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managing (large) puppies

(75 Posts)
bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:01:19

and I do not mean breasts btw.

This is actually 'is my dh being unreasonable' as I was not there - anyway - we went out a couple of weeks ago for a sunday walk around a local (v popular) nature reserve and a well used gravelled path around it. DH went on ahead with dd and ds as they are learning to use their bikes and I strolled with dd2 as she is 2 and flatly refuses to ride her trike for more than 5 minutes. So I was not with them when they met a large puppy coming the opposite direction. DD1 is 5 and prone to nervous reactions around dogs and as she is still v wobbly on her bike she is very nervous aboput falling off. So when the puupy came bounding up barking and jumping up at her she screamed and stumbled back. No real harm done fortunately and the dog was being friendly in his own way, but dh expected the owner to bring said puppy to heel and apologise.

She half-heartedly pulled puppy off dd and when dh spoke to her she became defensive and blamed dd for squealing and scaring the puppy! Dh said she did apologise 'sort of' then stormed off but as they had met half way round the route they bumped into each other again at the end. Dh commented (v sarcastically knowing dh) that she had the puppy on a lead now at least and she huffed and puffed about it and said 'yes, now there are people around'. But there are always people around as this is a very well used reserve with a bike hire place and cafe/ conference centre lots of bikes going round and families and untrained dogs are a danger to themselves and cyclists. Plenty of dog owners use the paths but they are generally on leads and no problem - there are also wide open spaces suitable for letting them run off the lead.

Dh took note of her car reg and contacted the police to ask them to remind her of the responsibilities of dog ownership - which they did.

I know if I had been in dh's position I would not have been so confident about calling her on her behaviour and would never have thought to call the police. But I do think he was right.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Wed 03-Aug-11 16:06:31

no your husband was NOT being unreasonable, but I am getting a bit fed up of the 'dog/owner bashing' threads that are around at the moment. sad

puppies do tend to jump up and the owner should have known that and had the puppy on a lead.

Personally I wouldnt have called the police - but that is me, although the owner would have got a bollocking from me; whether my husband had been there or not. Actually I have done and I say this as a sensible dog mum of 2 large breed dogs.

DogsBestFriend Wed 03-Aug-11 16:08:30

Bloody waste of police time and an overreaction.

MrsCampbellBlack Wed 03-Aug-11 16:11:25

I wouldn't have phoned the police personally but agree the puppy should have been on a lead.

I am not a dog owner but can appreciate the majority are responsible but there is a small minority who are a pain (still bitter about ruining suede shoes in dog shit which someone had left on my driveway ealier this week).

Jennytailia Wed 03-Aug-11 16:16:29

Agree it's a waste of police time. Your DH pulled her up on it, and then again at the end of the walk and then called the police. Too much IMO

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:17:33

I thought there would have been a range of views on this - I don't think dh would have called the police but for the confrontational aspect of the encounter and the womans insistence that dd was to blame not her puppy. It was a large breed and if not properly trained the poor dog will be a risk to others due to the owners poor handling. I think the responsibility of dog owner ship needed reinforcing for this woman and the local police were able to do this with some authority.

TurkeyBurgerThing Wed 03-Aug-11 16:21:27

Your DH is a twit I'm afraid. What an utter waste of police time! Him reacting like that in front of the kids is just going to make them more wary about dogs. What a fool!

Birdsgottafly Wed 03-Aug-11 16:22:38

He is right.

I have a five month old GS, it would not teach her anything to let her behave like that. You keep them on a lead until the have decent recall, then you carry treats and get their attention that way until they ignore other people (sorry for the training lesson but there is no excuse).

If the woman does not get the basics right early on, then she will soon have a dog stronger than her who is uncontrolable.

I wouldn't have called the police, tbh. That seems a tad OTT. I would have had words, which your DH did. A puppy by it's very nature is a clumsy, bouncy ball of energy, so it seems daft to me to have it off the lead when it isn't yet trained. The dog could very well just leg it.

Birdsgottafly Wed 03-Aug-11 16:24:44

Just to add my puppy was attacked recently by an out of control dog that was the obvious wrong breed for the female owner. It isn't just anoying for non dog owners.

If the dog or park wardens were better funded then the police wouldn't have had to be called, but they aren't.

picturelibrary Wed 03-Aug-11 16:25:33

The owner should have had her dog on a lead, but phoning the police is completely OTT.

DogsBestFriend Wed 03-Aug-11 16:26:36

Birds! I'm not a tad envious... oh no, not me... grin

Ephiny Wed 03-Aug-11 16:27:11

YABU I think. Yes people should have better control over their dogs in public places, and I'm sorry your daughter was frightened/upset. BUT there was no need for him to make sarcastic comments at a later time (especially as she had the pup on a lead by this point), and absolutely beyond ridiculous to call the police over a playful puppy!

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:29:31

sorry turkey - do you mean by expecting the woman to act reasonably - I thought that was fine not 'twit'-ish - the police thing was done after we had gone home and not when the children were paying any attention. We are always respectful of dogs and friendly with them his aunt owned and trained Alsations so he likes big dogs and always greets them and strokes/ talks to dogs when out and about so he encourages the children to be confident and respectful of dogs as well.

