I finally believed the dogs were under enough control to try the long dog-walk planned in my mind. The weather was cool, the sun was shining. It was perfect. I always walk the dogs with my phone and pepper spray, but decided to add a 22 to the emergency gear for this longer walk. We do have coyotes, stray dogs and perhaps even bears in the area, and my dogs are all between 18 and 24 pounds and so may need to be protected. In an ideal world, should danger present itself, the dogs should quietly stand behind me while I deal with it. Ha!! There will be barking, jumping about and perhaps fighting. I will never be a good enough shot to aim true into a wiggly mass, hence the pepper spray. Furthermore, as it turns out, the dogs are terrified of the sound of bullets being shot and will run if shots are fired.
When I shot the practice target to the left, neither yelling nor enticement with Pupperoni succeeded to move either Pepper or Ava from the stoop of the house. Grizzy was successfully bribed, but only when the shooting was over and there was a lot of nervous barking between Pupperoni chomping.
These shots were from 20 feet away, one eye shut (which is not correct form), me and the board (obviously) not moving, and the dogs fleeing. Except for the dogs fleeing, in any kind of real situation none of this would be the same. I just hope shots fired have the same affect on whatever is threatening us as it does on my dogs! I’ll have to continue to practice and work on that eye.
The phone-camera pictures below are from the walk, with the building in the background being our garage. The dogs were very well behaved. Each had her own vibration collar on, but didn’t need to be reminded once. They mostly stayed in sight, and when they didn’t a single verbal reminder brought them closer. Since I’ve retired the dogs are better behaved in all ways and I think it’s simply because we’re around each other almost all of the time.