How could I have handled this situation better?
November 14, 2011 4:35 AM Subscribe
Please tell me how I could have handled this situation better.
I unintentionally got into an argument with a dog-walker at the park where I was conducting a running training session. I thought I handled the situation to the best of my ability, but my trainee told me that she thought I hadn't. So I wanted to ask your advice on how to deal with the same situation if it arose again.
Starting a few weeks ago, I began conducting one-to-one training sessions for running at a local park. The park is pretty big for a small town, and consists of large open grassed areas interspersed with rugby pitches and paths. It is used for sports, walking, and dog-walking.
The area I use is by a rugby pitch within a larger area of land between two parallel paths about 300m from each other. I keep my sessions to within the boundary of one half of the rugby pitch.
People often walk along each path, and will occasionally cross the 300m across the grass from path to another.
This incident happened when a woman walking her medium-to-large dog took it off its lead (which I think is allowed in the park), and started walking across the open area between the paths. As I was running, the dog bounded up to us in a friendly manner, obviously wanting to play.
Knowing my trainee isn't great with dogs, I stopped the session, and went over to the woman and quickly explained I was running a training session and would she mind skirting the outside of the pitch with her dog.
She rebutted by saying that the park was for everyone, and then continued to walk across to the other path. When she got about halfway, I restarted the session. However, as we began running again, the dog came bounding back playfully, but straight at my trainee, who froze as the dog leaped around her.
The woman came back over, and as she did so I asked her whether she minded putting her dog on its lead until they got to the other path. She immediately said "I just knew you were going to say that. I'm in a bad mood this morning, and if you speak to me again I'll snap", in quite an angry tone. But she got the dog under control, put on its lead and walked away, not taking the lead off until they were by the other path.
I thought that that was vindication that I'd handled the situation correctly, but at the end of the session my trainee told me that she thought I'd been very rude, and could have been a lot more polite.
Obviously I'm writing this with a biased approach, but if you were a/the dog-walker, how would you have liked me to deal with that situation?
This is in the UK, about lunchtime yesterday, and we were the only people in view fwiw.