"Be nice" and other dog walking rules of thumb

(55 Posts)
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 10-Nov-18 12:19:10

Is it just me that recalls my dog the moment I hear an owner telling them to "be nice"? I've had it twice now where the dog has turned out to be distinctly snappy a few seconds later; there's no reason to tell a dog to "be nice" unless it has a history of being not nice.

My other rule of thumb (and my judge pants are firmly on for this one) is that the type of lead used tells you a lot about the owner and dog - extending leads typically for owners who lack knowledge, long lines for more knowledgeable owners of friendly dogs with crap recall, and short leads when used in a park where most dogs would be off lead for more knowledgeable owners of unfriendly dogs. I know I had an extending lead until I became more knowledgeable and realised how dangerous they can be!

Anyone else with judgey pants rules of thumb for dog life?

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 10-Nov-18 12:26:31

I know I am totally judged by other dog owners when they see me walk BiteyDog on a lead. Being a typical spaniel he bloody trips me up zig zagging about and then lunges. I kind of cry inwards when I see a lovely behaved puppy walk nicely by. Fortunately we don't do on lead walks much grin

missbattenburg Sat 10-Nov-18 12:35:47

I know what you mean and can be a judgey as the next person - my own personal bugbear is people walking their dogs whilst on the phone and not paying them any attention. That and walking a dog down the street off lead, even the best behaved ones, because I fear them getting spooked and hurtling into a car.

However, I try to remind myself that most people love their dogs and are trying to do the right thing. Also, there is not one single perfect way to raise and treat a dog - most of us get to a good solution by different routes.

For example, I sometimes walk one of our Jacks on an extendy which you would judge smile. It's attached to well fitted and padded harness and is a thick tape type on (at least as thick as her normal lead). It is rated for a dog five times her weight and I would always feed it through another hand near roads etc. It gives her more range in woodland and undergrowth where a squirrel or similar may still lead her astray - despite her advancing age (she should know better by now!). That said, she's not strictly "my" dog so her training wasn't down to me.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Sat 10-Nov-18 14:01:54

When my dog is going up to new dog (or one is approaching her) , I say "Be nice, be a good girl", using a pleased tone of voice (as if she already is being very nice). It usually has a good effect on her if she was not sure about the strange dog and she will relax and be friendly. (I'm thinking about when they do that OK Corral thing and you don't know whether either of them will decide to be friendly or they'll both hate each other). She is on the whole very good with other dogs but if they are new to each other you never know exactly how they will get on. Like many dogs, she is sometimes suspicious of dark-coloured dogs she doesn't know or much bigger ones, but often will just rush about delightedly with them. I don't adhere to the school of thought that if you are not 100% sure your dog will be friendly, you should never let them meet up with another dog just in case they are not friendly. That way, to my mind, leads to a badly socialised dog. My own dog is always noticeably more laid back and sociable after a stint with the holiday boarder and being obliged to share a house with 5 or so other dogs all the time.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Sat 10-Nov-18 14:03:48

Oh and we use an extending lead for the same reasons as Miss Battenburg - then, she can mosey about in the forest more freely but I can still stop her getting after a deer.

agirlhasnonameX Sat 10-Nov-18 14:11:44

I think I tend to be paying more attention to my own dogs or too busy admiring others to really notice what leads other people have, let alone judge confused

Thedot90 Sat 10-Nov-18 14:23:01

Hi, what is dangerous about an extendable lead? We have a 5 month old puppy and use an extendable lead so he can still sniff about in the park as still don’t feel comfortable having him off lead near the she of the park in case he runs off into the road. When walking on the pavement it is locked on the shortest length so he can’t suddenly pull away. We also have a short leather leash, but use the extendable for the reasons above. He is a small dog so not big enough to pull/break an extendable leash. Is there something I’m missing? Thanks.


fivedogstofeed Sat 10-Nov-18 14:38:44

Used properly extendable leads cam have their uses. In general I think it teaches your dog not to bother walking beside you onlead, but to do their own thing which is not really what I want for my dogs.
I have been close to having my legs sliced off at the ankles by a border collie pup circling me on one.

I nearly had an accident because of a fuckwit walking through town who allowed his tiny dog the full length of extendable lead to run front of my car.

Yesterday I met a massive husky on one, and not even in a harness - just not safe.

And then there was the irish setter who had wrapped flexilead and his owner round a tree.... always meant to go back a see if they are still there

Spudlet Sat 10-Nov-18 14:48:17

Extendable leads are not something I like (though I know some people find them useful), for thr following reasons, Thedot:

* They are often like wire - I had a scar on my leg for years after a dalmation on one of these whipped aroind my leg (I was in shorts) and the lead sliced me open. Ouch.

* It's hard to judge how long they are, so the dog gets to the end unexpectedly and both of you get a shock! With a long line you can see how much you have left and recall before you run out.

* The dog has to put tension on the line to extend it - thus teaching the dog that a tense lead is desirable and encouraging pulling. A long line can be played out under control to keep it loose.

