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That pretty much sums up my lovely hike in a state forest Saturday! Stokes Forest, in Sussex NJ

I did the right things and skipped club on Saturday. Both of my dogs had the runs. I was 99% sure they got a batch of grind with too much organ meat..they were eating playing..just had dark runny stool. There is a puppy at the club and another member has a bitch about to give birth so I did not want my dogs to lay down some poop I could not pick up. Called the vet, she said bring them in Monday if it doesn't stop. It stopped.

So, we go for a hike in the woods Saturday instead of Club. I was extremely happy with both dogs. It was a narrow trail, lots climbs and rocky in some points. I had Valor on a 8 foot leather lead. We saw a deer about 15 yards away, Valor keyed on him, I called him to me, asked him to sit, and he did not move a muscle when the deer crashed away. Well, he quivered. He did not need any leash corrects at all and he did not break his sit. He came immediately when called and listened. Same with chipmunks. AND the best part, when other hikers suddenly appeared around bends he was totally neutral. I give way and have him sit and let them by. Lots of compliments.That is quite an accomplishment for Mr. Suspicious Spock. He has come such a long way and I am proud of him.

Just when things were feeling really good, really A-Ok we hit a crest with a field, and we hear bells. Like cows are running through the woods. Out of the thicket emerge 2 Airedales with bells on their necks and they make a beeline for our dogs . I yelled at 2 hikers to control their dogs, they said they were not the owners.

Now, Valor appears to be dog aggressive if left unchecked. When I first had him there were lots of hard corrections for aggressive lunges at other dogs. Now he is neutral, he knows he is not allowed to do that. I had no idea however how he was going to handle this show. I had him platz and blibe. He kind of got up a few times ( I mean there was another dog jumping on him) but he mostly listened and heeded "leave it". I am sure there are a ton of things I could have done better but I was really startled and in "here we go" mode. My other dog just did what he does best...act mortified like he is going to die.

So here come the owners finally and by this time I am livid. I yelled to call his dogs off of mine. He had ZERO control over his dogs. Zero recall. They completely ignored their owners and continued to pounce all over our dogs. Argument escalates. I yelled you should not have them off lead if they are not in your control! He said..and I will leave out the 10,000 F bombs he used...who has a dog on a lead in the woods? Go back to the city, you're fat. He also yelled "It's not my fault you have a wolf" He yelled he was going to report an aggressive wolf. My dogs were both just sitting there waiting for it to please God end. Well Ruger was. Valor appeared to be ...curious? What are these bouncy curly things? Maybe only big confident males set him off, who knows. By the grace of God these two didn't make him reactive. I mean training is good but you can't blame training on being that chill about it.

Anyway, we attempt to walk away, yelling control your dogs so we can leave, etc etc...and their dogs are coming with. They liked us! So they were going to hike with us instead. Great control over your 2 dogs, right? So he walks up to his dog that is actually heeling with me and Valor and I got concerned because Valor did not like the yelling man approaching. I asked Valor to leave it, and watch me, He did. I had his agitation collar and at one point I made the mistake of grabbing it and I felt him tense up and I was like no...no...don't grab the collar he thinks it is bite work time. (that all happened in like the 8 seconds while the guy was storming down the path towards me to get his 2 dogs.) So I just had Valor on the lead attached to his prong. Thank God he listened.

The guy had a heck of a time keeping his 2 dogs from running back to my dogs..cursing US out the whole time. I just started taunting and saying yeah look how well you can control your dogs off lead, they want to come with us, not you, I don't blame them. No I shouldn't have taunted but I was in full fight/flight because my boyfriend is with me and I was really worried things could turn into a full altercation.

We had witnesses and they were all on our side...and hey, I like to let the dogs run too. BUT this is a Sate trail and there are very bold signs that say dogs must be on lead. It is a popular path and has to be shared by all types. Some people are afraid of dogs. Some people have DA dogs, or frightened dogs like my Ruger. With no off lead control they also are free to harass wildlife as they wish.

Which brings me to the Porcupine.So we hiked the other way and after 15 or 20 minutes passed we thought that would be enough distance to keep between us. We headed back down the mountain taking our time hoping to not encounter them again. Passed another 2 hikers, older couple. We pulled of the path and had our 2 sit so they could pass. The hikers said "so nice to see considerate dog owners". Yep, they encountered them too. The Airedales blazed past them on the trail (trail is like 2ft wide in some spots 3 to 4ft wide in others). The gentlemen was terrified of dogs and did not deserve that surprise. They had words as well. Another 15 minutes or so and we see another hiker who said be careful, there are 3 off lead dogs down the trail. 2 Airedales and a mix, and they all got into a fight. Then one of the Airedales spotted a Porcupine and killed it but got a face full of quills.

Oh. Now I feel awful for the 2 dogs. It's not their fault they have ignorant owners. They killed the baby Porcupine too. I wonder if the owners will finally take a hint?

On an interesting side note..when my dogs passed the point of the Porcupine incident they both were startled. The poor creature was off the path, however the Airedale that got quilled must have dropped his scent glands. Valor usually doesn't spook. He wanted nothing to do with that smelly area on the ground though.

