What’s the etiquette!?

(59 Posts)
CountessFrog Sat 29-Aug-20 00:47:52

I have a friendly year old cockapoo. He’s good on and off lead. We live quite rurally.

When I walk him with DH, he goes off lead on country paths. If we see other dogs approaching on leads, we call him back. Otherwise we let them check each other out.

Today we were out walking and we turned a corner to find a man walking two small dogs on leads. Our dog ran up to say hello, we called him back and put him on the lead.

One of these dogs was going a bit crazy. The man told us our dog should be on a lead at all times, like his. Apparently the dog that was going crazy had been attacked in the past by a dog, so it was scared of other dogs.

I disagreed and said we had done our best and put our dog on a lead, but he’s friendly, and I don’t believe he should be on a lead all the time. He was zipping in and out of the hedgerows.

The man said that, in order to protect his scared dog, all dogs should be on leads. He got quite irate and shouted ‘why should my dog suffer because yours is off lead?’

It’s our first dog. I think we are considerate and responsible, but honestly should our dog have been on a lead on a country path?

OP’s posts: |
DramaAlpaca Sat 29-Aug-20 00:50:30

I agree with you and would've done exactly the same.

CountessFrog Sat 29-Aug-20 00:53:57

I thought he was quite unreasonable. I asked why all dogs should suffer never going off lead because his dog was once attacked. He continued to assert that we were out of order.

OP’s posts: |
Savoury Sat 29-Aug-20 00:57:24

Not sure what "saying hello" means exactly.
Did your dog approach the dogs on lead and have a sniff or did you call him back before he even approached them? If the former, then yes I think you should put your dog on lead until his recall improves so he comes immediately and doesn't approach another dog without permission.
If he never went near them, then the owner was being unreasonable.
Many dogs are petrified of other dogs exactly because they've had an off lead dog attack them while they're at their most vulnerable, i.e. on leads themselves.

BadDucks Sat 29-Aug-20 00:59:10

It’s poor form to let your dog go up to a dog on lead so you were wrong to allow it even if you did call your dog back. My dog is reactive on lead and it’s stressful if others just let their dogs come up to him regardless of how friendly they are. He was unreasonable to say your dog should be on lead all the time but I imagine he was stressed. Off lead is fine but the onus is on you to keep your dog away.

Bergerdog Sat 29-Aug-20 07:30:19

I think you were wrong to allow your dog to approach an on lead dog without asking. That’s generally a no no. There’s so many reasons dogs are on lead and it can be really upsetting for fearful dogs to be approached even by a friendly dog. Lots of the training for reactive dogs involves distance and teaching the dog that it has a safe space and if your dog runs up to it you can undo weeks or even months of training in a second. Plus you run the risk of your dog being injured. On lead greetings are confrontational for dogs anyway and are best avoided but even more so if one is off lead and the on lead can’t get away if it wants.

Recall your dog well in advance, walk past and then release your dog again once your far enough past that you know your dog won’t be tempted to approach the other dog again.

It’s nice to have a friendly dog but unfortunately not everyone does. However, As a side note a friendly well socialised dog should be able to judge that the other dog wants to be avoided and would be able to read the signals to stay away, so it would suggest maybe yours is a bit over friendly verging on rude in the dog etiquette department if it’s approached a dog that’s reactive grin Ive got one of those too but it can land them in trouble if they can’t read the situation correctly.

JaJaDingDong Sat 29-Aug-20 07:59:20

Dogs should be on leads.
One day your dog won't come back when you call him.
One day your dog will be frightened and bite another dog, or a person.
One day your dog will share a pregnant farm animal.
Dogs should be on leads.


Gizlotsmum Sat 29-Aug-20 08:03:13

If you saw the dogs on the lead and still let your dog go over then that was unreasonable, if he was recalled and came as soon as you saw the dogs I am not sure what else you could do.

FippertyGibbett Sat 29-Aug-20 08:09:12

I only let mine off lead on the park.
I would personally expect a dog to be on lead on a path, but I know others feel differently.

Dontfuckingsaycheese Sat 29-Aug-20 08:09:22

I always pop ddog on his lead if I see another wearing one. But you didn't see these as they were round the corner. Maybe consider popping yours back on when you can't see what's ahead.

icedaisy Sat 29-Aug-20 08:12:28

Your etiquette issue was when your dog approached the one on the lead.

Unless you can stop yours doing that or see who is coming and call yours back you should be on lead.

