Doggy Diaries – Horrible dog encounter

I am so upset right now you guys and I need your help.

I need to know what I did wrong here. I’ll explain the situation and then give my thoughts of what I should have done.

Jayden and I went out for our morning walk in the complex. We got to the mail and then I directed him across the parking lot to the sidewalk. He was pulling so I told him steady. I didn’t hear anything ahead. Then all of the sudden there’s growling and snarling and I froze. I instantly just dropped and put my hands in front of Jayden’s chest. Then I started screaming “hello???” and finally I heard a person. She said the dog was on leash. She was telling her dog it was ok, like it was Jayden that came snarling after her dog. I laughed nervously and said I didn’t know if there was a person. I really thought she was would understand and maybe, oh I don’t know, be kind about it? Instead she’s like, he’s on leash, he’s just a puppy. Again I said I had no way of knowing a human was there. Her dog just kept barking and she’s like, stop barking, all calm like. She made no attempts to tell me it was safe, that I could go around, nothing.

So I turned Jayden around but my orientation was off and we ended up on the wrong side of the mail. Luckily a little old lady was there with her little rescue dog. She’s usually pretty nice. But she’s like, don’t come this way.

What?? I just dropped again trying to fight tears. Finally she was like, it’s ok, you’re just on the wrong side of the mail. My dog is a rescue dog, I can’t move very fast, do you want to go ahead of me?

I was fighting panic, trying to catch my breath and told her I just got all messed up with that dog. She said, I know, that was bad. She asked how we were doing aside from that and I just broke down.

There’s stuff going on not at all related to Jayden, but I’ll share on that in a few weeks. I knew I shouldn’t have gone out this morning. But I thought I was just being lazy so I pushed through it.

We made our way back home and I got calmed down a little but bouts of sobbing keep overtaking me.

Here is what I didn’t do because I was just so shocked and surprised. I didn’t give a leash correction, I didn’t make Jayden sit. I didn’t do those obedience things to get his focus back. I just completely froze and forgot everything. Jayden stayed under control though, once the dog started snarling Jayden stayed put.

When I initially felt him pulling, I should have stopped and listened to see what he was going after, but it was so quiet. And my friend Lish lives right there too, so I thought maybe he saw her. She tends to be quiet so she doesn’t distract me.

What else should I have done? Was I wrong? The woman was horrible. She shoed no compassion to the fact that I’M FREAKING BLIND!! How was I supposed to know that dog wasn’t wild???

Ugh, it was horrible. What should I do in the future when we get to that spot. Listen really hard? Should I call my apartments and tell them what happened? I want to educate people. What do you expect me to do?

I might just be over emotional right now, but I really want to know for next time, and I need to know I wasn’t totally wrong, or that my dog was behaving badly. He was, a little bit, but nothing horrible. Just pulling. I should have stopped that immediately.

Ok, needed to get that out. Thanks.


Filed under Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, working dog

19 Responses to Doggy Diaries – Horrible dog encounter

  1. Oh, Ro I am so sorry that happened to you. That is my biggest fear and I think of many handlers. Gosh, reading it I am shaking for you. Don’t beat yourself up — you did what you could in that unsettling situation. I have found grad services to be so helpful to call when I have had a tough situation like that to process it and get their input. Hope the rest of your day goes well. xoxo becky

  2. Ro

    I am definitely calling grad services. Every time I think about them the tears threaten again, so I’m probably gonna call them tomorrow when I have my wits about me.

  3. Ok Ro. Just breathe, calm down, it ended up ok that is the really important thing. It was a GOOD thing that you did not leash correct Jayden right then. If the dog was giving off agressive signals and being reactive like it sounds he was, and you had corrected Jayden when he gave the correct response, which was to not react back, you could have given him the wrong message and in the future he may have felt the need to react in such a situation. So i think you did the right thing in that respects. I understand that he was distracted and you feel like you needed to leash correct him for that, but probably in this specific instance becuase the other dog was being agressive and growling you more than likely did a good thing by not correcting him and potentially giving him a mixed message.

    In a future situation my recommendation would be to stop, ask Jayden to sit, ask him to refocus on you, possibly use a food treat to redirect him towards you as opposed to using a correction since you do not want to correct him and make him feel he needs to be reactive towards the dog who is freaking out at him. Then when the situation is safe, go forward, if it is not safe, turn around and go back the way you came. Remember to try to breath. Do not get down near dog level with your face or body as if that dog was able to attack Jayden you then would be at a prime level to get bitten in the face or chest and that would not be good. The other thing you can do is put Jayden on a sit, and take a step in front of him blocking him form the other dog with your body. Dogs view direct eye contact as a threat and as a confrontation. If Jayden is able to stare back at the other dog that will escalate the situation, so by you stepping in front you can help to break the stare. Another thing you can use to break the stare is teach Jayden to target your hand with his nose- put his nose directly on the palm of your hand. When you are in a situation, as him to do this behavior away from the other dog so that he has to turn his face away from the threatening dog and turn to touch your hand in the other direction. This may be enough to diffiuse the situation and you can then get to safety.

