Go Home Now

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

I’ve been scared of dogs since I was bitten by one on my paper route about 47 years ago. Even though it was one of those pipsqueak dogs, it still had teeth, teeth it cruelly sank into my calf at a young, impressionable age, leaving me with a lifelong wariness of unleashed dogs. Or even leashed dogs if they are savage barking ones, lunging at me against the very limits of their flimsy tethers while spewing drool at the sight of my juicy leg.
I now pack pepper spray when walking but just recently heard how a very small friend of mine took command of this exact sort of situation when she was out for a walk. One minute she’s happily ambling along a country road enjoying nature; the next she’s listening to the dread pounding sound of a large animal bearing down on her. Jani instantly whipped around, stamped a foot forward while shaking her finger at the beast and thundered out a loud, authoritative command:
“Go Home Now.”
The dog stopped in its tracks, said, “Oh well,” and went home.
I was struck by this interaction between Jani and the dog on a couple levels:
  1. First and foremost, how a very small person (4’ 11”) can command alpha fierceness believable enough to drive a vicious dog of bad intent away
  2. Second, that there could be a bare bones technique reliable enough to protect against scary dogs on the loose
As promising as Jani’s technique might be I have no intention of leaving my pepper spray behind when I head out on a walk. It’s not just animals I’m wary of; people with bad intent also concern me and I have less confidence they would turn around and go home just because I shook my finger and told them to. However, it would be very comforting to feel doubly equipped to handle dogs on the loose with pepper spray in one back pocket and a solid technique in the other. But I’m no expert in dog matters. Before touting Jani’s technology as an effective method of protection from canine threats when people are out on their wellness walks I need some experts to weigh in.
This brings me to you. I know for a fact that the population of dog lovers runs deep and wide so I am putting out a Wellness Wednesday call to all dog people: in your opinion, can Jani’s technique be reliably counted on? (Provide a little street cred so I can trust putting myself in your hands. Are you speaking as a person with lots of experience or training?)
If not, what is the best thing to do when a dog of dubious intent gets in your face? (Again, I’ll need to know if you are speaking as an expert or  rather a person with no authority but a lot of excellent creative ideas.)
Submit your advice here. I’ll share the wisdom next Wednesday. Getting our walks in is way too important to be scared off by some doggies.