Debate:Agressive dogs off leash

I’ve got a debate for you folks today. A debate about dogs.

Here’s the deal:

On Saturday afternoon/evening I loaded up Mikaya and my bike and headed ten minutes east into the mountains for some easy trail riding, for me, and running, for her. We frequent these trails often because the National Forest allows dogs off leash. Considering how much energy our dogs have, this is imperative to everyone’s sanity. These trails, especially on the weekends, can become quite busy.

Loving life out on the trails. This was about 1 minute before the incident.

So, we were heading up a trail minding our own business. Mikaya stayed about ten feet in front of me. She stopped and turned to look at me. Just as she did another rider came around the corner. He slowed. And a dog came behind him. The rider started, “he’s…” Then gave a pregnant pause. In which time, I replied,” oh she’s (Mikaya) super friendly.” Just as he came back with “He’s not,” his dog lurched at Mikaya and attacked her neck, instigating a fight. My heart racing,  I pedaled forward and called her name, knowing that 1. I was not going to get in the middle of a dog fight. And 2. that Mikaya is well-trained on the trails to come and follow. Which, she did, albeit sheepishly.

This is the average distance between Mikaya and I while mountain biking.

So, what do you think? Should people who know that their dogs are aggressive have them off leash? Does this ruin it for the rest of us down the line? Or is it a free world and people can do what they want?

What would you have done if you were that person? I almost said something to the group (there were more behind the first gentleman-but only one dog) because one of the trailheads now requires dogs on leashes up to a certain point. I almost told him that he was the reason for the rules and maybe he should control his dog. But, I didn’t. I didn’t want Mikaya to get hurt. I wanted out of there. And, I’m too nice to people in public.



23 responses to “Debate:Agressive dogs off leash

  1. Oh, Kait. I’m so sorry about Mikaya. I would be so upset. I think if you have an aggressive dog that attacks other dogs, you really need to keep him on leash. What if that was a toddler running at him? I think it’s just a matter of time before this dog mistakes a child or a person crouching for another dog…definitely needs to be kept on leash. What if he bloodied up your poor pup and you were miles from the trailhead?

  2. Eekk!! Poor Mikaya! I’m like you – I would have been internally freaking out, but externally polite and quiet. In order to get Cabo’s “green tag” (aka, she can be off-leash on the trails here), we had to watch a video and educate ourselves on Boulder’s rules for off-leash dogs.

    We were taught that a.) if one dog approaches another dog that is ON leash, the owner should leash up their dog (even if the pup is well behaved) and b.) if your dog is aggressive, they should remain leashed in populated places (they can be off-leash if no one is around, just throw the leash on real quick if someone approaches).

    Bottom line, if a dog hurts another dog (or god forbid a child), the owner is accountable. It’s not worth the risk. So I’m in favor of leashing aggressive dogs when other dogs/children are around.

    • I had the green tag for Mikaya too when I lived in Longmont. Unfortunately not enough of the trails accepted the green tag. However, the principles that you describe from that video are acceptable in my mind and what I try to practice.

  3. You have wussy dogs and aggressive dogs in life. Be sure to have a man on your side to kick the aggressive dogs. I hate (stupid people) laws and the worst one is the leash law. I currently live on the side of 2 aggressive dogs, they have bitten me and attack my dogs when they are returning into the yard from chasing deer. My best solution so far has been the BB gun. Next idea is getting a Wolf Hound.

    • Well, I don’t carry a BB gun when I ride on the trails and I never know what dogs I might encounter. I also don’t always have a man by my side. If the fight had escalated and Mikaya didn’t run off and follow, then I’m not sure what I am capable of resorting to.

  4. There is no way I’d take a dog that I knew was aggressive off leash on a trail or anywhere. My Paco isn’t aggressive but I leave him at home when I hike or ride trails that are horse trails as well. I know I couldn’t live with myself if for some reason Paco decided to chase a horse and someone was injured in the process. I don’t know if he would but I don’t want to find out the hard way. Common sense in these situations just isn’t very common anymore. I think you handled the situation a lot nicer than I would have been able to. Happy riding and you guys stay safe.

    • We’ve been working with our one dog Griz around horses. Mikaya knows to come back and wait by us, but we are on the look out for horses. When we see them coming we call Griz. Have him sit and wait for the horses to pass. Finding a happy medium for all trail users is difficult. I try to know my dog’s limits and be respectful, that’s all.

