When walking the dog means running the gantlet!
I sometimes despair when I’m out walking Floss and Buster these days – is it really just me, or are there many more hooligan dogs and blasé dog owners out there!? Twice now, in the same week, I’ve had the displeasure of meeting rude dogs and even ruder owners!
A few times a week I walk Buster the Springer Spaniel owned by a family member. He’s a lovely natured dog and a joy to walk; loves his ball and although he does more ‘spinning’ than ‘springing’ he’s a jocular character who never argues and just enjoys getting on with his day.
Floss does too in her own way, but she’s really not a fan of other dogs (except Buster) and would rather not play, or have her bum sniffed, thank you very much. While Buster simply avoids any kind of interaction with other dogs, (he’s more interested in his chucky ball); Floss gets uptight and especially if their owners allow them to invade her space – which happens frequently, I’m afraid to say.
Earlier this week, we met a couple walking in the local fields. They appeared ahead of us with a humungous black Labrador that, on spotting us, immediately slunk low, creeping carefully, stiff legged, bristled back. It was plain to me that he was angling for trouble, but being a polite person, I decided not to shout over for them to put their dog on the lead. Buster neatly sidestepped away and shimmied past the dog in a big arc, but as the dog passed closely by Floss (who was on the lead), it suddenly darted behind us and attacked Floss. I swung round, as by now the owners were well behind me and shouted, “ thank you!” in the most derisive tone I could muster.
Later in the week, the same thing happened only this time I had just Floss with me. A lady walked towards us with a big flat coat retriever, off the lead. It looked reasonably ‘safe’ but as always, I put Floss on the lead. As we drew alongside, the retriever engaged in the usual trick of sneaking past, then smartly doubling back so he could shove his nose at the back end of Floss. Floss whipped round and snapped (although I admit I did allow her to, as I was rather cheesed off!).
“Well, you deserved that”, said the lady to her dog (I assume she thought her dog understood English) and then added, “Leave the dog alone it’s on the lead”. Not a word to me! Just a vaguely admonishing tone towards her dog who she clearly put above everyone else in the vicinity and appeared to have no regard for good manners, let alone responsible dog ownership. We walked on while I shook my head and rolled my eyes.
Thankfully, the dog backed off when Floss gave it a warning, but what if the other dog had attacked Floss? Did the woman know for sure it wouldn’t? Why did she allow her dog to approach my dog in the first place? This is why it is difficult for me to ever get Floss to be totally relaxed around other dogs and while the incident serves perhaps to train the other woman’s dog, (he will probably eventually learn to avoid on lead dogs if he gets snapped at enough) – why should this be at the expense of my dog’s stress levels which, one could argue, poses questions in terms of my pet’s individual welfare?
What do our Holidays4Dogs followers think? Our next article will explore the concept of responsible dog ownership from a more academic view and it makes for interesting reading for anyone that cares and looks after dogs.