Well, I went for another walk today. Same as always.
Once again, the young girl and her brother were along the path that we have taken every day for the past three years. I used all of the advice I was given - stern voice, very obvious “do not approach” hand language, and put Ryka in a sit behind me. Surprisingly - or maybe unsurprisingly? - she listened to none of it and kept approaching. I simply turned around and walked away. Ignored her completely and just walked in a different direction with my SIL and our dogs. That seemed to work.
Thankfully, Ryka was her normal aloof self. No barking. No growling. Just watchful. And when I ignored the girl and went on our way, she was happy to follow alongside with me. So there’s that. She got plenty of praise and pats for that.
Of course shortly after when we were walking along the strictly on-leash, bi-law sign riddled park, an off-leash dog charged at us. This is the third time this has happened in the past two weeks, each time a different dog. Ironically, the “sit, stay behind me while I sternly say NO and put my hand up” worked with the dog. He tucked tail and ran, though not towards his owner yelling after him... lol.
I feel like the crazies are out. I’ve been doing this walk for two years with Ryka, and three with my SIL. We’ve rarely, if ever had these kinds of constant issues. Maybe once in a blue moon, but lately it’s basically once a week and goodness is it frustrating.
Well, there is something you can do. You can approach your local school board and police department, with a suggestion that during a safety town-type pre-kindergarten program or a grade school demonstration, where police/school can use dogs (kids do pay attention when there is a dog present at school), to teach them to be safe. Schools SHOULD be teaching kids not to approach stray dogs or wild animals, not to approach a working police k9, not to approach a service dog, and HOW TO approach people with dogs. This should be taught in our public school systems as a matter of course. Far too many children have been attacked by dogs and need medical care for these attacks, and have lasting fears/phobias about dogs.
So get the word out there. Make a suggestion that if your police department is going to do a demonstration for the kids, they can add a little blurb about how to approach and ASK permission to pet a dog.
ETA: And folks, please do your part, NEVER, under ANY circumstance, reward a child who does not ask to pet the dog, or who runs up to a dog, by letting them pet your dog. Put on your ugliest BITCH-face, your wicked Witch of the West face, and tell them No! If we continue to reward kids for being rude, they will never learn not to be.