Patbutcherismyhero Sat 29-Aug-20 08:13:38

Your dog should be on a lead. It doesn't matter if he's 'friendly'. Other people and dogs don't know this. If the other dog had snapped at yours and a fight had ensued then you would be the one at fault for failing to have your dog on a lead. Sorry but it's quite entitled to expect other people to tolerate your dog running up to them and frightening their dogs.

Ours only ever go off the lead in areas where we're certain there's nobody else around.

Welshgirl10 Sat 29-Aug-20 08:20:56

My dog can be quite nervous so I always keep her on lead when walking. My assumption was that if a dog is on a lead in a area where they could be off there is a reason for that, so you shouldn’t just let your dog run right up to them.

RiaRoth Sat 29-Aug-20 08:33:04

Your dog needs to be controlled. Yours was not if it had the opportunity to run up to an onlead dog. If you are walking on a narrow path and cannot see around a corner get your dog to walk behind you so you can see what is approaching. If the area is clear your dog can run ahead.

pilates Sat 29-Aug-20 08:33:21

I think if you see a dog on a lead automatically recall or put on a lead immediately. You know your dog is friendly but they don’t. My dog can be nervous if an off lead dog approaches him when on a lead. He was attacked as a puppy when on a lead.

ThaGugaBlasta Sat 29-Aug-20 08:38:24

I have one dog who is reactive on-lead and one who isn't. If a 'friendly' off-lead dog comes bouncing round the corner unannounced, the reactive one freaks out then they both go nuts and all hell breaks loose. We have tried everything over the last 6 years to help him stop doing this, without success, and have now more or less resigned ourselves to walking him carefully under very specific conditions. It's a pain but it is what it is.

Dogs are fine off lead in the countryside IF you can see everything around you and they have bulletproof recall. I would assume, on a country footpath/bridlepath that there could be other dog walkers, people with kids, horses, etc, round a blind corner and would put the dog on the lead until I could see what was approaching.

YgritteSnow Sat 29-Aug-20 08:44:11


Dogs should be on leads.
One day your dog won't come back when you call him.
One day your dog will be frightened and bite another dog, or a person.
One day your dog will share a pregnant farm animal.
Dogs should be on leads.

No. They shouldn't 🙄

I do agree that it's bad form to allow your dog to approach dogs on leads though. I think it's understood that if a dog is being kept on a lead and not socialising at will there's a reason for that and you should immediately get your dog under control to protect all concerned.

Tomatoesneedtoripen Sat 29-Aug-20 08:46:32

what you did sounds fine to me

i judge on each occasion,
most confusing is on encountering someone with two dogs, one on a lead and one off
dogs can sort themselves out.

Tomatoesneedtoripen Sat 29-Aug-20 08:48:09

country paths are a bit of a minefield op, there is nowhere to run, they can be too narrow

Tomatoesneedtoripen Sat 29-Aug-20 08:49:09

sounds like there was no harm done

Branleuse Sat 29-Aug-20 08:52:34

i think it was clearly an accident. If youd seen them approach you would have leashed your dog.
I avoid this by calling my dog back and I go first round corners or into new fields and she walks behind. Shes allowed off lead but only where I can assure that she doesnt come face to face with dogs she doesnt know and can scout the surroundings.

CountessFrog Sat 29-Aug-20 09:16:25

Thanks for your replies. I think I’ll keep him on the lead more, but I’m still confused what I should do out in the countryside though. We can go for miles without seeing anyone else.

We have a dog walker a couple of times a week and she’s a trained behaviourist. I know she has him off lead most of the time on walks because she tells me (and sends videos!). Should she have him on a lead? I’d feel a bit patronising telling her that given her qualifications.

OP’s posts: |
Kaiserin Sat 29-Aug-20 09:18:04

I think paths are not a very good place to let a dog off their lead. There's often not much visibility, and not enough space to move around.

If your dog startles anything or anyone (another dog, a wild animal, a person), there's no way to run, so any "fight or flight" response is likely to lead to a fight.

Better pick a wide, public, open green space (away from grazing animals, obviously, and ideally young children too)

Tomatoesneedtoripen Sat 29-Aug-20 09:19:03

i think judging each situation as it happens, be aware of what is potentially around the corner, it could have been a cyclist?
teach to heel

Tomatoesneedtoripen Sat 29-Aug-20 09:21:10

i wouldnt tell the dog walker to put on a lead, if she is a behaviourist, she will be experienced

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in