LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Give dogs a wide berth
May 15, 2012 · Updated 2:28 PM
To the editor:
Have you ever been startled, or even frightened, by a dog lurching toward you as you jog/run past?
Just like lions, tigers and bears, dogs are prey animals. Fortunately dogs are genetically programmed to bond with humans, not eat them. However, the urge to chase a moving object is hard-wired into their little brains. It is as irresistible to dogs as blinking is to any creature with eyes.
Whether it is a squirrel, a rabbit, a stick, a ball, a jogger, bicyclist or runner (parents, also running, squealing children) they just want to chase it! It can be controlled at times but it takes attention and training. Believe me, dog handlers are just as distressed by their dog’s lurching as you are! They have or are in the process of training their canine companion to keep that urge in check. The hitch is that as you approach a dog and human team, you don’t know where in the training process this particular team happens to be! What to do?
Please, give the poor dog handler a chance to control their dog. If you are on a narrow trail, please slow down to a walk for the few seconds it takes to pass them. The dog handler will move the dog off-trail or put it in a sit/stay so that you can pass by and the dog can learn to hold itself in check. If you are jogging or bicycling in a large area like a parking lot or wide street, give them a wide berth.
It only takes seconds. It won’t ruin your run or ride. Most places where we choose to recreate are mixed use. Everyone wants to have a good time and stay safe. A little cooperation can make the experience a pleasant one for all of us: Running/jogging humans, cyclists, families with little kids and dog/human teams.