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It used to be children who were seen and not heard.... now it seems to be the attitude to dogs

(60 Posts)
jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 16:27:18

We have an 8 month old collie cross puppy. We are taking her to obedience classes and puppy agility, which she loves. She is full of life, but training well; even her dog walker commented how good her recall is.

So far, so normal. The issue is walking her. We live on the south coast, in a populated area but not a city. When we are walking on the greens and parks round here we keep her on a lead. To walk her off lead, we go to the sea, but I don't think we have had a walk by the sea yet where someone hasn't said she should be on a lead.

The issue seems to be that she is a puppy who runs around. She is not barrelling around knocking into people or dogs, she is not barking, she is not biting, she is not aggressive, she is not chasing. Yet we have had comments like "She's a danger to children" (Really? we have 3 dc so she is more than used to children).

Today an older lady told me she should be on a lead because she had run up to say hello to her small dog. Apparently her dog had been frightened by a large dog when it was a puppy, so I understand her concerns (though her dog didn't look remotely upset to me!) and I put our dog back on the lead immediately, but it annoyed me that she was losing off lead time for simply behaving like a puppy. If she were a difficult dog, I could understand it, but this is NORMAL puppy behaviour. It feels to me like puppy behaviour is not allowed, like children were not allowed to be children years ago.

I know our dog will settle as she matures, but meanwhile, walking her is becoming less and less of a pleasure. The nearest contained dog walking area is 20 mins drive away and open countryside further away, so I'm not sure where to take her for off lead. I can't believe that walking her on an extendi lead at all times will give her the exercise she needs!

This is the first puppy we've had; we've had rescue dogs before, so I guess I'm not used to people's reactions to lively dogs. It's the one thing that makes me think I wouldn't get a puppy again sad

TooMuchRain Thu 08-Jan-15 16:39:32

I think that if other people are saying something then your puppy is probably being invasive.
I remember walking my dog after an operation, she was very sore and scared but had to be walked to stop her getting stiff. Other people's puppies/dogs bounding over was a nightmare, I didn't care how old or friendly they were, I was just worried about my dog getting hurt or so scared she started snapping.
Can you walk your dog on lead on the beach until she is easier but let her off for focussed ball games or when playing with other dogs?

SukieTuesday Thu 08-Jan-15 16:43:38

You sounded so reasonable until I got to the bit about saying hello and 'NORMAL puppy behaviour.'

If your dog is running up to on lead dogs to say hello it is a problem. Some dogs are on lead because they have poor recall wink but others are on lead as they're fear aggressive, flat out aggressive, ill or in pain etc If you keep allowing your pup to do this they will eventually get a nasty reaction and it won't be the fault of the owner who has kept their dog under their control.

EasyToEatTiger Thu 08-Jan-15 17:04:13

We have 3 collies of various ages. We are wary if the eldest (16 or 17) bimbles up to a dog on a lead because she's rather blind and deaf, but I don't think anyone really finds that threatening. We keep an eye. The other 2 are not interested in other dogs. We had a dog who raced up to dogs on leads and barked, which was mostly embarrassing for us more than anything. We sorted out the problem through distraction - toys and treats, and then he was fine. Collies need lots of off-lead exercise and they are very good for distance training. Have you started whistle training yet? It's really useful to be able to get the dog to stop/drop at a distance and a whistle makes a more constant sound than yelling!!! People can find off-lead dogs a bit scary and often don't understand that they are under control.

Buttholelane Thu 08-Jan-15 17:06:41

Puppies need to be taught how to behave appropriately around other dogs.

If you just let them barrel up to other dogs, pestering them, trying to play, saying hello etc yes it's 'normal' but they will grow up thinking that is how they are meant to behave.
It isn't and its only a matter of time before adult dogs get irritated and start disciplining your puppy.

One or two overly harsh corrections and your pup could be affected for life.
It might start thinking all other dogs react viciously when it 'says hello' and start becoming dog aggressive, or it might become extremely fearful and reclusive.

At eight months old you can bet she has lost her puppy licence, other dogs just won't put up in your face behaviour and why should they?

