Thanks, I totally agree. I try to listen to my gut, rude or not! And always better to be on the safe side.
My girl is pretty awesome. She's friendly or aloof with people in general, but when I want her on- she's on and she looks quite intimidating. It was just a sketchy situation, and when he just kept coming, past my big friendly goof of a boy-dog, I knew it was time to get my other dog out of the car.
It was interesting to see the obvious breed differences, too. My male dog doesn't have an ounce of protective behavior in his DNA, while the balance in my shepherd is amazing. Kind of cool to see that play out.
I have been meaning to read the "Gift of Fear" I've heard it recommended a few times. The idea of listening to my gut was in my mind during this whole thing- I didn't want to have regrets (or not be able to have any). Stuff happens in the woods and people do disappear. And while I love nothing more than a trail run with my dogs, there is a reason I have shepherds.
We taught the behavior and then put a cue to it with Sabi. I chose that noise because it's quiet and I have to say it was one of the more useful tricks I have ever taught! She was a PPD but there were occasions that I just wanted her to make lots of big scary dog noise, and that's what I used it for.
I don't need to teach Shadow anything, lol. The only thing she resource guards is me! And while she will meet people, she is really pretty vocal about strangers stepping in on me unless I control it before she starts.
Two things stop most men in their tracks. Head up, shoulders back and direct eye contact. People who look like victims become victims.
Use your words. A firm BACK UP usually does the trick. If you need to be polite add please. Maintain your space.
I seldom let people within arms reach, and I always trust my gut. But in reading your story one thing caught my attention, you moved away. Try to avoid that. It instantly gives the person approaching psychological control. If that person is a predator you can seal your fate simply by backing up. If you have to move to maintain distance step sideways or angle your body, but avoid backing up.
Keep your girl close. She did a good job!