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Crag access denied due to dog... ideas?!


Original Post
John RB · · Superior, CO · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 25

Ok, I know there have been 10 million threads about dogs at crags, but I wanted to get people's sense (and maybe advice) of what happened to me and my son recently.

There is an area here in Colorado (called Tiers of Zion, if you know it) where a trail skirts the bottom of the crag.  To your left is steep rock (hosting the climbs) and to the right is a steep  drop-off.  My son and I did the approach (about a mile) but as we arrived at the crag a dog was tied to a tree and standing on the trail.  As soon as the dog spotted us, she started barking in a very aggressive way, so I stopped beyond her leash's limit with my son behind me.

The owner and his partner were off the ground and able to see the situation.  The owner first yelled down, "Biscuit... stop it!" followed by, "Don't worry she's friendly."

Biscuit seemed not to understand that she was friendly, as saliva formed around her mouth as she lunged at me at the end of her leash.  My son said, "Let's just leave..."  But I was incensed: we had come to do a route that was past this dog on the trail, and it didn't seem fair that we'd be denied access simply because this dog didn't like something about me.  I had a bright green neoprene sleeve over my right knee, "I think she doesn't like your knee brace" the owner called down.

So I removed my right shoe and the neoprene sleeve and put it in my backpack, but Biscuit still wanted me dead.  "Dad, can we please just go?" my son said again. I'm a stubborn person, but I saw no other way around the dog and my son was getting upset, so we bailed. 

What could we have done differently?  I don't know dogs that well... is there a way to soothe an animal who's acting this aggressive without being attacked?  Maybe the fact I was intimidated only encouraged her aggression (not sure how to feign insouciance however... dogs can sense these things right?).

Frustrating...

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

Shoot it with a gun.

SinRopa · · parts unknown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 30

Did you follow up with the owner?  Sounds like you could have insisted that they come resolve the situation.  They were in voice communication distance right?

Bill Shubert · · Lexington, MA · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 55

Yeah, I would have had some very strong words for the owner instead of leaving peacefully. I'm not sure it would have been helpful, maybe done more harm than good, but I wouldn't leave until I was sure they knew how angry I was at them.

FY · · Boston, MA · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 25

When I had a dog I brought him with me to the crags all the time, but he was very sociable and well-behaved. If I was in your situation, I would have told the owner to make a choice: either rappel down and deal with his dog in the next minutes, or I would have to hit the dog with a stick to put him/her in place. 

scott s smith · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0

Viper has a pretty good solution

Downtownt Kay · · Everett, WA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 110
ViperScale wrote:

Shoot [owner] with a gun.

fixed it

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 8

I would have said "Get your a$$ down here and take care of your f!@#$&g dog."

Parker H · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 0

I think the whole problem could have been avoided, maybe you should have appeared more personable and brought some treats for it. 

Tim Lutz · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5
FY wrote:

When I had a dog I brought him with me to the crags all the time, but he was very sociable and well-behaved. If I was in your situation, I would have told the owner to make a choice: either rappel down and deal with his dog in the next minutes, or I would have to hit the dog with a stick to put him/her in place. 

This.  A pack also makes good shield.  Throwing water on a dog often confuses it.   I am a dog owner but I have zero tolerance for owner that can't control their dog.  

A next step would be to file a police report on an out of control dog tired to a tree.

Mae Rae · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 20

Next time take pictures and out them here on MP.

Sean M · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 25

I'm going to make a somewhat controversial point here.

I want to say first that 

1) The owner was totally in the wrong, and should have NEVER left their dog tied up within reach of a trail. Even if your dog is well socialized and people friendly, it's just wrong. Keep the dog out of the way.

2) After making this mistake, if the owner saw that the dog was significantly interfering with your family's ability to enjoy the crag, they should have IMMEDIATELY halted their climb, and fixed the situation.

HOWEVER, I think a great deal of these recent "I had a bad experience and had to kick/punch/yell at a dog this weekend" posts seem to be coming from people with a really poor understanding of dog behavior. I know you mentioned that you don't know dogs well, so I hope this isn't unsolicited advice. 

Yes, there are a very small % of dogs out there who are so poorly socialized that they will actually bite you if you try to walk past them, however, the VAST majority (something like 99% of the hundreds or thousands of territorial dogs I've had to walk past in my life) are putting on a show. They are barking not because "they want you dead" as you said, but because they are scared of you and if you stroll past confidently but non-aggressively and either completely ignore the dog, or speak to it in a gentle tone, they'll leave you alone. 

In the situation you describe, where it sounds like there was a cliff band on one side and a steep drop off on the other, it is complicated by the fact that there is little space to maneuver, and the owner should have really exercised better judgement. If it was me however, I would have probably just walked straight past it, keeping hands in pockets (most dogs who nip will go for the hand. and nipping is NOT biting). 

