Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    I had a brief "Oh shit" moment this morning.

    My girls (7 and 9) were doing some chores in the yard this morning and generally enjoying the weather. I had just hooked up the utility trailer to the Jeep so we could fetch some lawn furniture from a picnic grove to which we belong. Well, of course, the girls have to play in the trailer. Typical working-in-the-yard kinda Saturday.

    I had just walked the 20-25' from the trailer to the back of the garage when I hear elder daughter say "Daddy......dogs!" I must admit, I immediately red-lined and cleared the garage in about 3 steps.

    As I exit the garage I see a German Shepherd and what appeared to something along the lines of a Pit bull/Boxer mix standing about 6-8' from my kids. They weren't acting aggressively (no growling, raised hackles, etc.) but, they also weren't behaving in a friendly manner (wagging tail, lolling tongue, etc.) either. What they appeared to be doing was sizing up my kids. Now the shepherd had on a collar but the mix didn't. Both of them were pretty dirty and it was obvious that they weren't just neighbor's dogs that were roaming the neighborhood. (Not to mention that none of my neighbors have dogs like this.) They appeared, to me at least, to be feral.

    At this point, my hand went to my gun on my hip. (Actually, it took me a moment to find it. I normally carry IWB but, lately, I've been carrying OWB in a holster that I made, when I work in the yard as it holds the pistol more securely. My hand went to the IWB spot and I had to correct for the OWB placement, which was distracting enough to cause me to momentarily take my eyes off of the dogs.) I shooed the dogs away. They didn't move. When I stepped toward them, they backed off about 5 yards and turned back towards me.

    I continued towards the dogs shooing them with my left hand. They backed off another 10 feet or so. Then the shepherd took two steps toward me. At this point, I cleared the holster and had my PF9 pointing down but, mostly toward the shepherd in case he kept trying to close the gap between us. Well, either the sudden movement of me drawing my pistol startled the dogs or that goddamned shepherd understood the movement 'cuz they both wheeled around and beat feet down the driveway and through my neighbor's yard.

    The whole damn episode probably only lasted about 20 seconds.

    Now I've only been carrying around the house now for a couple years. Mostly when I'm (and the kids) are out in the yard. And, although I know all of the reasons WHY I should carry, I understand that the probability is low that I will ever need to use a firearm defensively, so because of years of conditioning, I still sometimes feel like a dork carrying my gun around on a quiet, country, cul-de-sac street. That is, until this morning.

    I've been attacked by dogs before back in my Peace Corps days. Damn thing happened so fast that I never even had time to think about pulling out the lockblade knife that I had in my pocket. Fortunately, it only resulted in a bite to one hand and a bite to my left ass cheek. Today's episode, however, just viscerally cemented the need to carry and removed all traces of that old dorky feeling. Neighbors be damned!

    Fortunately, the dogs were more curious than anything and my kids are safe. We discussed the situation for a while over lunch. They still don't quite grasp fully what went on but, hey, they're kids. I'm glad they don't.

    That's what I'm here for.


    ETA: Yesterday was Saturday not Sunday. D'oh!
    Last edited by Sandcut; October 3rd, 2010 at 09:53 AM.
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

  2. #2
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    ✠ Ēǻζţ ŞŧЯǿŪđβũЯģ, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    glad it all worked out ok and you didnt have to go further than breaking leather. never go outside without that gun!

    way to protect your family!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHEMICAL View Post
    glad it all worked out ok and you didnt have to go further than breaking leather. never go outside without that gun!

    way to protect your family!
    Thanks, man.

    I'm still kinda surprised at the timing of how the dogs got so close in the first place. They didn't come in through the front yard or I'd have seen them. They didn't come from the next lot over or the critter-cam would have snapped a photo of them (I checked. Nothing.) So they must have come up throught the woods behind the house and came in between the house and the garage. They must have rounded the corner just as I entered the garage. I mean, how long does it take to walk 20 feet?

    Now my biggest problem is going to be reining in my "worst case scenario" thinking and restrict the girls' movements around the neighborhood. I try to give my kids a pretty long leash now that they're getting older. A much longer leash than their peers' parents do. Now I need to trust the girls' judgement and my neighbors and not get spooked by this and hope the dogs left the area. And hope that isn't poor judgement on my part.
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandcut View Post
    Thanks, man.

    I'm still kinda surprised at the timing of how the dogs got so close in the first place. They didn't come in through the front yard or I'd have seen them. They didn't come from the next lot over or the critter-cam would have snapped a photo of them (I checked. Nothing.) So they must have come up throught the woods behind the house and came in between the house and the garage. They must have rounded the corner just as I entered the garage. I mean, how long does it take to walk 20 feet?

