Dena, I've been dogless about 10 years now. :( Due to my work situation, I cannot get a dog. I mostly go bping solo, so I do miss a dogs quiet companionship. My late Pooch alerted me once to a bears presence, surprisingly by growling, him being a Yellow Lab X and a very quiet dog, no aggression, lots of tail wagging around people. I do see the next doggie I get, that I need to be a little more pc when in areas where others frequent or in wilderness that has lots of critters. In the past I had no issues, just one comment about a dog in the wilderness to which I had no reply. I bp mostly in the Sierra Nevada where there are few people. My vacation trips tend to be in more popular areas, so I carry a leash there, especially in Desolation by Lake Tahoe. When I retire, I'll more than likely get another lab or good companion dog.