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An amazing invention helps control your dog
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There’s a wonderful, inexpensive device that can make you a responsible dog owner. It’s called a leash.

Four times in the past three weeks I have been charged by dogs thanks to owners who had taken their dogs out of their yards off leash. To be honest I had gone months - actually several years - without having a dog charge at me when I was either bicycling or jogging.

This time around, though, the owners are getting pretty brazen with their disregard for others and their smug assumption their dog wouldn’t hurt anyone.

I do not dislike dogs. I have two of them myself.

But I do not like what dogs can do. Loose dogs have bitten me two times - once jogging and once bicycling. Each time they drew significant blood. One, by the way, was a Chihuahua. About two weeks after I was bitten by the Chihuahua just above my heel, another one charged at me as I was jogging by when the owner let it out her front door to do its business. After raising my voice and saying “no” a few times, I stopped, turned around and started kicking at the dog. The owner up until then was trying to simply call her precious dog back. She then started yelling at me that it was just a Chihuahua and I had no business kicking at it. I told her in no uncertain terms that I had just been bitten by a Chihuahua in a public street and I wasn’t about to let it happen again.

The other dog bite was when I was bicycling with a companion down a road east of Manteca when a dog came charging at us. I can out sprint dogs with no problem but she was terrified and stopped pedaling so I stopped and dismounted so I could put my bicycle and myself between her and the dog.  I ended up getting three nasty bites on my right calf as a reward.

The third time I tangled with a dog I ended up going to the hospital on a back board as it charged at me while I was going downhill on a bicycle at 45 mph.

That should give you an idea that I’m not about to let a dog get a chance to either bite me or cause me to take a spill.

The two most egregious encounters happened when I was watering in my front yard. The first incident involved two pit bulls that came out of nowhere charging at me and growling. I was chatting with a neighbor who got the dogs’ attention allowing my being startled not to turn into showing any signs of fear. The dogs ended up backing off. It happened again Tuesday but this time the owner was walking down the street and called the dog off after it started charging me.

Tuesday wasn’t a good day for me and dogs. On my jog earlier to the gym someone else had their dog out of their yard with it off leash as well. I didn’t realize he was chasing me until I heard loud growling and the pounding of paws on the pavement a few feet behind me. I immediately started repeatedly saying a firm and stern “no” but did one thing that I should not have done - I started running into the traffic lane to try and get away. That is how much the dog startled me.

The other incident also involved jogging while an owner was walking his dog without a leash.  The dog managed to cut off my forward progress while menacingly growling at me. When I kept moving he started lunging for my legs but the owner called him off in time and apologized. That, however, isn’t the point.

Dogs - no matter how well behaved you believe they might be - are required by law to be on a leash when they are out and about with you outside of your fenced yard.

There is a reason for that. It’s called safety of other people plus that of your dog.

It wouldn’t take too much for a dog to bite me again or trigger a reaction that could send me into the path of a car or knock me off my bicycle. That said I am in a much better position than some kid that might be bicycling or using a foot-propelled scooter.

I get that motion makes more than a few dogs go nutso and get aggressive. I don’t think most kids do.