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Thread: She's not friendly

  1. #1
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    She's not friendly

    "She's NOT friendly, just so you know!"

    That's what the woman said to me and my son as she struggled to keep her snarling, muzzled dog under control with the leash as they passed us on Old Bridal Path yesterday.

    Somebody help me out with this one. Because I thought (think) this woman was not only an idiot, but completely irresponsible, putting several hundred people (including my 6 and 8 year old boys) in direct danger by bringing her dog with her on that hike. Where is the wisdom here? Not only is this unsafe, how could it possibly by fun to struggle to control a 50-60 lb dog for 9 miles over difficult terrain, passing by people every couple of minutes? I really regret not saying something pointed to this woman. And believe me, I'm not one to offer advice, ever. But I can't get my mind around this one.
    Sure. Why not.

  2. #2
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    I completely agree, totally irresponsible. Fortunately, people like her are the exception rather than the rule.
    Spencer
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  3. #3
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    Can't exactly be fun for the dog either, and possibly cruel. Could it even breathe climbing like that all muzzled up? Makes no sense at all.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  4. #4
    Member Greenmountaingoat's Avatar
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    I'm guessing it's tough to give up on the dream of having a 4 legged hiking companion. People adopt dogs and hope that they're good hikers only to discover that the dog is stressing out the whole time. Hopefully she had resolved that yesterday was the last time. We lucked out; our rescue is about as friendly and charming as could be.

    My wife was bitten by a dog on a part of the Long Trail 4 years ago. Not traumatically but did draw a little blood. I was ready to bite its owner back.

    Lafayette is too beautiful for its own good. Last time we were there people were like ants on an anthill. Not my idea of fun watching people going off trail and trampling vegetation.
    NH 31/48 ADK 26/46 NE 65/115

  5. #5
    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    I have a dog-reactive dog that we bring when we can, but it's gotta be a less popular trail. She stays on leash the whole time and we're constantly on the lookout for other dogs (and will pull her off trail to let others pass). She desperately wants to play, but wasn't socialized so has no idea how. She's getting better, but it's definitely a lot more work to bring her. So, I certainly appreciate someone wanting to get a dog outside and get it exercise (especially if it's a rescue dog), but the Franconia loop would be close to the bottom of my list. I'd be curious where you came across them, and if you know they completed the loop.

    There are several theories that could explain this situation, with many involving ignorance or obliviousness regarding the situation. The more cynical explanations involve someone 'exercising their rights' with no real reason. The former group can learn from their experience and feedback, the latter is likely aware but does not care to change. Without more information, it's difficult to come to an accurate conclusion.

    As for you, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself for not being confrontational - there are worse traits a person can posses (or lack).
    | 63.8% W48: 19/48
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  6. #6
    Senior Member nartreb's Avatar
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    Only tangentially related, but your headline reminded me of a situation I found myself in a few years ago.

    I was dog-sitting, took the dog to a local park for a walk a couple of times a day. Kept her on leash the whole time, made sure she stayed well clear of other dogs (she's fine with people).

    One day, a dog comes running up off leash (in violation of local ordnance). Owner, well behind, calls out, "he's friendly!"

    My response: "SHE's not!"

    Of course this owner was unable to restrain her dog. Nobody was bitten, but tempers flared.

    I would NOT take a dog like the one I was walking that day on a narrow trail, nor anyplace as crowded as Mt Lafayette.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    That's to bad. I've been very lucky with my Aussie, very few bad encounters. Of course, I will not join the conga line on FRT in the summer, no thank you. As far as bad dog's, we have run into only one so far. He was way ahead of his owners (they were not even in sight) ran up to us on the Liberty Spring trail. I heeled my dog as he basically attacked me dog. I let my dog go so he could defend himself, then unfortunately, I had to resort to kicking the dog twice which stopped him cold. Just then the owners appeared in time to see what I had done. The man started to yell at me. I won't go into further details from that point. Its amazing how ignorant people are in regards to their dogs. The lady you ran into is frankly an idiot and is asking for trouble from both a liability standpoint and what could turn into a physical scene. I will protect my dog by any means, I have at my disposal. The worst part about it, it's not the dogs fault, it falls squarely on the owners. If you take your dog out in public, they should be trained for it period.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    All good thoughts. We passed this woman fairly low on Old Bridal path, maybe a mile in. It's possible she was out for a short walk, or soon saw the error of her ways and turned around. No way to know, though we stopped for a solid 30 minutes once we hit the brook to splash water on our faces (and for the boys to throw rocks in, because what could be more fun than that?!), and we did not see her return. The woman (owner?) looked fairly stressed out; I didn't get the feeling she was of the 'It's my right' ilk. If I were to guess, I'd say she was having a hard time 'giving up the dream.' Well put. She doesn't yet see the liability for everyone involved. Rosey glasses firmly in place.

