Encounters with a massive Mastiff

There is a huge park down by the lake I often take the various dogs I look after for a walk in. Tucker loves that park too and enjoys the many dog and wildlife smells peppered across the landscape.

The park is not designated as leash free which is a good thing because lots of families with small children as well as wildlife roam free.

But people let their dogs off leash in that park anyway under the ruse they need to run for exercise.

Side note

There are two fenced leash-free parks in this area: one in this park on the west side, and one a short drive away at another beachside park.

I’m ambivalent about this letting dogs off leash in this park, partly because I get why people want to do it. But the bylaw says you can’t and yet, some people simply disrespect the bylaw and do it anyway.

The majority of people I know or have come across have their dogs trained and manage to maintain a level of obedience. But when a dog is off-leash and particularly when that dog is in a pack of other off-leash dogs, the human in charge has much less clout. The loose canines have way too much fun to bother activating their brain cells to listen to, much less obey, some command a human is yelling at them.

In my experience, most of the time the human manages to take control of their off-leash dog(s) relatively quickly, but it’s always a confusing, convoluted process. The dogs mostly think it’s a game…

Many dog owners or walkers I have encountered over the decades are very similar to me. We read each other’s body language to see if our leashed dogs are up for meeting and sniffing each other. If they walk the other way or pull their dog closer I do the same with mine and vice versa. If there’s inviting conversation and the dogs are up for meeting, then we do that.

But there’s always one person who screws it up for the rest of us.

So I was at the park with Reya this morning. (Tucker had a separate walk earlier.) We hadn’t been going to this park because the polar vortex winds off the lake were too uncomfortable to walk in, but today the winds were calm and she seemed to want to go and explore. Something new to discover for our visiting pooch.

Lots of other people were out there walking around with their dogs on leash. Sometimes Reya wanted to say hi and other times she didn’t.

When we reached the third pebble beach, a massive Mastiff suddenly appeared and tried to mount Reya.

His human was pretty far away and started yelling for the dog to come but of course the dog ignored him because Reya was much more interesting to him than the guy who was yelling.

Reya was petrified and didn’t like having this dog repeatedly trying to mount her. I did my best to protect her by keeping the other dog away from her but I didn’t really know how this dog was going to react to me so I struggled quietly. I didn’t want to add more loud noises into the situation. I noticed he didn’t look like he was fixed either.

The guy finally arrived and apologized and tried to get his dog off my dog and failed time and again. I told him to leash his dog which would have been the normal thing to do in such a situation (?) so he looked for the leash which he didn’t even have handy (really?). He finally managed to clip the leash on his dog and pull him off mine.

I walked away without saying another word.

What’s the point? He won’t change and he won’t learn the lesson either.

As I walked away trying to calm Reya I thought the guy should count his lucky stars that this didn’t happen with a small child.

To be clear, it’s the human who needs training here.

I have nothing against dogs who are acting out of biological instincts; I have something against stupid humans who don’t understand dog behaviour or consider consequences if something undesirable should happen.

Anyway, these encounters happen more regularly when the weather is nice, and not just in parks. You’d be surprised how many people let their dogs off leash in crescents or at unfenced playground areas, baseball diamonds flanked by residential streets or on personal driveways. I once had a dog run from his backyard down the length of the driveway onto the street to surprise my dog Rusy who was an emotionally unstable Rottweiler-mix. We had undergone a lot of training to understand how to navigate his issues but when something like this happens, it makes it difficult to maintain control. The human who came running out of the house didn’t manage to control her dog either and I shudder to think how confused her dog would have been when he suffered the consequences of not coming on command.

In the 20 plus years we’ve been in this neighbourhood, no matter how many signs are posted all through the parks to keep the dogs on leash, there’s always someone who ignores the rules.

It worries me, truth be told.

When Reya and I got home, Tucker greeted her differently than normal (they usually walk together but didn’t this morning). He sniffed her much more intensely, especially in the butt region. I bet he picked up the scent from the Mastiff…

It took some doing to get them both calm so I could make coffee and settle on the couch to type this out.

Time for another cup. 😊☕

Thank you for reading my post today.


17 thoughts on “Encounters with a massive Mastiff

  1. That makes me absolutely crazy when any dog is off-leash in an area that clearly states dogs need to be on leashes, but especially large and unruly ones. It also makes me crazy when someone brings a dog to dinner and it barks during my entire dinner out. Okay, don’t get me started…hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We work on the basis that if you have complete voice command over us, then we shouldn’t be allowed to run off lead (leash). My parents do not have complete voice command over Lenny or myself so we stay on lead at all times outside the garden (yard). I have been bitten by a Staffie when we were living in our previous house. We were sniffing nicely and politely when she went for my neck and started to clamp tighter and tighter whilst trying to shake me. Her owner had no control over her behaviour and once she was prised off my neck amid much shouting and warnings, he said “oh she’s never done that before!” Not sorry, not I will keep her on a lead at all times outside the garden. Nothing. Saw the same dog a week or so later, I was diverted and the human just looked at us as if we were strange aliens.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First of all, Bull Mastiffs are on my do not interact with dog list (others are German shepherds, Dobermans, etc.). This could’ve turned out waaaay worse, even if it was just the dog. What if he got angry? Luckily, you know how to deal with dogs; otherwise, this could’ve gone left quick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s the humans, not the breeds, in my experience, that need both common sense and training. My extended family has German Shepherds, we had a Rottie mix and my parents a Lab/Shepherd mix, never was there any problem. But, we/they trained the dogs, socialized them, did the work, used common sense.

      I got bit by a small yappy dog as a tween delivering newspapers. The big mastiff next door never harmed me. And my neighbour’s kid got bit by a Golden Retriever.

      All dogs can pose danger, it’s the human owners who need to step up.

      Sorry for the rant, but that guy was completely irresponsible and out of line risking letting his dog off leash in our park.


      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am happy everything turned out well! We had a similar experience with our blue-eyed, pink-nosed Miss Fluff. Thankfully, nothing happened either, but the situation was uncomfortable. Bueno, and the other dog was not a Mastiff… Miss Fluff would have had him for dinner if she had not been on the leash.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You write so nice about dogs and parks by the lake. What I learn from this is don’t be the smutz who picks up dog poop and leaves the bag on the sidewalk? WTF!?! Who does that? Which lake are you near? My mother lives on Lake Erie and I grew up around Lake St. Clair. Now I live a few miles from Walled Lake. Haha. Love your blog! ziB

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Even though I don’t have a dog to walk I always take ques from the people/pets I encounter as I’m out. I know the ones now who are friendly and agreeable to chatting, petting and interaction on a close level. Most who aren’t or who know their animals automatically pull the leads in close or step off the path. I’ve even had many who simply stop and heel their dog to teach it what encountering a human means and I suspect also how to transfer that skill over to another dog. The key though is that they are all on leads and leashed, not roaming about. In your situation I would have zero patience for the guy with the mastiff. I don’t understand people and their lack of logic a lot of the time!


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