When walking Ellie and Marshall, I have learned there are several I need to be on the look out for several obstacles. When we are out before dawn around 5:30, we have encounters with runners wearing headlamps. If I happen to see them first, I can prepare Marshall so he will not take the oncoming runner as an approaching enemy.
I have learned the walking schedules of the local dog owners. For instance, the older gentleman with his well behaved Jack Russell take their constitution at 7 am each morning. The other Ellie (an older Australian Shepard) is walked around 7:15 each morning, Several doors down a young man takes his 2, rather large, Labradoodles to work with him each morning. It is best not to be around his back door between 6:45 and 7:00, just saying.
It is not that Marshall is vicious, quite the opposite, he is a very loving dog. He just has a 'funny' way of showing it. When confronted by a stranger, especially a male, he will start barking and lunging on his lead. Now remember he is a full size Yorkshire Terrier. A true dog lover will see his rapidly wagging tail and realize he is not out to get anyone.
Ellie on the other hand thinks everyone wants to be her friend and she never wants to deny them that opportunity.
Over the past year or so, I have managed - most of the time - to avoid ugly confrontations. Of course the local squirrels and chipmunks have no schedule. They dart about, climbing trees and scurrying across the grass at their whim. I honestly think the chipmunks are very smart (and brave). If they notice us approaching, instead of running for cover, they will sit up and take notice. They seem to understand the lengths of the pups' leads and stay just 12 or 18 inches away. Needless to say this drives the pups mad.
But, we now have a new nemesis, a yellow house cat belonging to one of my neighbors. The feline stays outside most of the time. He lurks, much like the Cheshire Cat. He will sit quietly under a bush until we approach. At that time, he will make his way, very slowly and methodically, out into the open. At this point, he will sit and start methodically washing his face, knowing full well that the pups are restrained.
By this time the pups, especially Marshall, are apoplectic.Yet the cat just sits there, seemingly unbothered. I just try to round them up and drag them home. It is not a pretty sight. If I look back over my shoulder, I see cat slowly make his way back under the bush. I assume to lie in wait for the next unassuming dog and their owner.
Any day I expect to round the corner and see an agitated rabbit scurrying about muttering that he is late. Meanwhile, all I am doing is trying to walk my dogs while avoiding any snags, wily chipmunks, lurking cats, or trips through the looking glass.