So on Monday I had to go out and finish all the stuff that was leftover from Friday, plus a little that was left over by someone else. I was on this unfamiliar route that someone else had done when I had a small dog attack. I shooed it away a couple of times but it just kept coming back and getting bolder and bolder. I don't know exactly what kind of dog it was, but it looked sort of like a rat terrier on steroids. Finally it got inside the radius of my hook and I started swinging. On the third swish I connected and it went yelping away on three legs.
The owner was mad.
"It doesn't bite." Let me make this clear: YOU DON'T KNOW THAT, AND NEITHER DO I. You haven't seen how your dog interacts with strangers on a regular basis. I have had to interact with thousands of strange dogs and I've picked up a few signs that help me figure out what's going on quite quickly. If a dog keeps charging me and won't scare away I'm going to escalate the situation.
"You only had to communicate with me." And how exactly am I supposed to communicate with you dog chewing on my ankle?
The bottom line is this: you must secure your dog. This is not a suggestion. This is a hard, cold fact of your life as a dog owner.
A second bottom line is this: If I'm walking in the street and your dog charges me, he has entered my territory and I can and will do whatever I have to to protect myself, and THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO STOP ME.
It went into a shouting match because he was such a complete idiot. I finished it by telling him I was going to report it to my boss so his address would go on record as a "dangerous dog site" (we keep no such record) and that then I was going to report it to animal control. I did report it to my boss so she would hear from me first if he called in with a complaint, but I never intended to call animal control because I know that unless you utter the magic words "pit bull" they won't do anything. It shut him up, though.
Secure your dog. It's safer for me, and perhaps more importantly for you, it's safer for your dog.