    Now my biggest problem is going to be reining in my "worst case scenario" thinking and restrict the girls' movements around the neighborhood. I try to give my kids a pretty long leash now that they're getting older. A much longer leash than their peers' parents do. Now I need to trust the girls' judgement and my neighbors and not get spooked by this and hope the dogs left the area. And hope that isn't poor judgement on my part.
    This may sound funny but keep a high powered sprayer around for a while loaded with ammonia water. Supersoaker or something. If they come back a shot in the face will send a clear message.

    Just stating this as a less lethal option.

    This is what a dog warden told us years ago when I was growing up because local dogs were tearing open our rabbit hutch to get at the bunnies.

    Dogs do not like ammonia water in the eyes one bit!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Two points

    Because a dog is waging its tail does not mean it is friendly.

    Figure out some way that you can run these dogs off with out shooting them. Imagine how your children would have been impacted if you saw the need to shoot the dogs in front of them.

    The water gun with ammonia is a good idea. There is also some stuff you can spread in the yard to keep dogs out of your yard.
    Don't be an ass.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Glad to hear it all went well. Sorta makes you wish for a carbine out there, huh? I'd keep a real close eye on where the girls go until you learn more about the dogs - either that they have been brought under control, put down, or are gone from the area. I suffered two dog bites as a young boy where my father and the owner of the dog were too far away to get to the dog or me before the dog got me. I still have a large scar from one of them, which required stitches.

    As much as it might upset your girls to see them killed, being chewed up is worse. I can still remember very clearly running as fast as I could from that dog and knowing I wasn't going to make it, and we are talking almost 43 years ago now.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandcut View Post
    I try to give my kids a pretty long leash now that they're getting older.
    I don't understand parents who keep a super tight leash on the kids throughout adolescence and then expect what, a fully formed adult to suddenly appear? Only by paying out the rope nice and steady with ever increasing independence will you get what you want - a functioning young adult.

    One thing I was never taught as a kid and they really should teach it in schools is how to deal with dogs, how to recognize aggression and how to react. As I'm sure you know, running from a dog will almost certainly guarantee it will chase you - friend or foe, they like to chase. This and other dog behavior is important info for kids.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by normanvin View Post
    Imagine how your children would have been impacted if you saw the need to shoot the dogs in front of them.
    Thanks for the concern, Norm. I don't think the girls would be too shaken up by shooting the dogs so much as what would have prompted the shooting in the first place. Although I don't go out of my way to kill things in front of the girls, neither do I try to shield them from every instance where something is dead as many folks do. Death is as much a part of life as living. They'll deal with it better if they're innoculated earlier rather than later in life.

    When we had to put down our dog a year and a half ago, they helped me dig the grave and wheel her from the car in their wagon. I made them pet her and say goodbye to cement the fact that she was truly dead. I've got some pictures of younger daughter doing this that would make the manliest man on this forum ball thier eyes out. The point being, to ready them for the day when I'm not around, I can't protect them from every sadness and still expect them to have character.
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by PennsyPlinker View Post
    Sorta makes you wish for a carbine out there, huh?
    Well, my birthday IS coming up (Hint! Hint!) Why? Are you offering? ')
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Young kids, strange dogs and clearing leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by granuale View Post
    I don't understand parents who keep a super tight leash on the kids throughout adolescence and then expect what, a fully formed adult to suddenly appear? Only by paying out the rope nice and steady with ever increasing independence will you get what you want - a functioning young adult.

    One thing I was never taught as a kid and they really should teach it in schools is how to deal with dogs, how to recognize aggression and how to react. As I'm sure you know, running from a dog will almost certainly guarantee it will chase you - friend or foe, they like to chase. This and other dog behavior is important info for kids.
    I am in total agreement with you on your first statement.

    On the second statement, my wife and I try to take advantage of any training opportunity that we get. Aside from having had our own dog and training them how to deal with her, we stress the proper way to approach dogs, when not to approach dogs, not to shriek, not to run, etc. Part of the conversation that I had with the girls afterword was to ask them what would they have done if I hadn't been there. Younger daughter suggested walking into the house slowly. To which I pointed out that she would have not only climbed down from the safety of the trailer but, she would have had to walk right passed the dogs. When asked if that would have been a smart thing to do, she understood why it wouldn't be.

    The one local fire dept. opens up their building to the public a couple times a year. The last time we were there, they had some "therapy" dogs from a local organization and they were teaching kids the "dos" and "don'ts" of dogs. I don't know if they teach this in school any more. I remember learning about this in elementary school as well as from my folks.
    "How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessnes."

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