I was hoping to run into them in the parking lot and get a plate. They were gone though.

I did stuff wrong, and will learn from this. I should have forgotten about going back and forth arguing and concentrated on the dog at the end of my lead. There was some praise deserved there and I could have been watching better to see if things were going to go south. I reverted to commands we had dropped when we started the focused heel. "Watch me". Well, he remembered it so that is good.

Funny, I didn't react to being called fat (hey I could lose 10 pounds but whatever lol) I was reactive to him saying this was all my fault for having an aggressive dog and he kept saying he was a wolf. THAT bothered me because my boy was sitting there doing all the right things while his mom lost it lol It still bothers me. The NERVE of them thinking people don't belong on that trail unless they are open and accepting to physical contact from their dogs.

You know how there is always the ONE thing you wish you said? I thought it but didn't say it..that if they can't recall their dogs they run the risk of also getting hurt by wildlife. RIP little baby Porcupine.

Any ideas of what I could have done differently are welcome. I realized my plan for a fight was to let the lead go and try to separate by hindquarters. What IS the best thing to do if your dog starts brawling with an off lead dog? I have been told holding the lead is useless and grabbing collars is a great way to get bitten badly. Discuss.
 

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Ugh...this is why my husband and I backpack deep into the backcountry. We have gone a day or two without seeing a single person. Locally, we tend to hike off trail where no one goes. These situations SUCK!


I guess my only recommendation, Monday quarterbacking here, would be not to engage the idiot owners in a screaming match (as tempting as it is) amongst the chaos that's happening with the dogs.


If I was screaming and visibly upset, that would put my adult male into a heightened state making the whole situation worse. I would have to remain calm and in control. We have come across a few unruly dogs on the trail.
 

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Agreed. That is something I will control next time :) They were nice Airedales. Very friendly and curious. Just not trained at all. And one took a snoot full of quills for it and a baby Porcupine got killed:(
 

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I know some people carry sticks to hit off-leash dogs that aren't leaving them alone or are not under their owners control. In this case I'm sure you hitting the dogs with a stick would have made the situation worse with the owner. I personally would have kicked the dogs, and that would not have helped. It's always so hard to know what to do.

I also would have tried to get the owner's license plate number and call animal control. Be very proud of your dogs for staying under control.
 
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Thank you :) Yes I was hoping to run into them in the parking lot to get a plate. It is a State police jurisdiction.

I am not one that feels dogs should live their lives on a lead at all..but a shared popular trail is just not that place for that. Valor has excellent recall, but I leash him there out of consideration. Someone walking around the bend does not deserve to pucker when they see an unleashed big dog that they know nothing about.

I think in this case hitting his dogs in anyway would have brought it to fistfight levels. They were friendly anyway. But yeah..when I heard from the 2nd hiker there were dogs fighting I picked up a stick. I carry bear spray but that tends to affect all involved and it is painful. I'd only attempt that with an obvious angry charging dog.
 

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@Slamdunc has a small powerful led strobe flashlight.He says if that strobe is flashing in your eyes(or a dog's)you literally can't see anything.That's what he uses on the street for bad guys and the occasional rushing dogs.
My dogs have met up with porcupines a few times.Usually just a few quills I can remove myself.Once Misty got a whole face full and several in her mouth,so off to the vet she went.The quills don't seem to bother them but pulling them out is painful.The darn things show up after dark in our yard sometimes:(
 
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OMG, what a couple of experiences. I know it is after the fact but if you yell, you only build up tension in your dogs and you risk getting you or the dogs shot by these idiots. What has helped me a few times now to ward off nasty dogs, is to blow a referee whistle (for my dogs it is the emergency recall) at full strength and keep the dog(s) behind me, looking mean at the charging dogs and making myself big. I have that whistle always ready on trails, incl. Direct Stop (citrus spray).
I assume the whistle is less confrontational as I am not interacting with the owners. You cannot reason with these people anyways, but with the dogs I seem to have better luck.
 

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@Slamdunc has a small powerful led strobe flashlight.He says if that strobe is flashing in your eyes(or a dog's)you literally can't see anything.That's what he uses on the street for bad guys and the occasional rushing dogs.
My dogs have met up with porcupines a few times.Usually just a few quills I can remove myself.Once Misty got a whole face full and several in her mouth,so off to the vet she went.The quills don't seem to bother them but pulling them out is painful.The darn things show up after dark in our yard sometimes:(
I actually do have one of those tactical lights. It is like 1,200 lumens and is blinding. Has a strobe feature too. That is a good idea to carry it.

And I am definitely disappointed I yelled back. They did get into a scuffle with another dog down the trail. Hope the reconsider their stance on the affable dogs. I was worried about the 2 Airedales safety and also not happy my little mix was terrified. I mean, cars driving over manhole covers do that to him, but still.
 

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The owner(s) of those dogs are so careless.