The contingent of folks who propose the "kick/stick" method are unnecessarily escalating the situation. Unless the dog is off leash and charging you, then this is totally unjustified, and it is cruel to unnecessarily beat an animal for its owner's poor judgment. 

Forrest Carver · · Edgecomb, ME · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

Rub a yellow flower petal onto a piece of meat and throw it to the dog

stolo · · Shelby, NC · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 120

It's not John's responsibility to accommodate someone's dog. Do what you have to do to get by! 

I carry pepper spray for this reason while outdoors and have had to use it quite a few times.

Jim Turner · · Lakewood, CO · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 290

I would have asked them to come down and move their dog to a better spot.  That part of Tiers is pretty much all short single pitch, so shouldn't be a big deal for them.  If they refused, I'd scramble around and up to their gear, grab it, let them know I was walking away with it, and see if that didn't change their mind.   But then again, I'd be so pissed after all that, that it would be hard to climb after that.  I'd probably just bail to Lookout Mtn Crag and chalk it up to you can't fix stupid.  

Joe Prescott · · Fort Collins · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 8

Some people (including myself) are afraid of dogs they don't know and don't want to risk just walking by it. My wife would be the one to just walk up to it and start petting it. The "dogs sense fear" thing comes into play. You just can't turn off your fear. Many times while out and about, I've been mildly attacked by dogs while with my wife and they totally ignore her. I'm not walking by that dog, and I shouldn't have to. Not the dog's fault, certainly the owner's fault.

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 85

pee on it to show dominance.

GabeO · · New Haven, CT · Joined May 2006 · Points: 306

Tell the dog owner he has two options:  1 - come down and get control of his dog, or 2 - you are going to climb through his route (and across his rope if necessary) to get to the trail on the other side of his dog.

I'm kind of kidding.  In reality, the owner probably would have said "No way dude, what's the big deal?  Biscuit won't really hurt you, she's a sweetheart!"  As a pet owner and a dad, I think I am not speaking out of turn to say that most pet owners (and parents) have some degree of blinders about the foibles of their wards.

GO

John Wilder · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2004 · Points: 1,530

While there are things you can do to learn about dog behavior and how to interact with animals in general- in this particular scenario, i think you did the right thing in terms of your interacting with the dog. 

As a dog owner, i dont assume that everyone my pup interacts with understands his behavior and as such, i assume as a default that no one wants to interact with him and plan accordingly for that during my walks and time out in the wilderness with him. If someone wants to pet him and say hello- they always let me know. If they don't, i keep him on heel and on the opposite side of me from the person as they pass by. 

It's unfortunate that Biscuit's owners put you and Biscuit in that situation. There's no way of knowing how Biscuit would have reacted had you tried to pass her- and the owner really shouldn't have put her in a place where people passing by could have been perceived as getting between her and her owner. While you could have started screaming at the owner to come down and deal with it, that likely would have upset Biscuit more. 

I wish dog owners wouldn't assume that their dog will be friendly and loving in every situation. Or even if they are, assume that everyone will see and recognize the friendly behavior. I also wish that dog owners wouldn't assume that everyone loves dogs- because it's not the case and people who don't love dogs, or who are scared of dogs, shouldn't have to deal with your dog, regardless of whether the dogs behavior is friendly. 

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

I love dogs, and I know how to act around them....

A few weeks ago I was in a situation where a persons German Shepard took a dislike to me and was barking and pulling on the leash.... The owner said "no worries, Fritz is just in one of his moods... walk on past" 

So I did... Fritz decides to totally overwhelm his owner and lunged at me, getting a good grip on my forearm, ripping my fleece and drawing blood from 4 deep puncture wounds. 

Fu*K you was all I could say.... and yes I did want to kill the owner. 

People need to use common sense, if you need to tie Fluffy up so Fluffy will not run away while you are climbing.... and the place where you are going to climb at has no place where Fluffy can be tied up... out of the way.... you are a moron and a bad Dog owner. 




caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 85
Guy Keesee wrote:

I love dogs, and I know how to act around them....

A few weeks ago I was in a situation where a persons German Shepard took a dislike to me and was barking and pulling on the leash.... The owner said "no worries, Fritz is just in one of his moods... walk on past" 

So I did... Fritz decides to totally overwhelm his owner and lunged at me, getting a good grip on my forearm, ripping my fleece and drawing blood from 4 deep puncture wounds. 

Fu*K you was all I could say.... and yes I did want to kill the owner. 

People need to use common sense, if you need to tie Fluffy up so Fluffy will not run away while you are climbing.... and the place where you are going to climb at has no place where Fluffy can be tied up... out of the way.... you are a moron and a bad Dog owner. 




Report it to the cops. People need to be punished for their behavior.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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