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Story Time!
Story Time!

I started my own dog-walking pet sitting business this year after leaving a local dog-walking business in December.  I’ll say it is scarier but I also feel in more control.  That being said there are still times when you have no control of the situation.  I work with every dog on teaching reactive avoidance.  I’ll back-peddle where I turn the dog around while I walk backward.  I get the attention of the dog and keep their attention on me with the help of treats during those really difficult moments.  The idea is to keep the dog from focusing on the thing they are wanting to react negatively towards.  I practice the motions with the dogs so that when an added distraction does happen the dog knows how I want them to react.  It doesn’t take much and can be practiced while on a walk.  I get the dog used to it over the course of a few walks.

Recently I’ve had 2 interactions where I had off-leash dogs around reactive dogs.  Both are where owners are around.  The first one was the worst of the worst.  Not only did the owner not help he started following me to the point I had to call the police and introduce myself to the apartment office to explain the situation.  The second was better because when the owner heard me say the dog I was walking might bite he actually helped run the dog off.

In the first one I was walking this big pitbull.  My guess is he is a chunky Staffordshire Terrier.  The chunky part is important!  It was a cooler day so I was going to try walking him around the outer ring of the apartment complex where he lives.  Pits have a hard time regulating their temperature so with our Tennesse humidity it often feels even hotter and he moves slower.  So I take advantage of the cool days.  We were about halfway around.  I was regretting not grabbing my hoody out of the car, it was that cold.  That’s when I see an off-leash dog running circles around a kid and his dad with the leash and harness in hand.  I groan and get the pit to move quickly to the corner but now we are trapped in the worst spot.  I prep for the encounter by getting the dog's attention and back-peddling when I see the shepherd/border collie dog run around the corner where it saw us run behind.  UGH!  I immediately pull up on the slip lead so I have full control of the dog's head all while keeping him moving.  The loose dog is running circles, bouncing in and out and completely ignoring my stopping and yelling to get him to stay away.  The owner eventually appears with the kids but they aren’t doing anything.  I stomp and yell a good 3-4 more times at the dog, actually getting him to jump back at them a couple of times.  I’m trying to keep the pit from turning on this loose dog and I finally had to say something.  The owner with the leash was standing there useless!  I needed him to jump in and get his dog so I yelled at him, “GET YOU’RE F*****G DOG!”
I just barely had control of the pit trying to keep him distracted and I was getting tired! Not good!  Yeah, I could have said it better but I needed action now!  (The cops told me don’t worry about it.  They said in that situation it’s understandable.  Especially because I was the one with their dog contained.)  The kid is actually the one who caught the dog.  I waited for the kid to get the dogs attention and basically ran past the dad so he would have an opportunity to dive on the dog but the kid tackled him at that time.  I was walking fast but when I was next to the dad all he had to saw was, “Gezz there’s a kid, calm down.”
I turned on him.  I’ll paraphrase because I don’t recall my exact words but it was something like, “This dog has the ability to kill your dog and he’s not friendly.  If he attacks it’s your fault!”
I also yelled F**K! and IRRESPONSIBLE OWNER! as I speed walk the Pitbull back towards home.  I’m on fire and dripping in sweat at that point!  Checking on his slip lead and picking up to a run when we were out of sight.  All that happened on May 23rd.  I let the owner know everything!
I start keeping away from that spot not knowing where they live.  I also keep away from where off-leash dogs have been spotted.  Same week on Thursday while I’m walking the Pitbull I notice a red Chrysler sedan pause as I was walking next to the road.  It’s hovering too close for comfort and going very slow.  A car goes around it and that’s when warning signs go off and I flip around to record the car pulling over to the wrong side of the road towards us.  Almost like he was trying to run us over.  I make sure to get the plates and even call them out in the video.  I just know it’s that owner but the windows are tinted and I can only make out a skinny figure which does fit the guy’s build.  I could also see some tattoos on his wrist which also matched what I remembered.  The car goes around a building as another car passes and I do a 180 in the opposite direction.  Also, the pitbull was pulling back on me not wanting to walk even though we were heading to the dog park.  He was trying to cross the road but he also seemed to sense something.  The park is also deeper into the complex back behind some sheds so I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could get attacked.  I walked around after I scanned to see the car was gone.  We walked to the park but I was uncomfortable so I started walking back to his home.  I was standing between 2 buildings under a shade tree when I look up to see that red car back and it slows down when it sees me.  I pull my phone back out to record all while they drive slowly by.  I wait for them to get where they can’t see me (behind building 11) and wouldn’t see me unless they speed around again.  I run back to the apartment.  Again I tell the owner everything and send her a picture of the car's plates.
I start driving around the complex before every walk and locate where the car parks.  Always in the same spot at building 11 with a poop station out front.  The following Wednesday I do my drive around and low and behold the dog is tied to that poop station with no one around.  I didn’t get a picture but at that moment I was trying to decide if I need to call animal control, tell the office, or call the cops and explain everything.  That’s when the kid makes up my mind for me.  I notice a kid on the playground when I pull up to the pitbull’s building.  The kid gets up and walks toward me doing what I would classify as a drug drop walk by and I see his phone pointed at me as he walks by.  That’s when I recognise him and I turn left towards where his dog was tied up which is a good 4 buildings away.  I start looking up and call the cop's non-emergency number.  I explain what has happened and the operator decides it sounds like intimidation and sends 2 cops to me.  I stopped before actually going over there because again, it’s at the back of the property and could be a setup.  I walk to the entrance and wait for the cops.  I explain everything and show them the videos.  I even have GPS of the walks in question.  The woman cop I talked to said I did everything she would have done and I handled it well, to keep recording like I was doing in those situations, and to call if there are any more issues.  They went to check on the dog and to run the plates to locate them to talk.  After walking the dog that day I then introduced myself to the office to explain to them as well and they were super interested in locating the owner as well.  My guess is they were spoken to by both and called off because I haven’t had an issue with them since.  I’ve seen the kid a few times with no more recording and he doesn’t approach me at all.  I’ve even seen the dad walking the dog once.  I saw him as I was paused under that same shade tree between 2 buildings.  He was coming from behind building 10 parallel to building 11 on its left from my position.  The dog park with the 2 sheds is located at the top of a T at the back.  I’m located at the bottom and to the right of that T.  I got the Pitbull’s attention and back-peddled so I could keep an eye on what he did while heading in between the buildings towards home.  He looked to see me and did a 180 back to building 10 towards his building 11.  In fact, I haven’t seen him until today when I saw the red Chrysler leaving behind me today.  That of course had me double-checking I wasn’t being followed all the way home but I’m hoping I don’t have to deal with that much longer.  The owner of the pitbull is waiting to hear if she got a house so no more apartments.  The owner is also planning to get a doggie door so after I teach him to use the door they won't need me.  I’ll miss him but she’s moving out of my service area.  I’m fine doing a couple of training sessions but it is too far for regular visits.

