I have walked thousands of miles with dogs over the last eleven years. Most walks have been uneventful and very enjoyable. But there have been times that a neighbor’s unleashed dog or a wandering cat has added a little excitement; a sudden cloud burst has made some of the miles quite unpleasant; on several occasions, uneven pavement has sent me tumbling to the ground–but I never let go of the leash!
Long experience has made me cautious of some situations. My primary concern is for the dog and I will avoid potential problems–crossing the street or turning a corner.
Some dogs, especially small ones, do not enjoy being pet by children. Kids are unpredictable; they move suddenly, they can be loud in their excitement and they can try to hug the animal–a potentially dangerous situation. When I can’t avoid an encounter, I tell the adult with the child that the dog is not mine and I do not know how the dog will behave. Most understand and agree it is best the child leave the dog alone.
I have learned that many people never teach their children to be cautious around a strange dog and how best to approach them. I wrote an article, “Lasting Impressions ~ Dog and Child Introductions,” for Pet Tails Magazine describing some kid encounters from my miles on the road and how to make safe introductions.