Obviously for some people the advantages to them outweigh these downsides. But I wouldn't use one myself.

Wolfiefan Sat 10-Nov-18 14:50:46

They can also snap or be a trip hazard.
People who don’t even vaguely watch their dogs and so never pick up.
Idiots who feed other people’s dogs without asking.

BiteyShark Sat 10-Nov-18 15:06:09

The thing I do judge is when owners don't apologise. All dogs are a pain at some point but if an owner says sorry I feel solidarity with them and tend to go 'oh god yes they can be a pain doing x', laugh and carry on. But when their dog is a pain and they just walk by then I judge them for not caring.

missbattenburg Sat 10-Nov-18 15:06:10

Thedot90 A lot has to do with how you use the lead, where and how you attach it:

- it can allow the dog to have too much leeway to hit the end of the lead at a full run, if this is attached to the collar then you risk damaging the dog's (fragile) neck

- it does not train loose lead walking and instead sets up a pattern in which the behaviour of pulling is rewarded with more freedom

- they can be very narrow and wire like, which risks getting caught wrapped round human and canine legs and can cause some fairly horrific injuries - especially if attached to a heavy dog because they provide more of an anchor when the wire gets caught

- people rely on the locking mechanisims which can, and do, fail - near a road it could be fatal for the dog

- often people don't check what size dog they are rated for, meaning they attach a 25kg dog to a lead rated for 20kg (for e.g.) - risking the lead failing

- people don't check them often. With a fixed lead it is easy to spot if it is fraying but an extendy is hidden inside the casing so you may not see the fray until it gives way

I use one on the older 6kg jack because her recall has always been unreliable when tested with wildlife and because she doesn't pull, doesn't run up to the end of the lead and doesn't weigh very much.

I would never use it on a 23kg battendog (springer) for all kinds of reasons:

- he's too heavy
- he doesn't like wearing a harness
- he is less distracted by wildlife so goes offlead much of the time, plus recall is important so we are more often practising that
- he is my dog so loose lead training is much more of a focus for us
- he is young so has plenty of energy to pull and 'test' the lead
- he is young so more likely to get spooked by something, thus testing the lead's strength if he tries to get away PLUS I cannot grip an extendy as well as I can grip a fixed lead.

For him I much prefer an inch thick, strong fixed lead that I can get a good, strong grip on while we work on walking nicely.

tabulahrasa Sat 10-Nov-18 15:27:09

Haha you’d all hate me... I use an extendable lead with a rottie on it...

But, he’s not safe to have offlead in public places (I don’t mean busy, just if there’s any possibility of another dog)

I’ve used long lines, he can pull me over when I’m standing on it and I have no way of getting him closer to me other than just using my hands, so I end up with injured knees (once badly enough that I couldn’t walk for a week) from being pulled over and cut hands.

The flexi isn’t long enough to get that sort of traction and I can reel him in even when he’s over threshold.

It’s a tape one, it’s designed for a much heavier dog than him and I only put it on where he’d be offlead if he didn’t have an issue with other dogs. So I walk him to somewhere on a short lead, put the flexi on the back fastening point of his harness and then take off his other lead and I purposely avoid other walkers at all times anyway, so ankles or getting other people in it just isn’t a possibility.

That and hiring a secure field 30 minutes away are the only options I have for walking him where he gets to actually sniff things and mooch about a bit... so...

missbattenburg Sat 10-Nov-18 15:37:22

No hate from me, tab...

However, I try to remind myself that most people love their dogs and are trying to do the right thing. Also, there is not one single perfect way to raise and treat a dog - most of us get to a good solution by different routes.

tabulahrasa Sat 10-Nov-18 16:40:46

It was more after size beng given as a reason a few times not to use one... and my very large dog smile

Before this dog I’d have agreed tbh.

But you end up doing all sorts of things to suit your dog if he’s not mentally equipped to deal with normal things, lol

Unmumsyme Sat 10-Nov-18 18:41:40

I’m fairly certain I get judged lots! We use a brightly coloured long line which I hold the end of if I’m not completely sure we have space around us. The number of people who tell me that my young dog needs go off lead to ‘socialise’ when they have absolutely no knowledge of the areas that we’re working on amazes me!! What she actually needs to do is learn to focus on me around distractions (other dogs mainly) so for now I’m not giving her the chance to practice dashing up to anyone thanks!

My absolute bug bear is the number of people who think it’s fine to tell their off lead dogs to “go and say hi” to mine, when I’m clearly trying to exit the meeting (and she’s on lead & it’s a bright yellow one)...obviously resulting in frustration & over excitement for mine.

Agree totally with fixed lead by road etc, but I do have to admit to using a flexible lead in some environments having carefully considered safest options. Her LLW is great (as we trained this first), & she’ll walk beautifully beside me on fixed lead. I still got a bit of a roasting from a gun dog trainer that we just happened across recently though hmm.

Ooo thanks, I feel much better for getting that off my chest!!

