Scot and I were out for a walk the other day with Starr and Inka.
Inka’s been with us for just over eighteen months now and has a good standard of training, and a fairly reliable recall, so he was off lead. Starr, obviously being younger and having had less training and time with us was on a long line of about 12 feet – in part to keep her safe (as we found, she can find and fit through holes in fences!), but also to ensure she doesn’t learn “bad habits”.
We had a lovely walk, but sadly towards the end we were met with a small off-lead dog who came running right at us. This shouldn’t have been a problem, as many owners would recognise in a similar situation that we were trying to move away from them and their dog, and would call their dog back to them – or at least make a valiant attempt to do so.
Although both of our dogs are friendly, the fact that Starr was on a lead should have alerted the other owner to the fact that his dog running over would not be welcome – leads often create barrier frustration, whether one or both dogs are being held on one.
The other owner, being so far away from his dog and us, wasn’t able to check with us first that his dog was OK to greet one or both of ours; for all he knew Starr could be blind, deaf, or have hip dysplacia, or any other manner of things where she wouldn’t appreciate a strange dog charging towards her.
As we attempted to move away from the dog, the owner simply kept on walking, not calling his dog to him (and, in fact not paying any attention at all to his dog), and he completely ignored our requests to call his dog back.
At this point, any halfway responsible dog owner would have called their dog away, or come to ‘collect’ him or her. A truly responsible owner would either have put their dog on lead while they passed us, or would not have had their dog off-lead if he or she wouldn’t come when called.
Thankfully, nothing ‘bad’ happened, but I do wonder what this dog owner (or others like him) would have had to say to us had Inka or Starr shown their displeasure at his dog’s rude behaviour. My guess is it wouldn’t be an apology for their dogs’ behaviour and their lack of action, and it would probably contain a number of “four letter” words.
This, of course, is (or certainly should be) simple etiquette – but many dog owners seem to be lacking this basic knowledge, so please if you see a dog on lead, take heed and stay away. Regardless of whether this is on the street, in a pet shop, or while walking your own dog in fields or woods. If you have a dog, or dogs, with you it is your responsibility to ensure they also keep away from the other dog, call them back and put them on their own leads until you’ve passed the on-lead dog.
It really is little wonder how the general public can perceive “dog owners” so negatively, when some owners allow things like this to happen; so please: if you see my dog on lead – take heed and be a responsible dog owner, and a good example to the rest of the community. I may not get close enough to thank you, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to say it.