Is it me?

November 24, 2009


When I am out on a walk  I am fortunate that I can read a dog fairly quickly, as I must say most owners are not aware of how threatening their dogs behaviour can appear, it is not good social behaviour for any dog to charge up to other people or their dogs, this would not happen in the wild, it is lack of education and understanding of the pet dog that causes them to behave in this way.

Many owners take exception to me repelling their dogs advances, as if I am the anti-social one for not wanting their dog jumping all over me and my dog! There seems to be an attitude in this country that it is not just okay, for a dog to charge towards anyone they fancy the look of, but that it is necessary for them to talk to everyone and their dog on a walk. I am amazed at how immersed British dog owners are in this belief, normally a nation of socially inhibited people; it seems that when it comes to dogs anything goes!  Would we let our children do the same thing? Highly unlikely!

More than anything in the world I would like to change the minds of pet owners on this attitude, because then I and my dog could go for a walk without being constantly harassed by other peoples dogs, and so would everyone else, and we would make the country a place where dogs were more welcome by non dog owners. If I find other peoples dogs annoying when I am out, imagine how the non-dog owners feel?

13 Responses to “Is it me?”

  1. Matthew Says:

    I can assure you it is exactly the same in Australia, the English do not have the monopoly on that one. Every time I see it happen I cringe! Good luck changing peoples attitudes…

  2. Bella Murray Says:

    I totally agree. It drives me nuts when people just let their dogs charge up. Especially when they are soaking wet from jumping in the river and then shake themselves near me.

    Another pet peeve of mine is when people think it is OK for dogs to get up close and personal in a vet’s waiting room. Hello? Do you think I want my dog to catch whatever it is your dog is in the vet for?

  3. H Says:

    I agree. I can usually judge how a dog is going to react and don’t generally mind if I have spotted the dog and it’s reaction first, if it’s a good one. It’s the owners who are not in control of their dogs in public places, who have an obviously agressive dog and who always seem to say ‘he/she’s never done that before’, particularly when I know it has. However, I do think that it will take a very long time to change attitudes as certainly where I live the dogs seem to come first – even when there are young children around!

  4. Thelma Bromley Says:

    A subject I feel very strongly about. I always have my dogs on extendable leads as they are Border Terriers and were bred to chase, a problem with the breed is they tend ‘go deaf’ when they put up a pheasant, see a cat, squirrel, etc but it amazes me how people think they have so much control over their dog, they call and shout at it as it bounds up to me and my dogs on their leads, sometimes I get cries of “it’s O.K. he/she won’t hurt you” as it hurtles up to me , bristles up. I always carry a plastic pot of pepper and a stick in case someone elses dog attacks mine as at least then I can empty pepper on the dogs nose and try to get the stick through its collar to get it off mine. I think it is only common decency to put your dog on a lead when you see others.

  5. jacquie Says:

    Hi I also totally agree, living in the countryside people think that their dogs have the right to go and do what they like without the owners hardly ever taking notice of their dogs. My pet hates are people whose gardens back onto public footpaths as they do here one has a doberman who jumps at the fence and nearly pushes it over, and the other dog is a finnish spitz which is allowed to run the gauntlet along a chain link fencing barking snarling and growling about 5 feet from the public footpath so people walking their dogs along this path find that their dogs either want to respond to being shouted at or get very anxious when going past, it is a lovely walk even at this time of the year but as you say non doggy people are petrified to walk along there,and also I cannot take my grandchildren along there as they get so frightened, but how on earth does one get through their owners, as they just think its a great joke. They are not taking it on board that their poor dogs are really stressed

    • Avril Munson Says:

      thank you Jacquie for high lighting another area on this, I would encourage anyone to report this type of behaviour to the dog warden, who I know is over stretched but education is the way forward and that is their job!


  6. I find these scenarios an ideal talking point and an opportunity to offer my dog training services ! By allowing my dog to “read” the situation and deal with it – for instance a potentially aggressive dog will see from my dog’s attitude and body language that the behaviour is unacceptable and I can help the situation by behaving appropriately, both dogs exhibit better behaviour for the other owner to observe and comment on. This is the point at which I start the conversation and work in that dog obedience training is beneficial. Quite often it will result in nothing more than the other owner accompanying me on my walk and us talking about what is happening and how to incorporate training into the walks. I then hand over a business card and lo and behold I will at some point in the future get a phone call and we go from there. I think my approach is not to just use the situation for my “sales pitch” but to start to educate the other owner. This is far better than being disapproving and results in better behaved dogs – which actually spreads the right message quicker. I believe I am in the business of education rather than selling my services – I know how much I’ve learned from other trainers over the years – Avril being the most inspirational and I suppose I now feel I have to spread the word ! I have only ever come across 2 aggressive dogs when I’ve been out walking and my dog outran them both to the point where the dogs gave up and felt rather silly and now greet Doodle in a friendly manner ! Maybe I have just been lucky and no, I don’t tolerate dogs jumping up at me either – a biscuit and sit seems to work with these dogs no matter how little training they’ve had.

    • Avril Munson Says:

      Thank you Linda, and I can imagine how charming you and Doodle are on walks, not like this grumpy old woman:) but I do think you are in a unique position, firstly Doodle is a very big dog, so not many dogs would mess with him, and he has a great temperament. But a more nervy or smaller dog may well be traumatised for life by similar experiences, when I had Dobermanns I saw this issue quite differently as other dogs did not want to pick on them!
      My Border Collies are smaller and the outcome is much less predictable and I am not willing to risk my dog’s well being to help sort other peoples pet’s on walks, I want him to know that I will deal with the situation to ensure he sees me as a strong pack leader and keep him safe.
      Also I have heard so many horror stories of my clients dogs, one of which was where the dog was chased all the way home, yes she was fast enough to outrun the large GSD that was after her, but was lucky not to run over crossing the 3 roads between her and home.

  7. Avis Says:

    Very interesting reading. I can only agree with the sentiments of you all. I am very fortunate to have space around me to walk my dogs away from others. If we do meet dogs out I always call mine up and keep their focus on me. I don’t really have any interest in them mixing with unknown dogs as it distracts their attention from me and as you say packs would not mix in the wild. It is different if you have close friends who’s dogs are known to yours and they meet regularly.


  8. Loved your reply to my comment Avril – not so sure about me being charming – I’m working on the grumpy old woman persona! I think your reply and that of others reiterates just how much we can all learn from one another and of course it makes me think of things from other points of view – never a bad thing. Funnily enough I came across a jumper upper today whilst out for a walk who sure enough went to jump up at me (another Labradoodle – no suprise there !). Sit, Down, biscuit worked the first time, he tried it a second time with the same result and he never bothered a third time. Owners were amazed but what was particularly impressive, he didn’t bother with another two walkers who came along shortly afterwards! I would point out that it is very rarely aggressive with a Labradoodle, just high spirits and a lack of leadership within their own “pack” – this breed doesn’t seem to have an in-built thermostat when it comes to excitement levels so they have to be shown what is and isn’t acceptable. So, I would agree with all the other comments, it is down to the owners ! I’ve recommended your training video on calming a dog to them Avril – Doodle’s eyes roll up into the back of his head and he heavy breathes when I do this technique with him – all taught by you of course when Doodle was a puppy so thanks for that !

  9. Avril Munson Says:

    thank you Linda, I thoroughly enjoyed working with you and Doodle! and I just cannot imagine you growing grumpy even if you try:) It is great to get a discussion going on this subject and get everyone thinking about issues and what we can change and how!
    Please let me know if there are areas of special interest to you?


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