    I am so sorry this happened to you today in addition to all your other stress, but please try to breathe and calm dog and try not to stress the next time you go out in that area as Jayden will know and start to get worried and that could affect how he works in that spot in the future. It’s ok. I am glad everything is ok and no one got hurt.

  4. Ro

    Thank you soooo much Katrin. I knew you’d leave a great comment. I remember a thread on the email list awhile ago, where a handler did the same thing, dropping down to her dog, and everyone said don’t do that. I suppose it’s instinct, But great idea to get in front of Jayden. I’m calmed down now, and actually a little glad this happened, so that I could get the much needed feedback for next time.

    What really bothers me is the other person. She made no moves to move her dog. It was like we were in a showdown of our own. I mean I know I shouldn’t expect to be given a clear path, but geez, she could have said she’d move her dog. Jayden and I didn’t even finish our walk because I was too upset to even think about getting around the stupid dog. It just wouldn’t shut up. Ugh, people.

    Thanks again; you always have such excellent advice. 🙂

  5. L^2

    *hugs* I know it’s hard not to freeze up when something like that happens. Willow is very dog distracted, so she is usually pretty excited when she sees another dog. So, for me, it was just one of those things that took practice. After the first couple of times it happened, I began to be more wary of possible dog encounters so I could do my best to stay calm and under control of the situation. It’s tough though, because they can really surprise you. This all worked out fine for you two in the end though, and that is the most important part.
    One piece of advice though – be careful about putting your hands, head or any other body parts at dog level or between the dogs if you think there’s a problem. That could put you in danger of being bitten by the aggressive dog.

    Also, I hate to defend the mean lady, but in all honesty, she really might not have realized you are blind. There are a lot of stupid people in the world, you know. For some people a guide dog is like a walking billboard advertising our disability, but other people are totally clueless about the whole thing.

  6. Ro

    You know, I had that thought after I got home. It’s quite possible she didn’t know. Everyone tells me I don’t look blind, because I look at you. Yeah, I do, since my eyes are between my ears.

    The mean spirit in me really hoped she watched me get lost and then break down with the little old lady. Part of me really hoped she ended up feeling horrible. I’m not a mean spirited person, but I sure can’t help those thoughts.

    I guess I figured everyone here would know by now that duh, harness = blind, but yeah, I forget just how uneducated people are about guide dogs.

  7. I think that you both did really well! I wouldnt be to worried about Jayden growling, he was probably just responding to that puppys bad energy, that puppy was probably hackled up and had a really bad energy about him. People dont train thier dogs, they baby them. The woman sounds like she was a real dork.
    Hang in there you two are doing great!
    I will be interested to hear what Guide dogs says about your encounter.
    I have had some interesting encounters with Dublin as a raiser, and I can see something coming, I have just come to the conclusion that people are stupid, espcially if they dont know what a Guide dog is.
    I dont think you did anything wrong!

  8. Ro

    Oh Jayden wasn’t growling. I’ve only ever heard him growl in his sleep lol. The other dog was making all the racket.

    Now that it’s all passed, I can see that we weren’t in the wrong at all. I will be a little more diligent when he pulls, but sometimes he just does that when we get to our path because he loves the walk. In the end, I think it was a good experience because it taught me a lesson and we came out of it ok.

  9. I’m so sorry that happened to you and Jayden, Ro! How awesome to get such great input from others here. Of course, I wouldn’t have any idea what you should do myself–but I agree with L^2 about the people being generally clueless, which includes me! I think clear communication with the other person helps a lot. I have found that even as a sighted person, when I’m out walking Cabana, stating the obvious (or obvious to me) is appreciated. Some people think that because my dog is on leash, it automatically means she’s aggressive, when all I’m trying to do is obey the law. So I often have to announce, “My dog is friendly”, so that people don’t get all reactive. A little explanation of the obvious, like “I’m blind” or “I was worried about your dog’s growling” or “Can you tell me if we’re in any danger” might seem silly, but it might also help dispel misunderstandings.

  10. Ro

    Absolutely, I thought about that later too, that I should have said I’m blind. I guess to me it must be obvious but, yeah haha. GDB told us that if we ever call 911, the first words out of our mouths must be, “I’m blind and I need help. My certified guide dog and I were just attacked.” GDB said that’s the best way to get an immediate response, because 911 won’t think a dog attack is priority.

    I think that really applies with everything. In fact, I said it to a lady at the mall in the restroom when I bumped into her. My first words were I’m blind. Don’t know why it didn’t occur to me today. But in that moment, all logic flew away. I really think this turned out to be a valuable experience.

