Advanced search

To want other dog owners to restrain their dogs in public

(48 Posts)
jonsnowssocks Fri 20-May-16 11:49:54

While out walking my dogs this morning, we were approached by another dog whose owner was about 150m away and making little effort to call back her dog. She called once and when the dog didn't return, she left it and the dog came to play with us.

I was really worried as I knew nothing about this dog, and my older male dog will get defensive if other male dogs sniff unrestrainedly around my female dog. He's never attacked, but he can growl and jump (though I always keep him on the lead), which is hugely aggressive from my generally very placid dog. There have also been a couple of instances of my dogs being attacked, with no major injuries, though seeing your dog being pinned down and bitten is really unpleasant.

Anyway, very thankfully the dog was female and friendly and there was no trouble. I had to shout to the other owner to come and collect her dog, and she wandered over. I explained that my dog can be defensive and I would prefer if she could restrain her dog just in case, and TBH I was quite upset at this point (shaky upset not angry upset) because I had been really scared about what would happen when the other dog approached us. The owner simply said that her dog was friendly and I had no reason to worry.

So the question is, AIBU to want owners to restrain their dogs just in case there's any trouble?

CheesecakeWarrior Fri 20-May-16 11:51:54

Yanbu. Just because she perceives her dog as friendly doesn't mean other are or that it won't react to another dog/runner/child...

Blimmincheek Fri 20-May-16 11:58:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fieldfare Fri 20-May-16 12:10:40

I agree with you OP.
If a dog is being walked on-lead in a safe, open space there is a reason for it. Common sense should dictate that you see this, call your dog to heel and let the other dog pass by unhindered. If your dog finds it too tempting and ignores the return command, you need to observe who's walking around you and recall when they're further away.
It IS nice for them to have a run around and sniff about, but sometimes my old dog can be a bit reactive, especially to large, younger males that won't stop sniffing his bum and back legs. He's had both knees operated on and can't run away and gets defensive about it.

How hard is it really to see a dog on-lead and then either pop yours on the lead or get them to sit at heel and call over to the other person?

jonsnowssocks Fri 20-May-16 12:18:19

We were between a park and a wooded area, where dogs are often off their leads then recalled when other dogs are around. It's a pretty quiet area - during a 1 hour walk, we saw three other dogs.

If your dog is unpredictable walk in areas where other dogs are on a lead too.

I think this is the crux for me - given that I know my dog can growl when faced with male dogs off the lead, is it my responsibility to take him places where he won't see other dogs? I normally walk at odd times (very early or late, at mealtimes, in bad weather) and bad places (despite living in the countryside, I often take my dogs to the scrubland behind an industrial estate as there are never any other dogs around) but today I just thought sod it and went to a nice place in nice weather.

jonsnowssocks Fri 20-May-16 12:20:37

And just to clarify, it's only when other male dogs are actually touching my female dog that he might get defensive, not if they are nearby and certainly not if they are next to their owners, on the lead or otherwise.

SnapCackleFlop Fri 20-May-16 12:27:03

I don't think you're BU at all. I always keep my dog on a lead and hate other dogs running loose with feckless owners who let them behave terribly (i know some wonderfully behaved dogs who are well under control off lead). My son was jumped on and knocked over by a very boisterous dog - i phoned police and they were actually extremely helpful.

AppleSetsSail Fri 20-May-16 12:29:00

So you're worried about your dog being attacked - not doing the attacking, right?

I have had a dog attacked and it is very unpleasant - if I see a dog at the dog park that I don't like, I leave and she doesn't get her exercise. That said, I don't have perfect control over the way my dog behaves with other dogs to the extent that I could stop her from running up to one if off the lead (she's disinterested in people when dogs are around).

Godstopper Fri 20-May-16 12:37:27

I have a fear aggressive Border Terrier.

I would NOT have most of the issues we have if people bothered to RECALL their dogs. And because of that, I now choose walks carefully (where I can see in most directions what is coming).

Not all dogs want to interact, and it is an unhelpful myth that strange dogs should be meeting one another and playing. That often leads to uncontrolled 'playing' which easily spills over into aggression. It is ideal if dogs can go past one another at a sensible distance calmly (just as we don't need to interact with everyone outside, but stroll past without lunging at them!).

I am now starting to walk in more busy places as Scrabble improves, but still cautious. We have a yellow lead with NERVOUS on, but apparently, some people cannot read when they are standing next to you, deciding to announce that their dog is 'friendly'.

The standard response, of course, is: mine isn't!

A large German Shepherd approached her the other day, and we had no way to move in time. I picked her up. The GS owner becomes stroppy and says "She'll never be friendly if you do that". Well, it is not worth the risk. I can tell what dogs she is likely to react to based on their behavior, and the GS was just too full-on.

I occasionally allow very quick greetings if the other dog seems calm, and is not a small terrier (bad combo for her). A second or so is all a dog needs to get information from the other one and move on.

