Thursday, March 6, 2014

Adventures in hiking with a dog

When your dog is fast, you tend to get pulled along the trail. I was thinking of buying some of those shoes with the skate wheels on the back so I can just go for the ride. The more thought I put into it, the less of a grand idea it seems to be. I get the image of me being pulled rapidly on my ass (I did attempt to find a dog dragging a person photo, but apparently it means dog dragging deaths so i quickly exited google).

So with my get home bag that weights around 65+ pounds, off we go up the trail as fast as my body will let me without being pulled onto sharp pointy rocks. Like most dogs, Rock has ADD and on top of that he has a thing for bicycles and yelping loudly like a poodle when they go by. We are very nice and let people go by when we can, move over and stay in control when we pass people with leashed dogs (or families with small children). We do everything right in order to prevent any sort of issue, he is a pitbull and most people are afraid as soon as they see us.

In the last 2 weeks we've encountered over 300 unleashed dogs and right about 8 leashed ones. Those are realistic numbers. From various points of our hike we watch people walk up the road with leashed dogs and let them go when they hit the dirt and then wear the leash like it's a sash from the local 'don't control my dog contest'. I've tried several different area close to home and it's always the same and I shouldn't be the one to be penalized for other people by staying home.

Please grab your dog and leash em up
Guy: is your dog not friendly?
my dog is very friendly, some dogs just don't like each other and it's the law
Guy: if my dog was a biter I would have him on a leash
you should have your dog on a leash because it's the law
Guy: if you don't like it write your congressman

Whomever owns this dog please leash him up
Guy: What?
If that's your dog, leash him up
Lady: dogs are allowed to be off leash here
No, they aren't
Lady: yes they are its a pond

Grab your dog, leash em up
Lady: Sir, you will find that nobody leashes their dogs in this area and it's ok
So mass murder is ok since someone else did it, you are using flawed logic
Lady: you just made my day, thank you
It's the law, I'm tired of being the only person to obey it, you have a duty to restrain
Lady: we dont have to have them on a leash at the reservoir
isn't this a city park, this entire area?
Lady: if you dog is mean you shouldn't have him here
My dog is very friendly but not all dogs like each other. Assuming my dog is mean is once again using flawed logic.
Lady: blah, blah, blah (don't know what she said as I decided to let her hear my inner sailor rage after the 35th off leash dog of yesterday evening that came charging at us)

Those are 3 real conversations over the last 3 days and all I want to do is walk my boy without having people give us crap when I ask them to grab their dog and/or leash up so we don't get attacked or have our space violated.

The good news (hey rev. paul, there is always good news!): the reservoir is now open for dog swimming!

I'll pack a retractable leash so he can go out and swim, I almost got pulled in a few times yesterday. The bad news is there will be more people pretending it's ok to have an off leash dog just because the reservoir is open for them. If I can make it work with a 6 foot leash, how hard can it be. With a retractable leash he can go out 25 feet or so and then I reel him in like I am catching swordfish!

In other news, we had some packages arrive and continue to work on food storage.

Filters and a water level indicator, finally!

Strawberry jam!

More strawberry jam! 24 pints sealed up!
More bad news: We are out of strawberries.


  1. Max, I for one appreciate your determined approach to keep your dog on a leash, in accordance with local regs. As for the others, their ignorance makes all dog owners look bad; I just hope no one gets bitten.

    I know there's good news, Max - some days I just feel less like rooting it out of the never-ending news cycle than others. :)

    1. I'm with you 100%. Sometimes we have to take whatever situation we are dealt and make the good news on our own. Like when I walked out at work a few days ago and it suddenly became all good news. For another post perhaps.

  2. I'm just wondering, are you originally from out West? I ask because I think the attitude about leashing is actually different out there. My brother spends a lot of time in Boise, and they have a big park where dogs are not required to be leashed. It goes way back into the mountains so there is plenty of room. I lived in Northern California up until I went in the service, and I don't ever recall seeing a dog leashed in the woods. Maybe, and I say this with respect, you are swimming against the tide on a cultural issue. I've been all over the mountains and trails around my house, and never leashed my dogs . When I go down the mountain to the mailbox, they walk along with me and just run through the woods. I certainly understand your concern that people will be afraid of your dog since he's a pit bull. People have forgotten that so was Petey in the Little Rascals and he never hurt anyone.

    1. I've been attacked by several dogs in my lifetime, all of them were the gentle type, never hurt a soul, etc.
      From the age of 10 and the first attack where I almost lost my eye all the way up to recent times. I grew up in the woods, nobody had a leash.

      The only options I have are the roadside (no sidewalks), the trails (unleashed dogs) and the open space trails (unleashed dogs but more room so we can avoid things when we can see them ahead).
      Having a dog charge us when it's owner is 1/4+ mile away isn't acceptable, I (we, you) have the right to go unmolested and to be honest I'll be damned if I'm going to stop hiking around because other people can't do the right thing.

