J cosy at home with the vacuum cleaner!
I wanted to share with you one of the responses I have had from the last blog, it is the real stories of dog owners out there that need to be heard! I am sure the people with the dogs rushing up to ours don’t really want to upset our dogs, they just don’t know the impact they are having! Please send in your story?
“I wanted to agree with what you’ve said. You may remember J – chocolate lab with epilepsy, very nervously aggressive around other dogs after being attacked a couple of times by off the lead dogs when he was a puppy just after he started having fits. Sadly and the aggression / anxiety around other dogs just got worse with age. Training didn’t help, and eventually I took the decision to let him have a happy life away from other dogs. He is off the lead only in large, deserted fields. On the lead problems only arise if an off-the-lead dog comes up to us. I see a dog off the lead I call to the owner to get them to call their dog back before trouble starts, then walk in the opposite direction. This, amazingly, doesn’t always work, and about half the time I get a “oh, he just wants to play” response and the owner virtually encourages their dog to come to mine!
I have since found lots of other dog owners in the same position as me: we are often made to feel guilty about not letting our dogs off the lead around other dogs, or not having other “doggy friends”. It really is a bit much! When I walk J, I end up having to shout at other people’s dogs to get them away from him. Walking dogs off the lead with a “he / she won’t hurt your dog, they just want to play!” comment is totally irresponsible. Your off-the-lead dog may well want to play, but mine doesn’t! My dog is terrified of anything on four legs and is a nervous wreck if anything gets within 10 feet of him. I had some classes from you about this, where you advised me to shout at the approaching off-the-lead dog and walk the other way. This almost always works, but I end up with plenty of abuse from the other dog’s owner. My dog is only ever aggressive when other dogs approach him, and I want to protect him and these other dogs from each other. If dogs stayed on the lead around other dogs, it would be so much easier and dog on dog attacks would be much rarer.
Unless owners have absolute control over their own dog off the lead (and in my own experience, that is rare as hen’s teeth!), dogs should be on the lead around other dogs. It is, frankly, arrogant to make the assumption that your dog won’t attack mine, or be attacked by mine: they don’t know each other and you don’t know my dog. Thank you for making this a New Year’s Resolution, and I hope everybody follows the advice.”