Are You A Responsible Dog Walker?
Disclaimer: This does not only apply to professional dog walkers but to the general public too.
The line between a responsible owner and an irresponsible one is not a blurred line. No matter the argument you have the line is very clear.
Nowadays, the biggest arguments revolve around dogs being on leads. There’s many reasons a dog can be on lead and you can read about those reasons in my other blog: Have Some Manners!
Firstly, let’s cover what is deemed to be responsible ownership from a dog owners point of view.
Picking up after your dog and place it in a provided
If there isn’t a bin then carry it home. Too many times I see discarded poo bags. You picked it up in plastic to help the environment only to throw it on the floor. Thus making it pointless having picked it up in the first place.
Keeping your dog under control at all times.
Don’t let your dog jump up at others. Put your dog on lead if you see another dog. Don’t let your dog charge other dogs.
Respecting other peoples/dogs space.
Seems relatively simple right? Yet so many people cannot follow some simple seemingly easy rules.
So what happens when some one is an irresponsible walker?
Livestock ends up killed.
Other people/children/dogs end up attacked.
Fears end up affecting people - I.e. people with fears of dogs/certain breeds.
Dog poo litters beautiful open spaces.
Recently, a dog walker in Catterick Camp who goes by the name Waggin’ Walkin’ Adventurers was attacked by a dog.
“This afternoon, both myself and Ella (Springer Spaniel) were in involved in a Dog Attack whilst out walking in Leyburn. The purpose of this post, is simply to alert people of the Dangers of Dog Attacks, and basically to point out that it can happen to anyone, at any given time.
The attack involved an Male, German Shepherd.
Both Ella and I were happily playing in the river, throwing stones like we usually do. I'd noticed something moving towards us, at speed but only caught on it was a G.S when it got closer. It was barking quite ferociously, and then flung itself toward Ella, but she moved and the Dog hit me which floored me into the river, where I bashed my head and elbow during the fall into the water.
The Dog had Ella, luckily by her collar and thankfully not the neck, but it was at this point when I had got myself up, I'd noticed there was no owner anywhere in sight. The Dog was quite simply in attack mode. The only thing I could do to help Ella was to kick him off her, and then shield her from him.
The Dog had then turned onto me, launching itself into me, snapping at my coat and hands, with its nails scraping at my legs when falling down - constantly trying to get at Ella.
Kicking it off again, my last resort was to crouch over Ella, locking her in with my legs as she curled in a ball, shielding her with my chest, placing my hands around my neck to protect myself.
The Dog continued jumping all over me. My head, my arms, my side. My green jackets left arm was completely torn open, along with the right shoulder and arm, with puncture marks in the back of the coat from the Dogs nails.
Thankfully, after about 10 minutes of pure hell, the owner arrived. It's hard to think about much, or to keep yourself calm & controlled when you're absolutely shitting bricks (excuse me) but I had spurted out some colourful language, which translated to a more respectable 'Get your Dog on a lead right now'.
Now the important thing, is both me and Ella are fine. My coat may not be, but a coat is a coat. I'm shook up definitely, but I'm okay. So for those family and friends worried - we are fine.
It COULD have been a lot worse, but it wasn't.
The other important thing to note, is that this is not a reflection of the Breed. German Shepherds are beautiful Dogs.
What this is a reflection of, is simply Bad Handling - Bad Ownership. A dog as aggressive as that, happy enough to turn onto a Human, should not be off a lead, no matter how empty a walk should look, and if they are - they should be muzzled!
I received no apology from the Owner as they struggled to collect their Dog, or even a 'Are you okay' 'Is the Dog okay'.
Dog Attacks are horrendous, and it's not funny. If you cannot control your Dog, you need to take precautions to make sure no member of the public, and their family pets or even pets they look after are put in a position which can be potentially life threatening.”
Waggin’ Walkin’ Adventurers after appearing fine ended up going to A&E a few days later and said this: “Following on from Tuesdays incident with the Dog Attack, I've had to go to A&E today because I couldn't move my head, left or right without being in pain which was affecting my eyesight also. I've been diagnosed with Post Concussion and a sprained neck.”
Nobody likes to point the finger and blame someone but how can you blame the dog? This attack as Waggin’ Walkin’ Adventurers stated could have been a lot worse, the dog could have seriously injured her or her dog Ella or worse. It just doesn’t bare thinking about.
It comes down to knowing your dog, knowing his behaviour, knowing what sets him off and being sensible in regards to the knowledge you have of your pet.
If your dog has a high prey drive, keep him on lead, especially if he sees dogs smaller than himself as prey.
If your dog has sporadic recall, consider a long line/recall line.
If your dog jumps up, teach them not to or keep them on lead.
If your dog is reactive, keep them on lead and consider training.
Its not just about keeping other dogs/people/children safe, following these rules and using a little common sense can also keep you safe, your dog safe and your children if you have any.