To my fellow dog owners

Super proud of my reactive boy during our camping weekend, he demonstrated how far he has come. From a dog that barked at everything, to calmly walking through busy areas, passing people and dogs, cows, deer and sheep at close quarters and ignoring cyclists and traffic. We all have our limits though and I wish my fellow dog owners would respect that my dogs limits may be different to their dog’s.

So, to the man I ‘met’ in the pub car park, while I was stood, in what I thought was a safe out of the way corner with my dog, waiting for my husband to follow the covid rules and 1 way system to find a table in the beer garden. I realise you don’t think your lovely, friendly dog who clearly doesn’t have a painful spinal condition like my dog and who clearly desperately wants to approach every dog he sees even if the other dog is giving loud signals asking him not to come closer, did anything wrong.

However while your dog lunged and pulled towards my dog, pulling so hard on his lead that his body was at a 45 degree angle to the floor and getting close enough so I could hear his claws scraping on the concrete as he tried in vain to gain more traction to pull you closer to my dog, it would have been helpful if you had called your dog away rather than laughing at my dog having a mini meltdown and making some offhand comment that I could not hear over my dog’s barking.

And to the lady in the beautiful national trust grounds with lots of signs asking dogs to be kept on leads. It is wonderful that you have so much confidence in your ‘well trained’ dogs, so much so that you drape their leads around your neck rather than attaching them to your dogs.

However, while we moved over to the other side of the path to maintain some space and your dogs ignored my on-lead dog’s signals that he would rather not say hello today, I wonder whether your confidence was misplaced, as neither of your dogs seemed to be aware that you were calling them and did not turn away until my dog was forced to give a brief ‘back off’ grumble. Your comment that ‘it serves them right’ may or may not be true, but does not help my dog who was put in a stressful situation that meant he felt he had to bark/growl at your dogs.

I work hard to avoid these situations and to build my dog’s confidence around other dogs so that he knows they are not a threat and will not approach him uninvited so he doesn’t feel that he needs to panic (bark/lunge) as soon as a dog comes into view. My dog is more than happy to maintain the 2 metre social distancing rule and will happily ignore your dog if only they did the same.

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