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Pedestrian Safety

Hi John,
I am a triathlon coach and would like to talk to you about dogs. I’m not sure if you are aware but dogs can be a very serious threat to athletes as they are out in the country training. I have a number of athletes who have some very serious issues with dogs. More than a few of my friends have been injured by dogs while riding their bikes in the country. I was wondering if you would be interested in helping me help these athletes find ways go about their business without bothering farm dogs. 
Shawn R.
Hi Shawn,
You’re correct, dogs in the country are a danger. I have been attacked by dogs in the country as has pretty much anyone I know that walks/runs/cycles the county roads. Other then strategies that are going to temporarily or permanently harm the dog all you can do is to pester the authorities until they do something about it.
In the city, if you ask someone to put their dog on a leash or control it when you walk by you’re far more likely to get, “Oh, he’s okay.” and they do nothing, but just as likely to be ignored or worse cursed at. Once after 3 requests to have a dog put on a leash in a public area I had to defend my dog from getting creamed by another dog; then I had to defend myself from the dog owner for doing so. I wish I could say this is the exception but it’s not. (inconsiderate dog owners, not me getting into fights).
Dog people are generally a good lot. They find room in the lives and their hearts to provide a loving home for an animal but for many its as if the they made room in their hearts by cleaning out the part reserved for consideration for others. As hard as it may be for some dog owners to believe not everyone loves their little ‘Pookey’ as much as they do. Some people have had truly traumatic experiences with dogs, others have had their own close calls and know better then to believe, “Oh he’s okay.” Some cultures are completely unfamiliar with dogs and are frightened by them. Our elderly out for strolls are consistently terrorized by inconsiderate dog owners. Many have been startled into falling or actually knocked over as the result of a “friendly” inquiry from a dog with an inconsiderate dog owner. I know of some with lives that have been irreversibly effected. Why? Because some dog owners think their dogs have the same rights as any other person in the public arena and other people need to be more tolerant of their “cuteness.” It would be interesting to witness their reaction were every now someone walking by were to suddenly poke their nose into their crotch, put a muddy paw on their clothing, knock them over, lick their face, and heck while we’re at it, hump their leg; all things I’ve seen pedestrians endure from poorly controlled dogs.
Here’s a challenge for fellow dog owners. For one day, while walking your dog, step far enough to the side to allow a pedestrian to walk by. I guarantee you will literally see looks of gratitude in peoples eyes and be thanked out loud by some. If nothing else you’ll learn that good manners never go out of style.
Pawsitively Yours,
John Wade

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