Rusty does hike off leash with us at times. Because of the navigating we do in some areas, it's actually safer for him to be off leash. Heck, sometimes he's harnessed and attached to my husband. Other times he's leashed. If we're in an area that's populated, he's always leashed. Even though he could be recalled back immediately. He also is never out of our sight, usually 15 feet max. He's so good & wants to keep eyes on us anyway.


Everything we do has his safety in mind. Other hikers will never have issues with us.
 

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I don't have an issue with off-leash dogs, but I would have an issue with being accosted. In similar circumstances, I can be pretty understanding if the owner is contrite and apologizes, but I'd be livid if someone blamed me and insulted my dogs for their own bad behavior and poor training. Too bad the Airedales and a porcupine had to pay for their owner's ignorance. Sounds like you can be proud of Ruger and Valor though. I used to have a dog-aggressive GSD and it drove me crazy when people would let their dogs confront us off leash, usually hollering "it's okay, he's friendly."
 

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I plan my hikes and runs for off hours- little used trails or go to places I know I have good line of sight. Nobody but nobody wants to encounter a bunch of "wolves" (ha ha) out on the trails and my dogs' safety and wellbeing is my #1 priority.

I don't usually have a huge issue with strange dogs, they tend to leave us alone when we step off the trail. I try my best to NOT run into strange dogs out there, or people for that matter. And when I do, I step well off trail.
 

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The title "I'm fat, he is a wolf, and a porcupine died" reminded me of a few assignments we got in high school; the teacher would write 3 random quotes or words on the bord and we had to write an essay, incorporating these in a coherent story.
OP, you did pretty good on that.
 

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I'm fine with offlead dogs too. I think it is the pits to have to have a dog always on lead. If someone has an off lead dog and they recall him no problem, I have no issue. I have no issue with apologetic either. Anyone can always misjudge and give too much rope too soon. It was the attacking us, insinuating it was my dogs that were the issue that got to me. I yelled first "control your dogs please " and the first reply out of his mouth was an Ahhhhhh F you! I should have just continued walking with his dogs following us closely lol Make him run to catch up. If I didn't stop moving, his dogs weren't going to stop.

They had bells on their dogs and were pretty far back from them. It wasn't off lead so much as running loose in the woods. There are plenty of less traveled areas to do that around that area. But, it's a trafficked portion of the Appalachian Trail. They were very cute dogs, I was severely annoyed at having to pucker because something furry and cute was literally bouncing on my GSD who can be, historically, not so cute.

Moving swiftly along though..as much as I would like to think ...ahem...stellar training kept Valor calm, I have to say he was genuinely just nonplussed over the interlopers. Maybe he isn't dog aggressive? He would lunge and snarl when I first got him and we corrected the bejesus out of it and he stopped. He isn't "outgoing" and only mildly interested when he sees other dogs now. Like, he looks at them but makes no overtures at all. When we train at club or with my friend he can walk feet away from another in training and ignore them.

And he LOVES his little Ruger. Ruger is the main distractor if he is with us when training.

I won't let my guard down at this point at all..but maybe he isn't dog aggressive?
 

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the title "i'm fat, he is a wolf, and a porcupine died" reinded me of a few assignment we got in high school; the teacher would write 3 random quotes or words on th ebord and we had to write an essay.
Op, you did pretty good on that.
lolol
 

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One thing to "try" to do in this scenario is to film the interaction. However, I know from experience that I am very bad at doing that in the heat of the moment. Any fight in the high school is instantly shared with the entire nation, so go figure, the kids are on it. Guess it's just a reflex for them.
 

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Wow! What a hike, and Valor is the most shepherdy wolf I've ever seen. ?
I'm really sorry it was such a crazy experience, though. Your dogs did a wonderful job remaining calm. In the same situation, I doubt I could have kept my mouth shut either. Unfortunately my pup would have reacted at that point. The fact they stayed calm when you reacted, just shows how strong and well trained they are. Even if poor Ruger was terrified. All you can do is learn from the mistakes made, and keep up the awesome work with your dogs, unfortunately we can't fix the stupidity and ignorance of other people unwilling to learn from their own mistakes.
RIP little porcupine. ?
 

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So sorry you had to endure that encounter. Your dogs did great! I doubt I would’ve kept my cool, either, I’m sorry to say. Well, there’s always something to work on, right? Kudos to you for your well-trained dogs.
 

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The title of this thread sound like a bad Canadian movie! And when I read it late last night I just had to know. I'm glad it turned out ok and your dogs are alright and sorry you had such a sucky experience.
 

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CometDog, that sounds like a scene in a bizarre movie.Talk softly (not at all) and carry a big can of mace. Do not verbally engage with idiots, things will only deteriorate . If an off leash dog will not leave when you yell No Bad Dog Go Home and attacks your dog, spray it in the face. If the owner tries to attack you spray them in the face. I'm so glad we live in the country. I have come out and found a woman asking to give water to my dog, who had just come from and was returning to the house. I said no, thats all right and she got all in my face and insisted. I said I really do not need you to tell me how to take care of my dog. Things escalated from there. Best to say nothing, just take your dog and leave. This is my policy from now on. Do not engage.
 
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