Thursday, February 17, 2011

Doggy Roadkill (almost)

For those who don't know the history, my dog, Sammy, is a rescue. He was 1.5 years old when I brought him home from the shelter, and I was entirely oblivious to the major challenges he was bringing with him. The first year was a LOT of work--blood, sweat, and tears, and it took him 9 months just to relax. That was 4 years ago, and over that time I've been able to get his behaviour from 0% to about 80-90%, and work through his various issues.

One of those issues is other dogs, and leash aggression towards them. He's improved, especially with smaller dogs since they aren't usually as much of a threat to him. But he will lunge at other dogs while on a leash. As a result, my reflexes with the leash have greatly improved. But they are still no match for the reflexes of an impulsive border collie cross.

So when we run roads, we use a 4 foot leash so that I can keep control. We run on the sidewalk, facing traffic, and Sammy runs on my left. This way I am between him and the traffic, and he can sniff the bushes and things on his left. Most of the time, he runs along very well.

This morning we were running on a rather narrow stretch of sidewalk, next to a narrow stretch of road, so the cars were quite close to us. Morning rush hour. We were cruising along at an easy pace, when suddenly a van went past us with a dog in it, and the dog was barking at Sammy as the van passed. My reflexes being slower than his, I did not react quickly enough to prevent Sammy from jumping across my path and directly onto the side of the van. His front feet made contact with the moving vehicle before I yanked him back onto the sidewalk and gave him a thorough tongue-lashing. Scared me half to death. And I'm sure the car *behind* the van was probably the most shaken, since Sammy had essentially jumped in front of it; luckily it wasn't moving quickly.

While the exercise is of course good for him, sometimes running with Sammy is stressful... defeating the purpose of the run for me.

But we're safely home now. :)


  1. Yikes! Glad everything turned out ok. Two of our dogs are shelter rescues too, so can certainly relate.

    Too bad you didn't have closer access to trails. Always a safer option for our pack.

  2. Ahhh... Sammy.... ;_;

    I'm glad all is well in Holly/Sammy land... <3

  3. Crazy Puppy. Glad you are both safe. Do you run with a hand or waist leash. I use a waist with Strider and if he tries to lunge some place he shouldn't I have my whole body to hold him back not just one arm. Makes running easier too.

  4. Derrick: there's only 2km of pavement between me and the nearest entry to the trail system... but I find that for short runs it's generally easier and more convenient just to run on the roads.

    David: we use a hand leash... usually it's fine, but clearly not quite enough today!

  5. North Shore dogs were crazy today, there must have been something in the water. I usually never get bugged by dogs but today I got jumped on (not in an "I'm going to kill you" way, more of an "I want to play with you" way) by no less than three of them on the trails today. I like dogs but you never know where they're headed when a strange one jumps up on you. I bet it would have been interesting data if you were wearing a heart rate monitor when puppy jumped into the van.

  6. maybe it's the crazy weather we've been having!!
    Sammy has been known to jump on runners on the trail too... but not too often, fortunately. Usually I can see the idea formulating in his head before he does it, and grab his collar or call him to me, lol. We'll see how he is for our trail run tomorrow... at least on the trails I don't have to worry about cars!