She needs to learn to run straight past people and ignore other dogs on lead unless invited by you to interact with them.
Until she does that, she should not be off lead.
It's disrespectful and rude, some people have dogs who are blind, deaf, elderly, recovering from surgery or fear aggressive and it is not fair on those dogs to have her come bounding up to 'say hello'.

ender Thu 08-Jan-15 17:09:59

It might be normal puppy behaviour, but you shouldn't let your pup run up to a dog on a lead. Very annoying for other owners.
Call her back to you and get her to walk by your side till past the on-lead dog. if your dog won't come when called then she's not under control and should be on a lead when around other dogs.
Lots of info online about training recall. A long line (NOT an extendible lead) is very useful. If you're in an open space you can let it trail then pick up or step on it if dog wont come back.

VeryStressedMum Thu 08-Jan-15 17:36:13

Unfortunately what you see as normal puppy behaviour may be perceived as out of control dog to others, especially as every time someone says he should be on a lead. Others may see a dog running around and running up to other dogs as out of control. Does he come straight away when you call him back?

VeryStressedMum Thu 08-Jan-15 17:37:03

SHE sorry!

jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:41:31

Siki Tuesday - no, these are off lead dogs, including the older lady's little dog. I wouldn't let her go up to an on lead dog.

SurlyCue Thu 08-Jan-15 17:42:02

Your dog shouldnt be running up to say hello to other dogs unless youve asked the owners first! You have no idea what issues those other dogs might have. Its very inconsiderate to allow that really. When you see other dogs, recall her, leash her and then ask if its ok to say hello. Good manners could save you a fortune in vet bills!

AcrossthePond55 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:44:23

Any off lead dog should be called back if it approaches another dog, especially a dog on a lead. Are you calling your pup back when she heads for other dogs? You should be. I know I don't like it if an off lead dog approaches mine when he's on lead. Many dogs (my Dachsie included) can feel threatened or intimidated by other dogs when they're on a lead. Off lead, he's fine with other dogs, but on lead he feels vulnerable and will growl or snap. And yes, we're working with him on it, but it's still not OK not to control your off lead dog.

SukieTuesday Thu 08-Jan-15 17:50:29

Then you can probably rule out the risk of a very aggressive dog that's hard to control. You could still meet plenty of dogs that won't respond well to her that are off lead. Will she come back if you call her?

jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:51:36

TooMuchRain - I do understand about not wanting your dog hurt when they are ill etc, we had that issue when she was spayed recently and I felt wary about other dogs.

However, she is not barrelling around, barrelling into other dogs, pestering them or trying to play. She is simply running and runs over to say hello. She is aware others dogs don't always want her around - my mum's 10yr old dog makes that clear when we go to her house.

As I say, she has very good recall.

I agree with EasyToEatTiger's comments that people can find off lead dogs scary and don't understand that they are under control. I like the suggestion about whistletraining - can you tell me more about that?

Buttholelane Thu 08-Jan-15 17:55:11

I see that these are off lead dogs.

In that case, I wonder if your dog is being 'too full on'

I allow my dog to approach off lead dogs, I assume if they are off lead, then like her they are probably okay with other dogs.

Occasionally she can get a bit overexcited but the second I see her behaving rudely she is immediately called off.

What does your dog do?

Does she run towards them then relatively calmly sniff, maybe play bow?
Or does she run towards them, bash into them with her nose, jump on them, persistently try and push them into playing?
She must be doing something to worry or irritate people?

You say she is a collie cross, is she stalking? Or staring people and dogs down?

jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:55:46

So I should recall her every time I see another off lead dog?

She would never be off lead. There are always off lead dogs around.

SukieTuesday Thu 08-Jan-15 17:58:44

If her recall is good then call her to you until you get close enough to ask the other owner if it's ok for then to have a quick sniff. It's amazing how many smaller dogs seem to have a problem with bigger dogs. Also, be prepared for idiots that say yes and then, after their dog has gone from sniff to snarl in two seconds flat, say 'he can be a bit moody.'