BiteyShark Sat 10-Nov-18 18:45:42

Unmumsyme I am always amazed at how many people try and solicit unasked for 'advice'.

rotavixsucks Sat 10-Nov-18 19:04:24

I'll probably cause a lot of controversy here but my bug bear is owners who NEVER let their dog off lead. They use excuses such as 'oh it's the breed, they can't be trusted not to chase etc.'

Find a suitable, safe enclosed area to let them off and then spend time to actually train your dog using balanced training methods.

I find greyhound owners are often guilty of this and look at me like I'm mad for allowing mine off. I have had sighthounds and high drive working dogs for years. Yes not all I would trust to be let off in a public space 100% but in those circumstances I have used enclosed fields or beaches with high cliffs and where no one else walks.

Personally I believe it is cruel to not allow them off the lead and to run.

FATEdestiny Sat 10-Nov-18 19:12:28

I run with my dog on a lead attached to my waist. Off road country trail with plenty of dog walkers, cyclists and runners.

I look like a runner (lycra, vest even in this weather, headband) there's no doubting I'm being an athlete rather than just out for a stroll. Likewise my dog doesn't give any indication of looking for social interaction. She's on lead and pays zero attention to others. It's this way because she doesn't like other dogs, she is not sociable. But like me, she loves to run.

Of the dog's we come across, about
- 75% are off lead keep their distance from us
- 20% are on lead
- then there's the 5% who are off lead and approach us.

It's highly annoying to have to pull up and stop when you're on a run. Not to mention that my dog doesn't want other dogs near her. But I come across about 3 such dog's a week so I just accept it as par-for-the-course.

What does annoy me though, is when these dog owners are not even apologetic.

I'm clearly not wanting your dog near me because I'm on a run. My dog clearly doesn't want your dog near her because she's cowering away. So frigging well have some manners and apologise.

It's those who think their dog has a God given right to approach me who I judge. I often say something too then run away, fast

Unmumsyme Sat 10-Nov-18 19:28:49

I like that idea FATE!! Rota I don’t think you’re being ever so controversial and I agree that finding ‘safe’ places for an off lead run is ideal. I would dearly love mine to be off lead more, however, I really do believe it’s about safety and respect for others. My dog being on lead/long line or whatever doesn’t affect anyone else’s walk, but an off lead dog with no recall does affect ours. We’re putting 100% training effort in now, so that she can have loads of freedom when she’s older (I hope). Her recall is great, as in I’d 99% trust that she’ll always come back to me BUT she’d happily zoom off to greet others at the moment too. I respect the likes of FATE so carefully manage her behaviour.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Sat 10-Nov-18 19:37:42

Some of you have probably met and judged me blush

I'm always astonished by the number of people who tell their dogs off, or even hit them, for growling. It's just teaching the dog not to give a warning before attacking! Also people who try to stop dogs sniffing bums because it's 'rude'.

AnotherOriginalUsername Sat 10-Nov-18 19:38:45

"be nice" or "nicely" is my first port of call as a friendly warning to other dog owners that my dog is reactive (and will not "be nice" if their dog invades his space). Means bugger all to my dog, he's deaf. Means bugger all to most dog walkers round here too, to be fair confused If "be nice" doesn't work, they get asked politely to recall their dog. That usually doesn't work either so then they get told in no uncertain terms, by which point, my elderly, frail, deaf and almost blind dog is inevitably losing his shit. That doesn't usually do anything either hmm

Is it any wonder we drive 40 minutes each way to the middle of nowhere for a 20 minute walk?!

AnotherOriginalUsername Sat 10-Nov-18 19:42:34

I'm always astonished by the number of people who tell their dogs off, or even hit them, for growling.

I gave it to some guy recently with both barrels, and then some - called his dog back away from mine (for which I politely thanked him), dog went back in his direction then ran back and was generally being a playful nuisance (see post above re: my dog's reactivity!), to which he finally recalled his dog...then proceeded to hit it with its lead! Oh boy did he get my feelings on the matter.....!

rotavixsucks Sat 10-Nov-18 19:47:51

@Unmumsyme that's great and you are putting the work in to try and make it more frequent.

I totally agree about being in control and not ruining other people's experiences. I have a fear aggressive rescue at the moment but I walk her at odd hours and locations so she can have off lead time without meeting other people. (I'm pretty sure my neighbours are convinced I don't walk her confused)

I'm fortunate to have access to and use of a large, safe enclosed field. I have offered this to family members who refuse to let their dogs off in it only to be told they couldn't possibly let their darling dog off in it- 'it's a greyhound you know and it might find something to chase hmm' it's an empty area with high stock proof fencing.

Very unlikely but the worst case scenario would be to find a rabbit to chase-if they're that worried they could muzzle it.

Anyway I need to stop ranting grin

Unmumsyme Sat 10-Nov-18 19:58:33

@rotavixsucks What?!! This sounds like heaven! If only we had access to something similar - I wouldn’t worry about her at all in that environment. My only real concern is potentially causing upset to others!

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