It’s officially summer time. That wonderful time of year when we in the UK hope we will have long, warm, sunny days.
We daydream of walks at local beaches and lakes, or on hills and fells; we think of all the things we could do at the weekend: go to a local beauty spot, visit a nearby picturesque tourist town, take a day trip to an ancient wonder, sit in the beer garden of a local pub.
Many of us – when weather allows – will follow through with these plans; those of us with family dogs may also take them along for the trip when we’re going somewhere that welcomes them, sometimes a dog may be taken for a trip even when he’s going to be sitting in the car as the destination doesn’t allow pets.
But, wait – have you considered whether your dog would want to go?
When we have summer days out, we make a distinction: we either take Inka & Starr and go somewhere they’ll be happy going to (a quiet beach, a lake with a little used area, or similar); or we leave them at home and go somewhere they they are less likely to enjoy.
Sure, I’d love to be able to take them both to Keswick, or to local agricultural shows or fun days where I could enter them in the requisite dog show, and plenty of other places too; but knowing my dogs, I know that – at least for now – they wouldn’t enjoy that kind of atmosphere. People everywhere, lots of noises, children who are neither trained nor leashed, and dogs who are leashed but often untrained are just some of the things we’d face.
Days out are supposed to be fun, and I know they wouldn’t enjoy that, just as I wouldn’t enjoy fending them off.
Yes, I could use it as a teaching opportunity for people who insist on doing “The Wrong Thing(s)” with other people’s dogs but why subject us all to that stress? When I’m out with my dogs, I want to devote my time to them – not to ensuring the guy who “all dogs love” doesn’t put his clammy paws all over my obviously anxious dog(s); and I want us to have fun. Running around a field is fun, running a gauntlet of people who are mostly clueless about dogs is not.
I love my dogs, and I show them that by sometimes leaving them home, even if I’d much rather take them with me and let them in on the fun. After all, who has fun when they’re worried, stressed, or anxious?