so now I am totally paranoid about Ike getting overheated. I wet the dogs down multiple times - in fact I poured more water on them than they actually drank!

We hiked for about 1.5 hours and the dogs were pooped.

The only iffy situation occurred towards the end of our hike - I spotted three people walking with a yellow Lab-type dog towards us on the trail. From the distance I couldn't tell if the dog was off leash or on one of those damn flexi-leashes (personally I do not think there is ever an appropriate place for those things - I HATE them). As the dog got closer it became obvious that he was off leash - ugh! He came barreling up to us and of course his owner is hollering, "Oh, he's fine. He usually just barks." Meanwhile, Carmen is going ballistic and Ike is joining in with barking. I said to the guy, "It's not your dog I am worried about it's mine." I don't understand why people just don't get it. Yeah, your dog might be the most friendly dog in the world, but if you run into a dog that isn't and they're on leash and you're dog is off leash - well, mayhem can ensue.

So, my kvetch is people who take their dogs someplace where they are clearly supposed to be on leash and then let their dogs go off leash. This is an issue for me when I have Carmen with me since she can be dog-reactive. Carmen borderline behaves aggressively with dogs (fear-based I think). I do question whether it is appropriate for me to even take her someplace like Borderland, but at the same time I am in control of her physically (if not her howling) and she will never get better/desensitized to it if she is not exposed to other dogs. Ugh. It is a sticky point.

It was frustrating. However, everything worked out fine and we really enjoyed our hike. So much so that when I got back to the car and opened the door to roll the windows down I had put that incident to the back of my mind. Carmen slept the entire ride back to the house!

I will have to talk to some doggie friends and ask for their opinion about hiking with Carmen. I would like to continue bringing her but if it isn't appropriate, I would rather stop now. I am also considering enrolling her in the Shelter's Good Manners class - I am going to ask Denise about it tonight.

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