  11. I haven’t a clue what advice to offer except a big hug! *BIG HUG* Maybe you needed that experience. I know it sounds horrible and you’re calm down now and that is good. Love all the dog handlers responses! 🙂

    Question: Aren’t there guide dogs for the disabled? Maybe Roodie thought you were just asserting some kind of arrogance (although we all know SHE was.)

    For some reason ignorant people think they own the world and that it revolves around them. You showed that YOU are the better person, breakdown or not!!!

    You’ll be ready for her next time you two encounter each other. 🙂

    You did good Ro! Really. That was scary and you handled it!

    *BIG hugs*


  12. Ro

    Thanks JayNoi 🙂

    Yeah, there are definitely service animals for other disabilities. It could be she didn’t realize he’s a guide dog. His harness does read, “Guide Dogs for the Blind” on it hahaha. But…maybe she wasn’t close enough to read that.

    I will definitely know the next time I hear that dog to turn and walk away. I’ve heard it before, usually from a distance. I don’t know how she tolerates such a vicious sounding dog.

  13. lol She was probably too busy looking at the sky. (You know, her nose in the air and all?) 🙂


  14. Ro as someone who works in the dog training industry it would totally blow your mind what some people will put up with from their dogs. It’s like they become immune to it until something forces them to face reality and deal with the problem. Sounds like the woman you encountered may have been one of those people.

  15. Anonymous

    Many people have never come across a blind person or a guide dog in their lives. Before I found out I was going blind I had never, so I always assume that neither has anyone else.

    I get asked all the time if I’m training my dog. When I tell them that he’s my guide dog, they always respond that because I praise him they thought I was training him. Most people don’t have any idea that we use praise based tactics.

    My dog and I were attacked by a dog almost two years ago. The dog bit my dog on the cheek. I handled the entire situation incorrectly. What you said about calling 911 is correct. I’ll just add one piece.

    First, hopefully this never happens to you again. It is enough to completely unravel the strongest among us.

    But if it ever does, the advise I got from my field manager is to never mention that you have a dog at all.

    When we got attacked I called 911 and they were as aloof as could be. They told me that if it doesn’t involve people they don’t get involved at all.

    So my field manager told me to call 911, scream into the phone, then say “I’m blind and I’ve been attacked!” and then scream again as you are hanging up. If you mention that the attack is from a dog or that you have a dog with you, you may not get a response as quickly, or any response at all.

    Wow, my heart is pounding and my hands are shaking typing this.

    You did great. I’m so glad it all turned out and I’m so proud of you for already, turning it into a learning experience.

    Joni – Dogs do all kinds of service for many different needs and each usually have their own term, signal dogs for the deaf, for example, however, the term guide dog is reserved for the blind. And all working dogs fall under the generic term of service animal.


  16. Looks like you got oodles of awesome advice. I join in the chorus of don’t beat yourself up. Stuff happens so fast and you do what you’ve gotta. Remember what they said if your dog actually gets chomped. You’re supposed to let go. So actually you probably did the best you could, but yeah I get the don’t put your flesh in the path of those ugly chompers part too.

    Maybe next time, tell her, “Could you plese move over to the side so I may pass?” Sometimes dorks need specific direction. And yup, I’ve encountered people who don’t get the blind thing even though the harness says blind.

    These are all good experiences. You’re doing fine.

  17. Awwww Ro, i’m so sorry that this happened to you. I would have panicked in that same situation. When you are faced with that situation, you aren’t going to think straight. You certainly aren’t going to think “Oh i must remember to do this”, cause when you panick, it’s so hard to think clearly.

    I am so glad you are feeling a bit better now. They say that these experiences make us stronger.

    Just stop, breath, and take a second to get your thoughts in order. Easier said than done though!

    And about the telling people you are blind? Why the hell should you have to tell them!! I mean for fuck sake, (sorry), but a guide dog harness is a standard thing. When a dog is moving around and you are directing it, you’re not picking up it’s poop!!!! People are just stupid stupid stupid stupid people.

    Xxxxxxx and give yourself a hug for handling the situation so well. You did what you knew how to do, and in training i don’t think they can make a dog attack you just to see what would happen. They would have alot of complaints if they did that!!! Xxxx

  18. I am glad Jayden wasnt growling,I misunderstood, he seems like such an awesome dog, and in the time I have been around and raising these puppies, none of them have a mean bone in thier bodies!! Dublin has no clue something would hurt him, he isnt afraid of anything, and I hope it stays that way. He will make someone a really good partner, if he passes all his physical tests! I do believe he will make it as a Guide, I will miss him when he goes back in Oct.
    You have a lot of great people that responded to you! That is neat.
    Hugs to you and Jayden.

  19. Thanks Jenn,

    I love educating myself on these matters. 🙂 You all are so informative.
    Thanks Ro, for posting!!! 🙂

    *big hugs*

    Dang I hug you too much! lol

    Nah, no one can ever get too many hugs!


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