Dogged by bad luck?

Early this morning I forced myself out of bed in order to do a hill training session.  This involved a 15 minute warm up jog to the hill, a steep grassland slope about 200 metres long but which feels much longer.  My aim was to complete ten of these efforts, each interspersed by a recovery jog that takes a slightly longer but less steep route back to the start point. As I completed the recovery phase following my seventh effort, I was met by a pair of excitable spaniels who ran towards me (or more specifically my legs), and invaded my personal space in what could be generously described as an energetic and friendly  manner, but less generously might be seen as an intimidating and aggressive manner.  The owner, who seemed (and I’m sure was) a  nice enough guy, said something along the lines of “Don’t worry, it’s just their way of saying hello”.  I’m sure that this was most likely the case, but when they get so close, with teeth prominent, ears pricked and hair up, there’s  just a little part of me that thinks one of them might just take a wee bite.  I dealt with this by slowing even further to a walk to ensure that they didn’t think I was running away and see this as a fun game (with me the game).

I knew there was a chance that we would meet again as I looped back and began my next hill sprint, but was hoping that my new friends would have moved on by then.  Unfortunately, the reunion came just as I reached the end of the very steep section, and was about to move onto the moderately steep bit, where I would endeavour to stride out as far as the lactate in my legs would allow.  Determined not to be hindered, I kept going as the dogs approached, but approach they did, and it was impossible not to alter my stride as otherwise I might well have tripped over one or both dogs.  Just after this brief interaction, I felt a twinge in my left hamstring and perhaps wisely decided to abandon this particular training session and walk home  before I did any further damage. I had been tempted to turn around and point out to the gentleman that his failure to control his mutts had potentially undermined months of preparation and sabotaged my hopes of completing my first marathon in the foreseeable future.  Thankfully, I thought better of this, and the prompt decision to curtail the session, along with a spell on the massage roller, has hopefully ensured that I won’t be out of action for more than a day or two.

Friend or foe?

Now, I like dogs on the whole and can see their attraction.  They often look cute, they are loyal (for example, aggressively scaring off perceived threats such as runners minding their own business)  and they provide companionship and someone who appears to listen without answering back.  I also agree that it is much more enjoyable and beneficial for both hound and owner if they are able enjoy the countryside without being constantly attached to each other by a leash, even one that could double as a measuring tape for the javelin.  But if you are going to do this, then the mutt needs to be properly trained, in order to  learn that it is not socially acceptable to get up close and personal with people who are not familiar to them.  I could make one or two suggestions as to how you might go about doing this, but I think it’s safest to advise that you seek expert assistance if you own a dog that exhibits elements of antisocial behaviour.

6 Replies to “Dogged by bad luck?”

  1. Very enjoyable read. Glad you been able to look back on this occasion on the the funny side. Hopefully it will not be a regular occurrence and word gets out to dogs everywhere.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for the amusing comment. I do believe that dogs can smell fear, but hopefully I will be OK since I mostly find them annoying rather than frightening.

  2. Hi Cynthia. Thank you. It’s reassuring to know that a responsible owner like yourself is supportive of my viewpoint and concerns. And thanks for your good wishes re getting back out running.

  3. “Giving dog owners everywhere a bad name”. Ugh. I’m sorry this happened. As a dog owner (and I am), one needs to understand that not everyone wants to stop and play with your dog. Some people don’t even like your dog. And letting your dog chase anyone is inexcusable. I apologize in the name of responsible dog owners everywhere! I hope you weren’t out of action for long.

  4. I’m glad all worked out for you and understand your frustration. I encountered a similar situation several years ago, and although I’m an animal lover and have owned dogs, I’m always cautious around dogs that I don’t know. Especially when running and they are running after me.

    I wish people would care more for their animals for their safety as well as other peoples safety, and I hope your next training session goes smoothly.

    1. Hi Willow. Thank you for your empathetic response. I have also been a dog owner in the past and it’s reassuring (but also concerning) to know that others who are generally aware of how to act around animals feel much the same. Thanks for your good wishes re my next training run. Perhaps I’ll take some doggie treats as a distraction.

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