    And yes, Lafayette IS too beautiful for its own good. That is the truth. That's another topic entirely.
    Sure. Why not.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Hillwalker's Avatar
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    My dogs and I used to ascend Lafayette by way of Skoocumchuck to avoid people. We would usually sit alone on North Lafayette and watch the people crawling all over the nearby summit. Rarely would we meet other hikers on Skook or on N. Lafayette. I highly recommend that way up with dogs. Problem...no loop.
    loop

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    Last edited by Hillwalker; 05-22-2017 at 04:28 PM.

  10. #10
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    More and more inconsiderate people out there. And many who are not purposely inconsiderate are simply aloof -- like the people who do not even look before crossing a street. That isn't much better. It just doesn't cross their minds as to how their behavior might (rationally) affect others. And then there are the people who freak out about everything everyone else does, projecting their fears about everyone else's potential behavior. In your case, I totally agree that this other person was in the wrong entirely.

  11. #11
    Senior Member John in NH's Avatar
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    Brian,

    I was bit pretty significantly by a dog in the summer of 2014. Rounded the bend to a viewpoint on a local trail here in Concord NH and had two Australian Cattle dogs (off leash) immediately run from their owner 200 feet away who was sitting having a snack break. One of them circled around me and big down on my calf and stayed clamped on with tearing motions for 15 whole seconds (which felt like a lot longer than that) and gave me a 6 inch long wound in the shape of the dogs jaw with a few deeper puncture wounds, one of which was near a major vein which a doctor said would have caused bleeding that would be difficult to stop in the field if it had hit it. Being a quick local hike I had nothing but a water bottle. The dog was a rescue dog. Owner was compliant on providing me rabies certification, but never even offered so much as to buy me new pants.

    My oldest daughter was bit 3 times by dogs by the time she was five years old.

    A few years later at the same place in Concord I had a woman's dog (off leash) charge and lunge at me aggressively (huge breed). This time I had my poles which I used to push the dog away. The dog was so out of control that the owner actually gave up on calling it back and she walked away from me down trail and left the dog with me, continuing attempted attacks. I couldn't believe it. I called out for her to get her dog back. She said she just got him as a rescue that week! She finally came back after I threatened to call the police.

    There have been many other times on trail dogs have been aggressive to me. Last summer I had my five year old daughter climb Kearsarge (South) with me on her own power. She was proud and amazed at the summit views. 2 minutes later, an unleashed dog violently growling attacked a leashed dog, pinning the woman who owned the leased dog underneath. 40 feet away from where we were sitting. Scared my 5 year old and ruined her first big hike with daddy.

    The sad thing is before the bite incident, I had no fear or ill will towards dogs (or dog owners). Now I honestly do. I have logged 6000 backcountry miles and have had 5 solo bear encounters and been followed by a pack of coyotes alone. Dogs bother me more than the aforementioned situations or anything else on trail.

    And I don't feel safe bringing my now 6 year old, 3.5 year, or 10 month old daughters only popular trails anymore. I almost brought my daughter on the hike I got bit on--she was 3 and the thought of that dog biting her on the neck instead of my calf is a scary one.

    This trend of irresponsible dog owners is increasing. Some of them seem to have no regard for other's safety including little children, the sanctity of a wilderness experience, or fear of being sued. I will sadly be avoiding 4k's this year because of this. It seems that the greater a locations draw on social media, particularly facebook, the great the number of inexperienced dog owner "hikers" who like posting selfies with their newly minted unleashed canine "hiker" pals on facebook. I have noticed a few people reporting being bit by dogs this winter on newenglandtrailconditions.com in the dog comments section.

    But at least this woman in your story had a leash, muzzle, and she admitted he's not friendly. Usually all I hear is "he's friendly" as they barrel down on me growling.
    Last edited by John in NH; 05-22-2017 at 08:31 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    I've been bitten twice over the last decade after zero for decades. The worse was on the SRKG stretch just to the west of the Mt. Sunapee ski trails. A very clear sign at the bottom said "No pets" but a well-dressed trio of humans didn't even leash an Airedale as they descended, and rounding a corner he bit me hard enough to break the skin. Before I could even ask for rabies ID, they sped off, apparently fearful of photography. So I had to have rabies shots. The prior time was the usual "He's friendly" variety.

  13. #13
    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    I'd point out too that injury isn't always the result of a vicious dog biting. I ran into a woman with an off leash dog two years ago. Forget what breed but it was probably in the 40 lb range size wise, about knee high at the shoulder. The dog was having so much fun and was so excited to see another person that it came at me full speed. I'm a huge dog lover so I didn't feel threatened but then I realized it was not going to slow down at all before it was on me so I started to crouch to absorb the hit and the dog plowed right into my knee and gave it a good tweak. He was happy as hell, tail wagging, kisses, the whole nine yards. I was able to walk it out after a few minutes and it was fine but if that had been a small child who got tackled, hit their head or whatever it could have been a real injury even though it was a happy and friendly dog.
    NH 48 4k: 48/48; NH W48k: 46/48; NY 46: 6/46

  14. #14
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    John (and others), I'm sorry you've had to go through all that. Someone very close to me was bit severely by a mastiff, and I won't go into details because frankly I haven't healed emotionally and probably never will. But suffice to say my attitude has changed too. I grew up with dogs, and while I've never owned one as an adult (don't have the time or energy to support another dependant), I've definitely always considered myself dog-friendly. That has changed. My boys stand eye-level to a good-sized dog, and the amount of damage that can be done in the blink of an eye is hard to fathom. With respect to liability, the family that owned the dog I'm unfortunately now quite familiar with - that family may lose their house if their homeowners insurance policy isn't large enough to cover the claim against them. But I suspect they'd give up their house willingly if they could take back what their dog did.

