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The Pit Bull And The Bluff


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Hester continues to amaze me with his dog savvy. His latest trick was his management of his encounter with a massive, agressive Pit Bull. Fortunately the owner of the Pit is very responsible and manages the dog with great care. However today we encountered this intimidating creature (close to 100 lbs is my guess) on a very narrow trail. The owner of the Pit Bull shortened up on the leash and held stationary at the side of the trail. I was a good 20 yards behind Hester so all I could do was watch. At first he momentarily paused to size up the situation and then he puffed up his chest, lifted his head as high as possible, ears to the sky, and with tail straight up he began a deliberate strutting, stiff legged trot (like a poodle at a dog show). He clung tight to his side of the trail and politely averted his gaze as he passed the Pit Bull. The Pit Bull started with his usual tough guy routine, growling and straining but then settled, sat down and watched Hester pass.

 

I could tell by the way Hester passed that he was scared but his body language was clearly of the "don't mess with me" type - it was all a BLUFF! I could literally see him in that momentary pause summon up his courage to deal with the situation. And he tossed in a polite gaze aversion just to cover all his bases.

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Not knowing where you live and perhaps not understanding the circumstances, shouldn't Hester also have been on a leash? Twenty yards behind wouldn't have done much good in an attack, responsible owner or not.

 

That's what I love about this forum. Everybody is very safety conscious and looks out for everybody elses Greyhounds. Thank you for your concern ShebasMom. To explain, Hester is a different sort of Greyhound. We rarely use a leash (although sometimes at night we do). His recall reliability has never failed but to describe the situation more accurately, I rarely recall him. We go on daily adventures together and he will sometimes follow a few yards behind and sometimes trot a few yards ahead. He constantly checks where I am and never lets me get out of his "range". This is the way he is, I have done no training with him.

 

His ability with other dogs is extraordinary. He calms the frightened, settles the rambunctious, relaxes the aggressive, and showers affection on female sighthounds. He is not afraid to go on the offensive with those dogs that just don't have any manners, his display of teeth and snarling is terrifying, compliance from offenders is always total. And yet when he is swarmed by a pack of little yappers he will carefully lift his feet so as not to step on them. He also has the remarkable habit of breaking up fights between other dogs. He once saved a Flatcoat that was being attacked by an out of control pack on a beach. He has been seriously attacked once and that was when he was on a leash. He handled himself well despite the fact that he was tied to a useless human. The German Sheppard that attacked was ultimately put down. His vibe with other animals is inexplicable. Rabbits don't run from him, deer follow him, cats (both domestic and feral) come out of their hiding places to greet him.

 

In his case a leash would only interfer with his ability to deal with what he knows best - dogs.

 

One of my favourite photos showing his sweet sensitive side (that's not me in the photo, just a stranger walking by who was marvelling at the interaction between this mismatched pair):

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Edited by KickReturn
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He's wonderful as well as handsome. I love the B&W with freckles dogs. Am I correct in saying that you live in Great Britain? I believe it's more common there for Greyhounds to be off leash than in the U.S. There's a different mindset as to expectations of houndies.

Edited by Feisty49
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He's wonderful as well as handsome. I love the B&W with freckles dogs. Am I correct in saying that you live in Great Britain? I believe it's more common there for Greyhounds to be off leash than in the U.S. There's a different mindset as to expectations of houndies.

 

Hester lives in the pacific northwest on beautiful Vancouver Island (not to be confused with the city of Vancouver). The city of Victoria is a peaceful place with very little traffic. The Greyhound population is very well cared for and the Greyhound community in general is quite strict about leashes. The agencies do a very good job of making the new adopters aware of the risks.

 

What is different here is that there are many places, forest trails, beaches, parks, etc. where as long as your dog is not going to run completely away from you, there is little chance of encountering traffic. There are 170 parks in the Greater Victoria Area and 166 of them are off leash. That said, I only know of a small number of Greys who enjoy the occasional off leash experience outside of safe enclosures. Also there are only two animal by-law enforcement officers in my specific municipality who both know Hester and have made jokes wondering when I am going to buy a leash - they have caught me at a nearby Starbucks not even in possession of a leash let alone having one connected to the dog. No tickets, they just give ear scritches.

 

Hester is a true one-off. I care for other Greys regularely and would never dream of allowing them the same freedom.

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I realize how lucky I am. My only contribution is to provide whatever physical comforts and stimulation I can, and whatever affection he will accept - he is not of the snuggly type. The rest is all him - no training, no correction, nothing - the credit is all his. I feel simply like a temporary custodian of this fine creature, never his superior. Amazingly he was a bounce.

Edited by KickReturn
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Guest Muscovy

Hester is amazing. I have watched some videos of him showing his recall and other behaviours. I would be comfortable letting him off-leash too, and I'm a totally paranoid dog mum! I wish my dogs were a bit more like him! Alas, Mr Spooky is too much of a scaredy cat to be safe off leash.

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Thanks Muskovy, he is a special boy. But I think it is proper to remind everybody and especially new owners, that even with a dog like Hester there are real risks. I have simply decided that the untethered life that Hester is able to enjoy is worth the risk.

 

I don't post some of his bolder adventure videos as I am afraid there would be an outcry. Our late night turnout routine would make people cringe. I remember growing up in the 1970's when people would simply open their front door and let their dog out. The dog would take itself for a walk and return at some point. I lived in a nice neighbourhood in a very large city and as a kid you knew and were friends with the dogs that roamed the neighbourhood. Hester would have been just fine is such an environment.

Edited by KickReturn
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Guest xzw0004

KickReturn, not to hijack your thread here but I also walk my greyhound off leash in enclosed big parks. Similar to Hester, she's very good with recall and always keeps me in her range. She's never had any problems with other dogs and she loves people(especially if they carry treats :colgate ). I think she enjoys it more than being leashed. Like you, I never trained her.

Sounds like Hester has a very good temperament and your narrative of his dealing with the pit bull is hilarious.

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