The biggest issue I’ve had since being back with Makiko has nothing do with my handling skills or her guiding skills or behavior whatsoever… It has to do with the lack of responsibility of other dog owners.
We were only like a week back from guide dog school or something and that is when the little off leash dog ran up to us while we were working. Now, the dog was a puppy and I knew it wasn’t threatening Makiko physically or anything but it was threatening our guide work in a way. Because that dog was running around in front of us, jumping on us, etc. The owner eventually was able to catch this bundle of fire. I wasn’t that mad about this one the first time. It was annoying and I was like why isn’t the owner trying harder?! </em but I wasn't mad. However this past weekend I was leaving my apartment and it happened again! This time the owner came up and noticed I was stressed and anxious and said “He won’t bite.” Now, I was having a bad day so I might have been a little unnecessarily snippy but I said, “I know he won’t bite but he is interfering with her ability to guide me.” It came across nicer than it sounds here. I think the owner got the point though.
What really has me on edge was a different dog encounter. Makiko and I were working. I was running a bit late because I was sick that day and was just more slow than normal so we were working at a brisk pace when all of a sudden this HUGE German shepherd was in our faces. Makiko started to work around the dog when the dog made it clear he was not going to let us move. Makiko put her head against my leg and you could tell she didn’t know what to do. Heck, neither did I! So I said “Sir, can you please call your dog?” I had noticed the dogs owner nearby. (Benefit of being partially sighted). He very very casually called his dog. Didn’t work. I tried moving again while he was calling his dog. Nope, we weren’t able to go anywhere still. So I ask the owner again, with more frustration and anxiety in my tone, “Sir!! Will you please call your dog? We need to go.” And he casually calls the dog again, to no avail. He really wasn’t trying very hard, as if it was a joke. So we try again… “Sir. You need to call your dog. Interfering with a working guide dog team is a felony.” And guess what?! That worked!!! No apologies, nothing.. But at least he called his dog. So that was very intimidating. If Makiko is attacked by another dog, even if she isn’t physically injured too severely, she still may not be able to go back to work if she has lasting psychological trauma from that and it interferes with her guide work. I haven’t even been home with her a month. That would devastate me.
That day didn’t really get much better. So we were now running super late at this point, the bus was running late, once on the bus this girl tried to pet Makiko and when I asked her please don’t she replied “oh sorrrrrrry” with a rude tone, and then as we are crossing the street, all other cars stopped but this one car decided as we were half way across the street that he couldn’t wait anymore so he crossed really really close to us. Then when we get there Makiko has to use the restroom, and she is still a little shaky after the dog incident. So we make it to class but we are late. Everything ended up working out just fine and Makiko went back to being her normal self. But geez that was a rough day. She handled herself really well though.
So today one of my best friends was picking me up and so Makiko and I were outside relieving as we do before any outing. We had finished and I was just making sure she was done when I heard this ferocious bark. It was that german shepherd coming down the stairs. They live right above me. My fight or flight response kicked in, my heart was racing… So we ran! (Out of harness.) I got to her car SOOO fast! This dog legitimately frightens me. My friend said that the dogs owner couldn’t even control him really. At least he was on leash this time though. But that dog definitely wasn’t trained very well, if at all. Part of me has started to think if it was trained as like a guard dog for this owners apartment or something along those lines but its a HUGE unruly dog living in an apartment.