    [Pause. I don't want this to turn into a dog/owner-bashing thread. Dogs and their owners are NOT all created equal. Still, I feel there is value in understanding people's experiences, especially as trails become more crowded with 2- and 4-legged hikers.]

    I've unfortunately had to speak with a lot of people now about their experiences with dog bites. I've been surprised with the number of people I know personally who have had serious dog bites. It's not something that comes up in every day conversation. It's also a fact that 1/3 of all homeowners insurance claims are dog-bite related. That's a pretty high proportion. Dog bites are common. That's worth knowing. [As an aside, John, the statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits is 3 years. You're still within that timeframe, FYI.]

    Dogs are commonly off-leash in the Whites, even dogs that really shouldn't be. I minimize the risk to my kids by keeping a careful eye out and standing between them and approaching dogs whenever possible. But sometimes my kids are up ahead of me, and it's a tradeoff between letting them feel the magic of leading the way up a trail and the liability of a dog being around the corner. I make that judgement as I go. I really wish people were more responsible and less infatuated with giving their 'rescue' his Call of the Wild moment. I think people forget that dogs aren't capable of complex thought and ARE capable of doing a lot of damage fast. I suppose that's why I regret not saying something to the woman on Bridal Path. She was lacking in perspective.

    I don't think there's an easy solution here. I think more confrontations are inevitable, as are more dog bites. I think some people have lost perspective on the difference between a human and a dog and what each is capable of.
    Sure. Why not.

  15. #15
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    I have had far more positive experiences with dogs in the backcountry over the years than negative ones. Unfortunately I as a non dog owner do tend to remember the exceptions and therefore don't go into what appears to be the natural response of many dog owners to shift the blame to other causes rather than the fundamental issue that they have a poorly trained/socialized pet in a public area. This response may make them feel better but it doesn't do a thing for those impacted by the dogs actions either intentional or accidental.

    On the AT down south off season I have encountered a few unaccompanied dogs that seemed to be aware that the hiking poles I carry can be used as a means of protection. I have had to bat off a few dogs over the years and expect I would have had more issues without the poles. I don't think I could really injure a dog with a pole but expect that a smack with a pole may knock the dog out of whatever instinctual mode its in. I have also had issues in the past with poorly/un trained shepherd type dogs with a herding instinct. They can be real annoying as they tend to circle and attack from behind. I have been tagged by a few, generally they are not out for blood but they can break skin. Inevitably the owner who hasn't taken the time to train their dog are the ones that tend to have the most trite responses if any.

    I have seen several cases where overly friendly dogs have tripped and knocked over folks and in couple of cases this was in dangerous locations. An example of this was hiking that last section of the Osseo trail to the summit of Flume from the south along the edge of the cliff where a large dog came bounding ahead of its owner and knocked a person off balance at the edge of the cliff. Luckily the rather petite person caught themselves. The dog was super friendly and expect it had no evil intent, it was just clueless about it. At the summit when the owner caught up and they were informed by a remarkably polite hiker that the dog almost knocked her off the cliff the response was laughter and the usual "fido didn't mean it". I have seen similar issues on steep sections of Caps Ridge trail.

    I have has numerous occasions where I either observed or was directly impacted by dogs stealing food from folks at summits. Rarely do the owners make any attempt at apologizing or if they are, laughing about it. In most cases the onus is on the others on the summit to hide their food and rarely does the owner even go to trouble of leashing the dog.

    One of the more egregious encounters was on the Webster Jackson trail. We had well a trained dog with our group and as we ascended we heard a large dog barking. We were warned by others coming up the trail to watch out for the dog we could hear. The dog owner in our group attached the lease to their dog and a few minutes later we encountered a group with a large husky Samoyed type dog on leash. This dog was already wound up and went ballistic upon the sight of another dog and the owners were barely able to control it. They yelled at us that if we got well off the side of the trail in the woods that their dog wouldn't attack. It was obvious that they felt this was perfectly acceptable behavior.

    Much as I dislike it, I do have a can of "dog mace". I don't carry it on a trail but did acquire it as means or letting an aggressive dog owner that there could be consequences of allowing a dog to roam and act aggressively. I would much prefer dosing the owner than the dog, but given the potential assault charges I guess fido gets it if nothing else works. I realize this is a last resort and if anything will encourage further aggressive behavior so I hope the can stays unused.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 05-23-2017 at 09:57 AM.

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