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Leash aggression

This morning our new adventure was to somewhere where we’d been before. I didn’t mind going back because afterward we were going to have breakfast with my friend, who lives nearby. So we went to the really steep and crowded hill where you have to get up really early in the morning to find parking. I don’t think we’ll come back very often, because that place gives Mom some serious leash aggression.

Just like with dogs, human leash aggression happens when the person needs to focus on a lot of stuff (like her leashing partner, and figuring out what the moo-cows are up to, and uneven footing, and a new smell that she can’t get at, and that her wrist watch stopped working). Whatever additional stress you add to that situation — like being pinned in place, or a dumb-bum who is looking at their phone rather than where they’re going — can overwhelm the leash-aggressive human, and they explode with a yank on the leash, or barking “Dammit, Oscar! I’m not playing around!”

The trail is so steep that walking at Mom’s pace was really boring, so I get distracted by smelling the deer poo, dog poo, moo poo and rabbit poo. When I stopped to sniff, it was like when Mom ties me to a sign post or a chair leg: she was stuck on the spot and couldn’t move till I was done sniffing. Sometimes I pinned her down so suddenly that the leash spun her a bit. That made her real grouchy and she growled and tugged on my leash.

The footing was also really bumpy, lumpy and slippy so she REALLY didn’t like when I pulled her downhill toward something exciting like another 4-legged runner. There are a LOT of 4-legged runners on this trail, so I tried to calm Mom down by ignoring them until we were riiiiight next to them, then I would dart suddenly across the trail, pulling her off balance, making her scream at me and yank back.

Mom didn’t just have leash aggression toward furry runners, she was aggressive to the fleshy ones too. Some of the fleshy trail users had a LOT of flesh, and this is a very challenging trail, so they needed to stop and rest. The problem is that the Fleshy Friends traveled in big packs, and just stopped in place wherever the fancy took them, in the middle of the trail blocking Mom’s way. We also keep to the right when we run, but some of the fleshies didn’t know about the rules, and blocked our path. All this made Mom very antsy. She is usually a submissive and polite runner, but today she got aggressive. She looked the other trail users in the eye while she ran straight at them without slowing down, daring them to stay where they were so she could crash into them.

Luckily, for today anyway, she did not get violent with anyone. I think I need to take Mom to quieter trails so that she doesn’t get in a fight and get labeled as “vicious” or have to run with a muzzle. When we got to my Friend’s house, Mom had calmed down and was very relaxed walking around downtown until the restaurant had seating. Then we each had drinks and a helping of eggs for brunch, and Mom was back to her old friendly self.

-Oscar the Pooch



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