DogsBestFriend Wed 03-Aug-11 16:36:58

German Shepherds.

The breed is German Shepherd, not Alsatian.

The situation was actually far more of a matter for the local council than the Police. The council DW can equally visit and warn of consequences and can also issue, where they have been adopted, Dog Control Orders upon an errant owner (not that I think a DCO would have been appropriate on this occasion personally).

I think we might bear in mind too that we didn't see for ourselves how close the pup did or didn't get to the OPs DD before the DD started screaming, much less see it from the position in which the owner was standing at the time. Admittedly there is NO WAY an untrained pup should have been offlead in this situation for his own sake but it may be argued that as far as the owner could see her dog was some distance away/not threatening and this child started screaming at him.

Nailitorelse Wed 03-Aug-11 16:39:26

There are ways and ways of dealing with these things, and it does sound like your DH is one of those "confrontational" rather than "assertive" types.
Often better results can be achieved by being "nicely assertive" rather than downright, in-your-face, "commanding", which is what calling the police suggest DH is like in reality?

EvenLessNarkyPuffin Wed 03-Aug-11 16:44:46

Calling the police was daft.

Telling owner to put the puppy on a lead was reasonable.

If you're doing off lead training you need good visibility so you have time to react if another dog/person/bike approaches. It reminds me of the OP yesterday who let her small DC stand at the bottom of the big slide because 'there was no-one on it'. By the time the older child was visible they were at the top of the slide and about to let go and she couldn't get there quickly enough.

You and your dh are right that the puppy's owner should have had her on a lead or under better control given that they were somewhere that is not just used by dog owners, but is used a lot by other people/cyclists/families.

But she is also right that it didn't help that your dd squealed when the puppy came up to her - that could have got the puppy more wound up and exacerbated the situation. Your dd doesn't have to like dogs (it is a matter of personal choice) but she needs to learn to control her reactions around them. Lots of people have dogs, and she is going to encounter dogs throughout her life - hopefully most will be properly under control and won't jump up at her or come close enough to worry her, but she can't control that (nor can you) - so she needs to learn that there is something about the situation that she can control - and that is her reaction to the dog.

Dogs do pick up on people's emotions and reactions, and if she is giving off a calm, confident vibe to the dog, that can help calm the situation - plus it enables her to stand still and be utterly boring (as far as the dog is concerned), so that it loses interest quickly and goes off after the next interesting smell/sight. On the other hand, if she is squealing and jumping up and down/backing off - that makes her interesting to the dog, which is the last thing she wants.

Do you know anyone with a calm, laid back, well-behaved dog who you could introduce your dd to? It might help her if she got to know a dog that didn't jump up, sat down when told to, and was basically just a cuddly lump that she could pet and gain some confidence with. I think our dog is like this, and when we are out and about where there are small children around, I am more than happy to get her to sit and offer a paw, and to let children pat her (with their parents' permission, obviously). I'll tell them funny or naughty things she's done to make them laugh and help them see her personality, as I hope that makes her seem less scary (if they are scared).

Slambang Wed 03-Aug-11 16:45:39

You called the police because a puppy jumped up in an over friendly way???! shock

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:47:27

Sorry - my knowledge of dog breeds is v poor as we always had 'interesting' mongrel dogs (all lovely for it) as I was growing up - blush

As far as I know the interaction was instant as they came round a bend and the dog bounded up and leapt up then dd squealed. But even if she squealed before the dog leapt up that did not excuse the piss poor attitude from the owner, imo. It really would have been over and forgotten if not for her arguing with dh over the rights and wrongs of it all and then arguing again when they met again. Dh should have restrained his sarky tongue though.

PoppyDoolally Wed 03-Aug-11 16:51:58

Sorry can't help- I clicked on here hoping for some help with what to wear in this weather if you have mahousive J cup puppies sad

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:53:21

dd does need to learn and she does meet friendly dogs and greets them and talks to their owners - she is a friendly girl. But unfortunately she is unpredictable - a bit like a puppy in that respect. It is a process and responsible owners who train their dogs really help make it a successful process.

Pandemoniaa Wed 03-Aug-11 16:53:31

It's reasonable to put a bouncy puppy on a lead if they can't, yet, be trusted to be rather more selective about who they greet but calling the police is ridiculous.

Although if this over-reaction is now reasonable, remind me to do similarly the next time my (small) dog is seriously spooked by children who, at the first sight of him minding his own business on a walk, set up a banshee-like howling and shrieking accompanied by wild arm-waving of the sort that could look like an attack.

It's far better to teach children to react sensibly to dogs since the majority of them will be fine. If you meet a dog that isn't quite as trustworthy, making an awful fuss won't improve things.

bigmouthstrikesagain Wed 03-Aug-11 16:54:56

I double dd feel your pain

Rhinestone Wed 03-Aug-11 16:55:34

Sounds like the woman was rude in not apologising that her puppy jumped up at your DD. She should have said said sorry. But it also sounds like your DH was sarcastic back at her after it was over.

I also think calling the police is OTT. It's not actually against the law to have a puppy off the lead you know.

And you seem a bit strange by posting this TWO WEEKS after it happened!

Quite frankly only your DD and the puppy seem normal in this story.

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