Sometimes, and I NEVER WOULD, I feel like letting Scrabble loose on one of these 'my dog is friendly' idiots to teach them a much needed lesson.

The lack of recall in many dogs baffles me: it is the no.1 thing you can do to ensure their safety. Both of mine have bombproof recall: your dog should turn on a sixpence and come back from distractions. If you regularly find yourself chasing your dog, then you have a problem. Don't blame me if my dog growls at yours for getting in her face. Wouldn't you be annoyed if a stranger did that to you? I would.

Scrabble has never bitten. It is a lot of posturing and hot air, though it does look unpleasant if you're unfamiliar with that behavior. It takes seconds to recall your dog. I am not even asking that you put it on lead: I just don't want it leaping on mine. A quick sniff? That is probably o.k. But if your dog is bouncy, and can seem intimidating to a smaller dog, please use commonsense and keep it away.

If you don't, then it is YOU who is responsible for it being told off by mine. I used to be apologetic, but no more. Have had enough when it is not mine running about out of control.

Also, don't think about it in terms of the on-lead dog being reactive: it might be ill, the owner might be doing training, or might simply want a quiet walk. It does not matter WHY a dog is on-lead. It is just basic consideration for those around you to keep a sensible distance.

Can you tell that owners unable to recall their dogs * me right off? grin

jonsnowssocks Fri 20-May-16 12:39:43

So you're worried about your dog being attacked - not doing the attacking, right?

Primarily I'm worried about him being attacked as it's happened before. I also worry that his growling might provoke another dog into having a go. I worry that if another dog is off the lead and in his face he might one day actually lash out and then be labelled a dangerous dog and face all the problems that entails. He might be as soft as shit most of the time (he's a golden retriever and normally as docile and obedient as you would expect that breed to be) but he stills has his animal instincts and I can't guarantee that he won't act on them one day.

thisisbloodyridiculous Fri 20-May-16 12:47:16

Was your dog on a lead?

WhisperingSeagrass Fri 20-May-16 12:48:00


IMO all dogs should be on leads in ALL public places including beaches, woods, fields. If you want to let it off-lead you should have your own land or permission to exercise on someone else's private land.

I hate seeing dogs off-lead. Lots of people are scared of them, other dogs and owners get nervous, and it's just so arrogant and thoughtless to let your dog bound along on its own!

ChronicNameChangerz Fri 20-May-16 12:48:36

YANBU at all. Just because your dog is friendly, doesn't mean mine is. Also, I actually don't like going to the park and having to spend half my time on the look out for roaming rogue dogs, I just want to concentrate on my dog.

My lovely female staffie can nip when she's extremely scared. She's only done it three times in the four years we've had her and all were very difficult situations, one involving an off-lead dog when me and my friend were walking her with our DDs who are both 8.

A very over friendly 18 month old labrador came bounding over and was jumping and whining all over my dog and us. My dog got very scared and was very scatty but I couldn't get this lab under control. My friend has never had a dog so was trying to control the lab but had no idea what to do.

Then my friend's DD had a wasp near her head so she screeched right by my dog, who'd been backing up into her to get away from this lab. My dog got completely freaked out by this and turned her head and nipped my friend's DD drawing blood.

The man who owned the lab came sauntering over laughing at how playful his little chap was being. I said he was causing my dog so much distress that my dog's just snapped at a child which is completely out of character.

The guy got his lab in a lead and told me that if my dog couldn't handle other dogs when out and about she shouldn't be out. hmm. He always said he was reporting me to the police for the girl's bite.

AppleSetsSail Fri 20-May-16 12:50:14

I have a golden as well. Do you have some reason to think that his growling is a sign of genuine aggression? It has taken me a while (post-attack) to deal with all the dog growling that i've come to accept as normal.

Godstopper surely the dogs just sort this out for themselves? Your dog doesn't like other dogs - he lets them know and they go away. What do you mean by 'letting him loose'?

ChronicNameChangerz Fri 20-May-16 12:52:23

Godstopper You have a border terrier called Scrabble? That has made my day grin

jonsnowssocks Fri 20-May-16 13:07:34

Was your dog on a lead?

Normally he's off the lead until I see another dog, then I call him back and attach him. This morning I decided to leave him off as the other dog owner was so far away (about 150m) she stood no chance of getting her dog back and I believed that being loose might keep the situation more relaxed.

Godstopper I think you're absolutely spot-on.

I have a golden as well. Do you have some reason to think that his growling is a sign of genuine aggression?

