Off-Lead Dogs and Irresponsible Owners.


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 irresponsible dog owners out there?  Twice now, in the same week, I’ve had the displeasure of meeting rude dogs and even ruder owners. Read our Holidays4Dogs article on the subject of off-lead dogs and irresponsible owners.

A few times a week I walk Buster the springer spaniel, owned by a family member. He’s a good-natured fellow and a joy to walk. He loves his ball and although he does more, ‘spinning’ than ‘springing’, he’s a jocular character who never argues. He just lives life to the full.

off lead dogs

Buster lives life to the full!

Floss does too in her own way. However, she’s really not a fan of other dogs, (except Buster). And…she 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 can get uptight on daily walks. Especially if other dogs 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. On spotting us, he immediately slunk low, creeping slowly, stiff legged, bristled back. It was plain to me he was angling for trouble.

However, being a polite person, I decided not to shout over for them to put their dog on the lead. Buster neatly sidestepped away; passing the dog in a big arc. As  soon as the dog passed closely by Floss, (who was on the lead, I might add), it suddenly darted behind us and attacked Floss. I swung round in disbelief. By now, the owners were well behind me and I shouted, “ thank-you!!” in the most derisive tone I could muster. I think my words were, however, lost in the wind.

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.

“Well, you deserved that”, said the lady to her dog. I assume she thought her dog understood English. She 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. The lady dog walker appeared to have no regard for good manners, let alone any concept of 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 her dog would not injure another dog? Why did she allow her dog to approach my dog in the first place, when mine was on the lead? Presumably, she was confident her dog was friendly, but she could not have known that Floss is not.

This is why it is difficult for me to ever get Floss to be totally relaxed around other dogs. Training is a one step forward, two steps back sort of affair.

While the incident might serve to train the other woman’s dog – he will, no doubt, 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 and ultimately welfare?

There are many reasons why a dog might be on the lead. Some dogs are fearful, some might be in training. Others may be old, or infirm. Not all dogs like being sociable with their own kind and this is perfectly natural. In the same way, some people prefer their own company…or, the company of their dog!

If you are out walking and see another dog walker with their dog on the lead, please, please don’t allow your dog to invade their space. And – If your dog is not friendly, please keep your dog on a lead.

At Holidays4Dogs we will walk guest dogs off the lead with owners permission. However, dogs must have a good recall and be friendly with all other dogs and people,