      When I have a dog on a leash (any breed) and another dog charges up that isn't leashed, the meeting isn't controlled nor controllable. The leashed dog has 3 options: do nothing, flight or fight.
      The flight option is out, it's on a leash. The do nothing option is often out since the other animal is charging and it puts a dog into defensive mode. It puts me into defensive mode since I don't know what is going to happen with the other dog. Should something happen there will be vet bills that the other party would be liable for but most people can't afford thousands of dollars in vet bills, so then there would be a lawsuit, etc.

      There is also the idea that it's a law, it's not called a leash option. There is a crap-ton of wildlife from deer to coyotes, mountain lions to bobcats, etc. They deserve to be left alone, and the area deserves to not be trampled and have new trails created by human and dogs. There is also a lot of low ground cactus that can cause big issues for a dog.

      I'm a responsible gun owner, when people aren't the same it really bothers me since I know of the legislation that can be passed that does nothing but hurt responsible people like me (and you).
      It's the same for pets. Area's get closed down due to people not picking up poop, too many side trails created by dogs, bikes and people, etc. Just like how most of our off road trails are now closed due to irresponsible people, the same happens to our open spaces and forests.

      I watch people come up the paved road with the dog(s) on a leash and as soon as they hit the dirt they let the dog go and the dog charges off, poops somewhere, chases a fawn or birds and does what an animal does (whatever it wants). Completely irresponsible and it's not the dogs fault, you can only train and educate a dog so much, but people not only know better, they can be trained with just a few words.

      With what I do at work, we contribute around $250,000 a year into the trails and open spaces, humane society and dog parks. We have helped fund and open 2 dog parks, there are plenty of options for people who don't want to leash up, but what options do I have besides stop going out?
      1/4 mile of pavement is what separates us from the wild so we aren't going to drive somewhere and we shouldn't have to. I'm not mean, I'm usually very respectful but when people want to ignore the law, and a polite request and then get confrontational about it I'm not going to back down. I could just drop the next charging dog since I was in fear for my safety and the safety of my property (dog) but that does nothing but create problems and isn't a solution in the long term.

      I have leash law information to hand out, I'm a volunteer to help educate people on the laws and the consequences. I'm not just a talker, I'm going to fight for what is right be it guns, free speech, leash laws, etc.

      If the majority wanted to turn a portion of the open space into an off leash park I would be the first one to sign up on the petition, to dig a fence post hole, contribute money, etc. I give more money to dog related causes via work and our own bank accounts than any other cause.

    2. Well, I see your point but I'm not inclined to put as much stress on "the law" as you are. We have a number of laws here, instituted by people from Florida who live up here part time. One of them is that every cat must have a license and wear a tag. Our county built a beautiful park on land paid for by public taxes, and we all enjoyed it. Then the "half way backs" decided that they didn't like having dogs there, so dogs were banned. So were kids on bicycles, and skateboards which is what the park was built for anyway. But a vocal, active minority can get laws passed that would, if obeyed, compel everyone to toe a minority view line. I think, based on your observation that so many don't lease their dogs, your leash laws may fall into that effect.

      Personally, I agree with Robert Heinlein who said " "I am free, no matter what rules surround me.
      If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them;
      if I find them too obnoxious, I break them."

      Everything you said about why you believe in leashes is absolutely valid. Your argument is a good one. However, I doubt you will be able to change the majority view on this issue. By "majority" I'm not talking about people who don't own dogs, because they really don't count. They may vote but since they are not "actionable" they are phantoms.

      When you go out with your dog, you are really looking for some peace and tranquility. Running into unleashed dogs destroys that for you. So the practical thing is to find somewhere you can go that others don't. It would be easy here, but I don't know about your part of Colorado.

      Good luck with it.

    3. If we lived elsewhere this probably wouldn't be an issue, it wasn't an issue growing up in the woods of N.H. This area is a lot more civilized, 750K+ people spread over the county.
      All of the national forest access is closed, the roads are gated and fenced, I would need to drive 30 minutes to find an area that might work so we could be left alone.

      We are happier to walk 5 minutes and hope that we can perhaps enlighten 1 person, who can enlighten another, etc. I doubt it, but when dealing with this sort of attitude, I doubt it:

      A co-worker told me she will no longer use the area since she can't afford the $150 it would cost for her 3 dogs being off leash if she gets a ticket. Her dogs are cute and friendly, why should she need leashes.

      and now it's snowing!

  3. Hmmm, dog dragging a person. That reminded me of something...

    Greetings from germany,


    1. Thanks for stopping by, that's the exact visual I had myself!