Time for a mini rant. I have been wondering lately what can be done to persuade dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead while walking the public streets? It is such a simple thing to do yet so many flout this very basic rule of good urban dog owner etiquette. Every other day I meet someone walking along with their dog, off lead, ten feet ahead of them or ten feet behind. So often the dog attempts to cross the road to meet my dog- on a lead of course- and I have to call over in my sweetest tones “can you please put your dog on a lead”, or more sweetly still, “Did you know it is illegal for a dog to cross the road off lead?”
So what is the harm you say, my dog is friendly and well-behaved? Well, does your friendly dog like to meet people and children that don’t necessarily want to meet him? That way disaster lies as the friendly, rambunctious dog that jumps up trying to meet and greet with his nose and claws may be construed as a pest or worse, dangerous. Remember a friendly dog can fall foul of the Dangerous Dogs Act by accident. Friendly is not code for well behaved and one person’s friendly is another’s nightmare.
Many dogs feel trapped on the lead as they have a sense that they cannot run or escape from anything that makes them anxious. Another strange dog right in your dog’s face, or trying to sniff his rear, makes many dogs, already on a lead, incredibly anxious. Seriously folks, unless you have a competition level obedience-trained hound and can guarantee that your dog will stay by your side or wherever you leave him, without faltering, no matter what the distraction, not even venturing a sniff should a canine ‘pied piper’ pass exuding the aromas of bitch in heat, or similar, then my advice is simple- put a lead on your dog on the public streets and lead by example!