Updated: Apr 12, 2022
I need to see a change now. Before I completely lose what shred of faith I have in humanity and move to the woods with a pack of wild dogs.
I’m genuinely interested to find out how much dog owners know about the 'unwritten rules' of dog social etiquette. I want to focus on one in particular. It has become something that determines whether I will start my day in tears or not.
Rule: If you see another dog on a lead…put your dog on a lead also, OR, ensure you have it under complete control by your side unless you have go ahead from the other owner that it’s ok for them to socialise.
I’m going to list the reasons why:
You have no idea why the other dog is on a lead. It may just be that it’s a bit of a runner; or, it could mean that it has serious behavioural issues that may not be immediately visible. Especially if it's the latter, this could cause serious emotional, and sometimes physical, trauma to the parties involved
That’s it. ONE reason
In order to nip in the bud what I worry has already become a bit of a trend we should be teaching our hounds, from day one:
Another dog isn’t automatically a play mate, sorry. You must be given 'the nod' first
Your pup’s recall must be reliable so that it comes to you when asked and doesn’t make a bee line for a potentially very nervous or aggressive dog
Consider this: In the animal kingdom when one animal runs head long towards another…it usually doesn’t mean they’re going to cuddle.
Rescue pups in particular often come with baggage. They’ve already learnt about the world before they find their final home and the things they've learnt have often caused lasting damage. It takes a long time to re-teach a rescue, if ever.
Rocky and all rescues have just as much right to enjoy walks and our precious open spaces.
I keep the situation safe by ensuring I have full control of Rocky at all times. He deserves the same back.
Owners of dogs with issues often play down the behaviour to save embarrassment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “sorry, he’s a bit grumpy” instead of “sorry, he's actually quite frightened so please could your call your dog away”. When I allow another dog to upset Rocky I have failed him. That’s when I go home, tears stinging my eyes, feeling like the worst human on the planet.
If someone asks you to call your dog away or put it on a lead, please have a little compassion and humility. We don’t do it to make a scene and we certainly don’t do it because we enjoy it. It’s awkward enough as it is without the eye rolls, sighs, or on the odd day being completely ignored. The end goal here is to keep everyone safe and keep everyone enjoying their time with humanity's best mate. End scene.