What a nice world would be if we all were able to go for a walk with our off-lead dogs without even be worried that something bad or unexpected could happen? I am positive that this is a dream of all dog owners. Everyone needs the most obedient dog that will immediately respond in every cue, every single time and with any distractions around. Sadly, this is very rare to see that is why most people keep their dogs on the lead.
Here are my top reasons why we should never allow our dogs to approach other dogs (on and off lead)
The Dog Is In Training
There are loads of people out there who are trying to teach their dog to be calm and walk beside them when on lead. They are trying to train their dog to respond to them and be able to hear them when there are distractions around. The last thing these people want is being approached by an unfamiliar dog who is going to ruin all the training process in some seconds.
The Dog Is In Pain
A dog that is in pain or sick doesn’t really appreciate the company of other dogs and especially unfamiliar ones. This category also includes senior dogs that might have a problem with their joints or bones making them more vulnerable to the environment around them. Any medical issues or pain problems can and will affect a dog’s general behaviour and response towards anyone. As we don’t know what the other dog is experiencing, we have to keep our dog beside us making sure that we create an appropriate distance between the dogs.
The Dog Guards a Resource
Resource guarding is a behaviour where the dog guards something that is considered valuable to them and tries to protect it by growling, snapping, lunging or biting from anyone getting close. The resource can be food, object or even a person (for example the owner of the dog). If the dog is a resource guarder, he/she will react aggressively to a dog that is approaching, even if the dog has the best and the friendliest intentions.
The Dog Is Fearful
Not all dogs appreciate other dogs running up to them to say hi. Especially when we talk about dogs that are scared of others. Some dogs had been bullied by other dogs, had bad experiences or not experience at all when they were puppies or had inherited some fearful behaviour from their parents. These could be some reasons that cause any dog to not like the presence of other dogs.
The Dog Is Aggressive
In most cases an aggressive dog is an extremely fearful dog that has left with no other choice than biting in order to defend himself. As we don’t know the past of this dog and what caused him to react this way, we must keep our distance once again. Having an aggressive dog doesn’t mean that we can’t walk them. These owners have and need to exercise their dogs as long as they take some safety precautions to ensure everybody’s safety. We all need to respect that.
It is never ok to assume that everyone wants other dogs or people in their space. Many people want to go for a quiet walk with their dog in order to calm down from a busy day, do not want to talk or been approached by anyone and in general they just want to walk in peace. So, it is rude to let our dog run towards an unfamiliar dog and owner without asking first.
- You can be fined for walking your dog off lead. The law in most countries is very clear – always keep your dogs on the lead.
- The other dog might not get well with a specific breed, size or sex of the dog and your dog could fall in one of these categories.
To sum up, if we want to consider ourselves as responsible dog owners, the least we can do is to ensure everyone’s safety, privacy and choices. The walks should always be calm, relaxing and stress free. By letting our dog run to other dogs, the only thing we create is stress and arousal. Even if our dog is friendly, doesn’t mean that the other dog wants an uninvited company. We all must respect that.
I really don’t like to put labels on dogs (such as aggressive, fearful etc.) but this is only done for reading comprehension purposes.