Dog’s Eye View: Close encounters of the worst kind |

Dog’s Eye View: Close encounters of the worst kind

Laura Tyler

Here we go again.

This time of year with snow on the ground and sidewalks and trails narrowing to single file, the encounters between dogs and humans take on a new and frightening aspect.

There’s nowhere to move out of the way when bicycle riders come up behind humans and dogs on leash and sometimes a walker doesn’t hear them until they are ready to pass. My thanks to the rider who says “on your left” or “on your right” to let me know they’re coming. It gives me a chance to move my little dog close to me so she doesn’t get run over or frightened.

If someone doesn’t signal, it’s rude and dangerous especially if they are going really fast. Our sidewalks and trails are not meant to be raceways. Courtesy should be standard practice.

If I see a rider coming toward me I stop and move with my dog to the side of the trail. I often have riders thank me for doing that. We do share the trails right? No one is more important than another. Let’s be courteous to each other.

I’m hearing more and more complaints about people who cannot control their dogs off leash, and walkers are getting pretty sick of it. Animal control officers are fielding more complaints from people being accosted or knocked down by loose dogs. We all know that situations like these tend to create more restrictions on where we can walk our dogs.

By far, the close encounter of the worst kind is being jumped on by a large slobbery dog that has run through the excrement of other dogs whose owners don’t feel the need to stop and clean up after their dogs. Come on people!!! When all that snow melts and flows into our beautiful Yampa River, the contamination from uncontained poop affects water quality and habitat for all living things.

Without a united front and dog owner compliance, we will all lose the privilege of safely walking our dogs in populated areas. Injury to people just out to enjoy our beautiful environment will continue to take place, and our city and county governments will be forced to apply harsher restrictions because of the lack of community compliance with current laws.

Let’s not wait and find out how high that fine for off leash in a restricted area will be? Let’s not wait until the signs are posted that dogs are no longer welcome to accompany us on a trail hike?

The National Park system has banned dogs on all hiking trails. The reason includes all of the above as well as stress on wildlife and the cost of rescue from snake bites and animal encounters.

The solution is so simple. Keep your dog on leash, step to the side of the trail to allow bikes to pass. Riders please slow down and let walkers know you are coming.

Whether your dog is friendly matters not to a person who is allergic or frightened of dogs so do not allow your dog to say “hi” to every person on the trail. Off-leash dogs approaching dogs on leash is a set up for a fight to break out.

The dog on leash cannot display appropriate body language. The dog on leash can’t easily move away from an encounter. The dog on leash usually has to respond defensively. And on occasion the dog on leash doesn’t get along well with others. So what if your dog is friendly? It’s not going to end well.

Stay connected to your dogs by stopping for short training sessions while out for your walk. Pick up after your dog and deposit that bag in a trash can. By depositing poop bags in the trash cans provided for this purpose, dog waste is deposited in a land fill far away from our precious rivers, lakes and streams and the parks where our children and grandchildren play.

Laura Tyler is a certified professional dog trainer with 25-plus years of experience and has earned associate certification through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She owns Total Teamwork Training LLC in Northwest Colorado.

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