  5. Its simply irresponsible as a human being to let an aggressive dog off leash in a public place, especially when you are on a bike. If you’re walking or running its a lot easier to grab your dog, but when biking you need to drop the bike then grab the dog – extra work, especially when your in a race against a dog’s raging urge to attack!

    I’m more afraid of meeting aggressive dogs on a trail than coyotes! The dog knows people and feels comfy with them while coyotes at least see me as some sort of a threat – too many people just leave their dogs wonder all willy nilly – I have no idea if its a safe dog or not!

  6. I’m so sorry about your dog! Obviously the other dog owner was not being responsible, as he knew he had an aggressive dog but was still letting him run free. I do wonder would happen if a small child was on the trail, as that area is very popular for families to hike as well 😦 Scary thought!

    I actually have a differing opinion on leashing, as I think all dogs should be on leashes. I’ve had some very frustrating run ins at Happy Jack with unleashed dogs while out mountain biking. I had dogs chase me, try to bite me, etc, while the owners just stood around and giggled. I’ve also seen the terrified owners yelling out their dog’s name because it ran off (I found one dog down the trail about 3/4 of a mile and led him back to his owner that was on a completely different trail). I’m not a dog owner, so I guess I can’t see that side of things, but I think leashes should be required from my point of view. Heck, my cat is leashed anytime she goes outside…

    • Thanks for your thoughts and I can see your opinion too.I know in the winter time leashes are enforced and most recently I saw leash signs all over Tie City which makes me think it has become a problem. I wonder if the grazing and cows has anything to do with it? I always carry a leash just in case because you are right, it is heavily populated. I wouldn’t be surprised if the leash laws change soon up there.

      • those darn cows should be leashed, too, LOL! Cows hate me and always start coming after me. Apparently, animals and me on a bike do not mix… But the cows between Happy Jack and Curt Gowdy have been bad enough to have threads about them on the big mountain bike forums, so I am not alone in the cow issue. I have noticed the signs, too, about leashes. Tie City is getting popular so maybe there have been more complaints or issues occurring. I don’t know how it could really be enforced, though. Too much of a vast area.

      • Yes, those cows are aggressive. We have encountered them between HJ and Veadavou and have had to turn around because they are scary. The first time it happened to Josh, I didn’t believe him. Then we went for a long bike ride together and we came upon them. Then I believed him! This year, the cows were scattered all around HJ in random places. I don’t know how they would enforce the leash law either considering that they hardly enforce the parking fee.

  7. Now this is coming from a mom with a toddler who often likes to slowly toddle along the trails rather than ride in his baby carrier…aggressive dogs belong on leashes…and frankly non-aggressive dogs that can’t be controlled by their owners belong on leashes! I want my kid to grow up loving dogs not being scared of dogs because some irresponsible dog owner let their dog trample over my kid!

    • Dogs and kids scare me. We had to watch Mikaya for a bit around my niece. Herding dogs have that in them. On a brighter note, we were on those same trails today and came across two friendly dogs with two friendly owners out on the trail. I definitely still had my guard up.

  8. Are you kidding me??? Aggressive dogs should definitely be leashed! That’s crazy. I’m super quiet, but if a dog attacked Pippa – I would be so scared and irate. Our dogs are very friendly (but rescues who are not great with recall) so we keep them leashed.We’re around a lot of dogs with them in the Denver area, but haven’t had any negative experiences yet — thankfully!!

  9. WOAH! I was writing a similar post just now, before I read my email. I agree, aggressive dogs should be on a leash – most of the time (is your dog ok???) And good thinking…NEVER get in the middle of a dog fight. As a vet tech, this is a must. I know it sucks to see dogs get hurt, but it’s much worse for a human to get bit. SO, I say the most of the time thing because my dog is sorta dog aggressive. Now, he doesn’t just lunge like that dog did…and he listens SO well. If I see another dog coming, I know its my responsibility to get my dog out of the way, and I’ll hold him until the other dog passes. When I’m hiking and trail running, I do let my dog off leash on uncrowded trails and just keep a good eye for other animals. But those people did not sound like they were doing that at all.

    • Great minds think alike! Funny how that happens with blogging uh,? I like that you take responsibility for your dog and are aware of their limitations. Yes, Mikaya is ok, thanks for asking.

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