We had an interesting experience with a jogger this morning. We’ve met him before, jogging towards us in the forest. We could see that he was afraid of our German Shepherd and called Cairid in beside us. He’s on a long line in the forest, since we can’t trust him not to go after deer.
This morning the jogger was running in the same direction as us, coming up behind us, and we didn’t hear him coming. But Cairid did, and ran towards him. We didn’t immediately do anything, because there’s never been a problem before with joggers. However, the jogger reacted bizarrely, and we think, in a way that could have endangered him with a different dog who might have attacked at this overt display of aggression. The jogger stopped dead, stared directly at Cairid, extended his arm and pointed his finger at him, and literally screamed “NO! NO! NO!”. Each “No” was emphasised with the extended finger. This all happend so quickly it’s hard to be sure of the sequence of events. We called Cairid over to us and he came. The jogger blustered about dogs running at him. He had earphones in, incidentally.
So here we have a two-fold dilemma. Cairid frightened this man, so could he then be issued with a dog control thingy? (Obviously he won’t be, because there was no result to this incident except all round anger and incredulity.) And as well as this, we see that a jogger put himself in a potentially dangerous position with his angry outburst, because his stance - staring, pointing and shouting - was a cast-iron invitation to any dog to feel fear and attack or run. Had the jogger made us aware of his approach we would have taken steps to have Cairid at our side. Had he slowed or stopped, Cairid wouldn’t have been interested.
Why do people put themselves in danger, and when it goes wrong, blame it on the dog? Why do people not arm themselves with knowledge of what they could encounter, and how to deal effectively with it? It seems likely that this man has had problems with dogs previously, so why hasn’t he taken a little time to learn how to react to minimise the danger to himself?
Yet another instance of an OTT reaction to a GSD? It just highlights the need for EDUCATION (for people - the dogs ‘get’ it every time!). When will this happen?