Dogs chasing Pioneer athletes during practice has increasingly become more and more of an inconvenience for the teams.
What seems to be happening with regularity is that athletes will be minding their own business, getting their workout done, when all of the sudden a dog comes running at them.
Robert Zaila, freshman defensive lineman, said he had such an experience with a dog one day.
“I was out at practice maybe five minutes early. There was a guy walking his dog, and I’m not fond of dogs. I got kind of suspicious, but nothing really happened. I was out running a sprint and I hear this slobbering noise behind me,” Zaila said.
“I looked and it was a bull dog so I just kept running. The bulldog flipped me over and started attacking me, but I had my shoulder pads on so it never actually bit me.”
It is not only football players that dogs chase after. If the dogs are out on the practice football field being walked they also chase the soccer team. They don’t always chase the athletes, though. The dogs really like soccer balls too.
“This lady’s dog didn’t have on a leash or anything and came on the soccer field,” said senior midfielder Jasmine Evans. “Everything stopped and everyone quit playing. The lady and her dog go back to their business once she gets the dog, and we start playing again. It comes over again and starts chasing the ball. This happens three or four more times. Coach was not happy.”
The dogs coming around has become more of a joke. That is how the cross-country team has taken the issue of dogs chasing them while they are working out.
“We [the cross country team] were doing 800 repeats on the cross-country running course and this lady had a few dogs with her,” said sophomore runner Drew Trusty. “She just decided to let them loose. Then they decided to do the 800 meters with us. It was kind of scary at first, but then it turned into fun. It’s something we joke about now to pass the time while running.”
Among the problems, loss of concentration is one that Trusty and cross-country athletes certainly can contest to experiencing.
“When you do a work out you are in a certain mindset and when you have a dog barking at you and wagging its tail, it kind of takes you out of that mindset and away from the goal you’re trying to accomplish,” Trusty said.
Coach Jack Hazen, head distance coach, has his own dog, Dozer, that he brings to practice. Dozer is obedience trained and Hazen is confident that Dozer will not chase the athletes. Dozer sits with Hazen as he leads the practice.
“Most dogs are not obedience trained, so I’ll ask them to put their dogs on leashes,” Hazen said about how he combats the issue.
Once a dog starts to chase the athletes or interferes with the workout, however, the practice has to be stopped or slowed until the dog is called away.
“It is a little annoying that we have to alter or stop the workout,” Hazen said.