Safety Tips: Unfamiliar Dog Encounter

This is a question that we get a lot about Rosie. What do we do when we see unfamiliar dogs while hiking, walking, and while we are out and about? The simple answer and general rule is that we do not let random dogs interact with her.

It is different with every situation. When we are hiking, we are vigilant. We watch and listen for dogs and other wildlife along the trail. We have run into every situation you can think of.

Most often are dogs who are on leash with owners who have full control. When that happens, everyone passes each other without a fuss. When owners see us with their on leash dogs and want to interact with Rosie, we usually will say no, unless we can gauge that the dog is completely calm. Most dogs are too excited. Rosie likes dogs who are calm and is uncomfortable when they are too excited (ex. barking, pulling against leash, breathing deeply, and whining).  The video below shows a rare interaction between Rosie and an unfamiliar dog while hiking. We kept it short and moved on quickly.

Off leash dogs are perhaps the ones we watch out for most. Rosie can usually hear them before we can, so we listen to her. We hear them approaching before we see them as well. We hike early in the morning, when there is less traffic along most trails, so it is pretty quiet. As soon as anyone in our group, animals included, hears something out of the ordinary, we pick Rosie up to keep her safe. Rosie absolutely does NOT interact with off leash dogs, same goes for wildlife (ex. wild boars and snakes). She is picked up and someone else in our group and the huskies will act as a buffer for the off leash dog until their owner can get them on leash. For wildlife, we stop and walk around to avoid them.

We had a situation where an off leash dog kept approaching Rosie, even after we had picked her up and someone else was trying to distract him, but it just was not working. The dog kept trying to come close to Rosie. So I, who was handling Rosie at the moment, spun around in really fast circles with Rosie, to confuse the dog. The owner came along and refused to put her dog on leash until I let her know I had a cat. She reluctantly complied, put a leash on her dog and left, of course, not without giving us a piece of her mind first. We chose not to respond or engage, mostly because we did not know how to react without starting an argument.

The most important thing to remember is that safety is above everything. We love going out on adventures with Rosie and would like to continue for years to come.

Here we have a set of guidelines and safety tips that we swear by.

  1. Each animal, dog or cat, must have at least one handler. Rosie usually will have two people handling her. This ensures everyone’s safety and that there are enough people to deal with most scenarios.
  2. When in doubt, pick her up.
  3. Protect them, by any means necessary, even if it means you are spinning in circles.
  4. Never hike alone with your adventure cat, bring at least one friend who can help.
  5. Make sure everyone is safe and comfortable.
  6. Be the voice and advocate for your pet. This means communicating to other owners when they get too close.
  7. If you do allow your pets to interact with others, watch them carefully.
  8. If something seems wrong or off, it probably is, take your normal safety precautions and quickly remove your cat (or dog) from the situation.

Of course, these are just things we do and recommend to others for the safety of our pack and theirs. Have more questions or concerns? Let us know in the comments, we will be happy to answer them!

 

 

4 thoughts on “Safety Tips: Unfamiliar Dog Encounter

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  1. Thank you for that description of how you keep your pack safe! It looks like you have really thought this through and have done everything possible to keep Rosie and the pack safe! I hope you have MANY more years of enjoyable hiking with your pack!

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  2. I just love your posts about Rosie and the Huskies. I wish I could be giving my cat as rich a life!

    One question, I assume you don’t let Rosie or the Huskies hang out the window without being on leashes when you are driving, correct? One thing that makes me crazy is seeing dogs allowed to hang out windows while vehicles are on the move – unless they are securely leashed.

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    1. Hi Susan,

      You are correct! When anyone is hanging out the window, they are on leash and the leash is being held by a human. In Rosie’s case, we hang onto her leash and harness for extra safety! Hope that answers your question! 🙂

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  3. Great tips for all pet owners… I try to be vigilant about walking my dog, even in my neighborhood. There is one neighbor who lets her aggressive Mini-Pin out w/o human, collar or tags. The dog “terrorizes” the neighborhood. After getting my dog home safely, I chased her back to her house. I’ve asked the owner to control/identify her dog, but all she says is “sorry” and blithely goes on her way. We just try to avoid this family/dog.

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