Lately, my assumptions have really been proving me wrong…

For example, I tend to find very small dogs obnoxious. Of course that could be translated as: I tend to find the owners of very small dogs obnoxious. I always encounter small, yappy, hyper, small dogs while I’m training.

Another example: people match “old lady” with “helpless, slow, non-dominant”.

Well, here’s a story: heading out of the horse barn the other day, I saw an older lady, around 70, riding her bike. Her, I think it was five, dogs trotted calmly beside her without leashes. None ran ahead, none lagged behind. It was perfection. A big dog that looked something like a Pit bull came plodding toward them.

Of course, applying the assumptions listed above, I wasn’t sure how this lady would react. Actually, I was expecting the dogs to start doing that little-dog yapping: “I’m excited and crazy and I’m not listening to my owner”. Didn’t happen. They glanced at the dog and perhaps slowed down a bit, but kept following their leader. The lady gave the big dog, who just kept following, a good (intimidating) glare. At one point, one of her smallest dogs got a bit insecure and started not paying attention to her as much. She said something quietly and, when her dog didn’t react the way she wanted, she got off her bike and said in a clear voice, “Hey!”

Her dogs bounced back to their places and she cycled away – leaving the big Pit bull behind.

It brought a smile to my face to see someone deal with that situation in a level-headed way.

Then I saw a big man who looked like he was born to pull a plow and eat sausages all day, walk his dog. My dog and I approached him. What I expected was for him to be “over-manly” and yell or get aggressive as his dog got excited – tearing on the leash. Oh great, I thought. Proving me wrong, he flicked the leash pathetically and let out a quiet, “Oh, Foofoo, just stop that. Stop that! Why do you always do this? Oh, come! Stop it!”

Useless. Uneffective. All said in a high-pitched voice and floppy body language. It was all I could do to walk past this squeaky giant without laughing.

It’s so entertaining watching some of these people react to, and work with, their animals. What are some surprising animal-human pairs that you have encountered?

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