I’ll post story 2 sometime this weekend.
That was a scary situation for you. They were threatening towards you. Since you have video of everything, I wonder if they need to be charged.
Why would they let their dog run around you like that. Clearly the pit bull is a big dog. Were they wanting their dog to get hurt. 
Tying him up and leaving him outside in the heat is dangerous for the dog. They are not responsible pet owners.

I am glad they are leaving you alone now. It was not much fun for you and the pit bull with all that odd behavior.
You are just trying to do your job. You really don't need people acting like that.

I hope you are okay. Stuff like this can be really upsetting.
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The police said no charges could be pressed at this point. Not that I wanted to press charges. I just needed them to stop the intimidating behavior. They did run their plates to make sure there was no past behavior or anything fishy. They have it logged that they came to meet with me about it as well so if there are any more issues they will have a trail to start from. I may make a file of all the incidents as well. Since I'll be losing that client I just need them to play nice until she moves but that's also why I told the front office in the event it becomes a regular thing. I'm ok but I did make sure I have pepper spray for dogs and humans and I have a knife I carry now. The app I use to track also added a feature where I can add my husband's phone to receive a text when I start walks. It gives him the address and I think GPS. It's a new feature that just came out this week.
I like that app on your phone. It means you can always be traced. 
It is sad that you have to carry things for defense, but better to be prepared. It is probably good to keep a file of any incidents that occur on the job and any details so that you don't forget them. You never know what you might need to remember at a later date.

I would hope those people would avoid you since the police are involved, but they seemed pretty strange so who knows. 
It is good that the building complex is aware of the problem.

It is a sad reality that we have to live and work defensively. I keep the locator on my phone turned on all the time, especially when I work.
My job issued us iPads and I log in to an app when I go into a client's home and log out of it when I when I leave. It makes me feel safer since I am very vulnerable going into a home by myself.

I would have thought that walking a big dog would make you safe, but you also have to worry about the safety of the dog.
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With the way thing are going in the US it's pretty scary and I live in TN where there is little to no gun control so I have to be very careful in my interactions. I would like to say way to go on Canada's reaction to the Robb elementary shooting.

I'm loving this app I use to track walks. It's called Walkies. I have the pro subscription so it has all the bells and whistles. It just had a huge update where it completely redid the who app so it has a lot of new features I'm still learning to use. Very useful for starting a pet sitting business. It's $14.99 a month for pro but it's free for the first month right now because of the big update. It's free for up to 4 clients and $4.99 for the step up to add texts and email alerts. It's super handing and one of the cheapest programs. By the end of the year they should have a better client app and web version. Right now they are only on iPhone IOS.
That phone app sounds good. It will give you a lot of peace of mind to be able to track your walks. It is not that bad a price either.
No doubt they will keep tweaking it until it does everything you could possibly want.

I hear you about the gun situation. Every day there seems to be a shooting. Canada has handled the gun situation fairly well, but still not good enough. 
We still have way too much violence. We just don't need assault riffles in the hands of teenagers. I think most Canadians want gun control of some kind.
I do not want to feel I am in danger just walking to the mall. 

Sadly we have had trouble with people using cars for mass murder.
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