SurlyCue Thu 08-Jan-15 17:59:23

She is simply running and runs over to say hello. Well if you value her well being you wont let her because she cant find out that she is unwelcome til she gets close enough, by which time it could be too late. And again, its not fair on other dogs. Leash her and ask if its ok to greet.

She is aware others dogs don't always want her around

again, she isnt aware until she is too close.

hmc Thu 08-Jan-15 18:06:41

No you shouldn't recall her every time you see an off lead dog - if that has been suggested on this thread then it is completely OTT. If a dog is off lead that means it is okay for other dogs to approach...(otherwise other dog shouldn't be off the lead!), however recall yours after brief hellos if the owner or dog looks impatient to move on. We did meet a dog off lead in the woods today and mine made as if to approach. The owner said politely (and half apologetically) that her dog could be grouchy so I called mine back immediately before they got as far as her dog - all was fine and dandy and we nodded and smiled etc....so you did need to have reliable and instant recall

Each and every time you see a dog that is leashed then you should put yours on a lead for the reasons other posters have identified.

jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 18:09:42

I had to smile at the idea of her stalking / herding / staring people down. No, she doesn't show any collie behaviours like that. She just sniffs and play bows.

I know it's hard to believe, but I really think the issue is that she is running around and she can do that for hours. She doesn't trot! I would be skeptical if I were reading a thread like this.

I'm coming to accept that some other people don't like this. Not all; a lot just smile and say "Lovely dog!" or "Lots of energy!" or similar. And that's what makes me link to expectations of behaviour with children - years ago children were not allowed normal childlike behaviour.

Anyway, as some people don't like this, any suggestions about how we do walk her? On lead at all times is really not going to do it.
And do you people keep their puppies on lead all the time until 100% trained to behave perfectly?

hmc Thu 08-Jan-15 18:17:45

I don't know OP - I have a flatcoat retriever with exercise requirements similar to collies (FCRs need 2 hours off lead per day) and he runs everywhere too...but I haven't encountered what you describe. Perhaps it is because I walk in quiet country areas so might only encounter 1 or 2 other dogs per hour of walking....

jenniferjane21 Thu 08-Jan-15 18:39:49

Thanks hmc. Where we lived before we had easy access to the South Downs and I never remember any trouble letting dogs have long walks off lead there. But then of course there was plenty of space and few other dogs.

Not sure how that helps me now. And this dog has never been interested in balls, so she wouldn't focus on that. She likes running!

ender Thu 08-Jan-15 18:43:34

I don't trust one of my dogs to behave perfectly at all times. He gets plenty of off lead time though. I just make sure we go to places I can spot what's ahead and put him on the lead briefly when needed.

EasyToEatTiger Thu 08-Jan-15 18:51:16

We used to live in the city, so there were always other dogs around. Most dogs are just not ferocious teeth on legs. Most dogs don't want a fight. Our oldie was very good at seeing off puppies she didn't want to play with. Far better that she do it in dog language than have us humans interfering. If you see a dog on a lead, you can always go in a different direction (as can they) and you can always distract with a game or a toy. Some dogs are on the lead for a good reason. Others because their owners are too afraid to let them off. Just beware of dogs on leads!! People can be very, very odd.

TooMuchRain Thu 08-Jan-15 19:21:40

It's difficult, with mine i remember used to go stand at the top of a steep hill with a bag of treats and keep lobbing the ball down to tire her out a bit!

If you are in an urban area it could be worth looking for groups on facebook, where we used to live our dog-walker organised weekly meet ups which was a good chance for a run around with friendly dogs (and owners!)

SinclairSpectrum Fri 09-Jan-15 09:22:38

Goodness, sounds like you just need to find somewhere else to walk your pup!
I live on the North East coast, everyone lets their dogs off lead on the beach, all sizes and ages get to have a play, run around and chase each others toys.
The owners seem a sensible lot - if someone's dog gets a bit too excited or there is a clash of personalities the dogs are recalled and walk on.
Think you just need to move somewhere less uptight!

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