I don't know... he's never been aggressive and the times he has been attacked, he has literally cowered in the face of (or on one nasty occasion, underneath) the other dog. He even comes and hides behind me when our other dog gets too boisterous. I just assume that, given the circumstances. he's trying to protect the other dog, or keep her for himself!

mommybunny Fri 20-May-16 13:46:48

I SO agree with you Godstopper, every single word. I have a German Shepherd who is 45kg and (surprise surprise) much stronger than I am. He is really DH's dog and DH usually takes him out but sometimes if DH is away I have to do it. The GS really doesn't like other dogs sniffing and yapping at him, particularly little Jack Russells and terrier types who think they can punch above their weight. I never let the GS off the lead when we're in the woods, because he doesn't always come when I call him (he doesn't always come when DH calls him but that's another story). I get so angry when I spot another dog coming towards us and I'm holding onto mine for dear life while the clueless terrier-walker saunters on by without calling their dog to the lead and just grins at me as their stupid mutt growls and barks and goes for my GS's leg. It is not unheard of for the GS to break free of me - I feel like screaming at them "you idiot, if this escalates my dog will live and yours will die. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!"

If you want your dog to be friendly, that's great, but accept that not all dogs want that or are capable of that. For your own dog's protection PUT IT ON THE LEAD.

So in a word, OP, YANBU!

Booboostwo Fri 20-May-16 13:55:39

If your dog was off lead YABU. For me a dog off the lead means it's OK for other off lead dogs to approach.

If your dog had been on lead then other owners should recall their dogs. Many dogs feel restricted by leads and become defensive, or they may be unwell, elderly, in season, etc so it's best to leave them be.

Collaborate Fri 20-May-16 14:07:11

So, both dogs off lead and you want to complain that the other dog approached yours?

YAB so U.

It don't buy it as well that you're afraid of the other dog attacking yours. You've already acknowledged that your fear is that your male dog will attack another male dog interacting with your female.

The normal, appropriate interaction of sniffing both ends appears to trigger your dog becoming "hugely aggressive". Sounds to me like you were taking quite a risk having the male off lead.

I don't get it how owners who have aggressive dogs think that their little Hannibal Lecters are not to blame for their own aggressive actions. Keep your dog on lead, and if that isn't enough, muzzle him when other dogs are around.

CharminglyGawky Fri 20-May-16 14:18:11

I often let my dog off lead, but I never allow her to approach people or other dogs on lead. Most of the time she ignores other people/dogs anyway especially if I have a ball and she has good recall and I don't just let her wander off on her own. Certainly never as far away as you described.

But if walking in an open area I saw an off lead dog coming the other way I wouldn't stop her from saying hello as we passed, although I wouldn't let her go charging off either!

TeamSteady Fri 20-May-16 14:30:06

In a dog walking area where it's clearly safe to have them off lead, it wouldn't occur to me to keep my dog away from another if it was also offlead- to me a dog which is aggressive/uncomfortable with other dogs won't be walking in such an area off lead.

If we see other dogs on lead i will recall mine and put them on their leads and make sure we keep our distance.

However, it is pretty frustrating to have on lead walkers, with sensitive or aggressive dogs walking in high dog traffic areas where everyone else is offlead. When i had a post op dog that needed to be kept on lead and away from other dogs I would only walk him places where it was unlikely to meet other dogs- i.e. street walking.

GraysAnalogy Fri 20-May-16 14:42:04


My dog is extreemly friendly thankfully. But whilst walking him the other day a family allowed their very small dog to run up to us off lead and walk a good few metres whilst this small dog was running behind sniffing my dogs arse. I stopped after a few metres hoping they would catch up and get their dog, but nope they point and laugh, traipsing slowly ages behind with no recall of their dog or rush to get to him.

Now if my dog hadn't been friendly and had snapped at this little dog there would have been bedlam.

I absolutely hate people walking their dogs offlead in streets too. Just stop. I think they think it looks good and 'look how well trained my dog is he follows me' but it's just irresponsible. I allow my dog offlead only in enclosed spaces, and I put him back on if another dog gets too close because I don't know what the other dog is like. But then there's the dog owners who follow you and get into your space... it's annoying.

Mutual respect is needed. For the dog walkers who don't seem the know the unwritten rules there needs to be some sort of guide book.

GraysAnalogy Fri 20-May-16 14:44:55

If your dog was off lead YABU. For me a dog off the lead means it's OK for other off lead dogs to approach.

Not if the owners are 150m away. I let my dog off, I don't want a strange dog approaching on its own with it's handlers off in the distance. I go to my dog and leash him straight away if this happens. If the owners are there we let them sniff each other, usually results in a play and we (the owners) chat to each other. The owners being far away is a different story though.

Godstopper Fri 20-May-16 14:47:50

Hi Apple,

Sometimes, dogs will sort it out, but if one fails to read the other's body language, then things can escalate very quickly. My Staff, for example, doesn't read other dogs too well, and I don't think she'd heed a 'Go Away' signal, so I'm also cautious with her (we have the opposite problem with Matilda who expects the world to love her and loves everything back!).

By letting loose? Well, sometimes, I feel like letting Scrabble off the lead when a dog is in her face and showing the other person who is saying 'mine's friendly' what is likely to happen. I NEVER would (safety!), but some people just don't seem to get it.

Godstopper Fri 20-May-16 14:51:15

Hi Chronic,

Yes, she is 4 and a half now, and improving all the time (just got back from a walk where two Labs bounded over and she was ace) smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now