To panic over dogs off the lead?
IDontWearMakeUpOnThursdays · 26/10/2018 01:49
I took my cocker spaniel for a long walk along the canal this afternoon. We'd got about half way along my planned route when I noticed a yellow Labrador up ahead on the tow path, so I put my dog on the lead. He is friendly and recall trained well, but I always put him on a lead to pass other dogs because I think it's polite, and he is young and still very playful, and I don't know how the other dog will react.
I couldn't see any sign of the yellow Labrador's owner, and started to get a little bit nervous. A second dog then walked into view from a bridge over the canal, looked like a black Labrador from a distance. Both dogs started walking towards us slowly, and I started panicking a bit because I still couldn't see their owner anywhere, and the tow path was really narrow so it would have been impossible to pass them without getting close. Finally I saw a man in his seventies walk across the bridge ahead, by which time they had come right up to me and my dog. He called them but they took no notice. They didn't look friendly, as in were all stiff and not wagging their tails if that makes sense. The dog I thought was a black Lab in the distance was actually a Rottweiler, and he started growling at my dog.
At that point I turned around and started walking briskly away in the opposite direction, they followed us for a little bit and then stopped - the man was half heartedly shouting them but they still weren't paying him any attention.
I then heard him shout after me "don't be so dramatic, they're only being friendly". I didn't shout anything back because I just wanted to get away from those dogs as quick as possible tbh, but they didn't seem friendly to me, and he seemed to have zero control over them.
So, in that situation, AIBU to ask if you would have also been freaked out?
ferrier · 26/10/2018 02:17
YABU to panic about dogs off the lead in general and also in that specific situation. Though I can understand that with a young puppy you are naturally in anxious mum stage.
Also, turning round and walking away briskly wasn't the best move. If the dogs had been aggressive (highly unlikely) you are 'inviting' them to chase you and taking them further away from their owner. Far better just to continue strolling along the path in the usual way.
However, the other man, no matter how confident he was about the behaviour of his dogs, was very rude. That would have annoyed me.
AimlesslyPurposeful · 26/10/2018 03:38
It’s general dog walking etiquette to put your dog on a lead if you’re approaching someone with their dog on a lead. The dog is often on a lead for a reason. It could be unwell or fearful or just plain aggressive with people or other dogs.
The man was not supervising his dogs properly by being so far behind them when they have such poor recall.
Your dog being on a lead with no escape from the two dogs probably made him seem either nervous or defensive and you being anxious probably contributed to their heightened state. In no way am I suggesting it’s your own fault though - Just explaining why the Rottie May have growled. They’re generally confident friendly dogs with nothing to prove. It’s usually the smaller breeds that behave aggressively- I say that as an owner of a friendly 10st Mastiff and a 3lb Chihuahua that would take on Godzilla given the chance.
I find a stern “No” with my hand up sees off most dogs that approach and I politely call to the owner to call their dog back please.
These situations do occasionally arise so asking your vet/trainer/behaviourist for advice in case this happens again might be a good idea so you feel more confident next time.
MissionItsPossible · 26/10/2018 06:03
As a non dog owner and having my leg bitten by a dog off its leash, YANBU.
BocolateChiscuits · 26/10/2018 06:18
I'm not a dog owner but find it hard to navigate some situations with dogs off lead too.
I go running in the woods quite early in the morning, when there seems to be a fair few dog owners with dogs off lead who like chasing runners. The owners often aren't in any hurry to restrain their dogs and any half-heated calls are ignored. They come out with daft things like "oh, she's just excited she's in the woods", or "don't worry, he won't chase you far". (Oddly I don't get the same problem later in the day.)
You have my sympathies. Irresponsible dog owners are really annoying. I guess it's inevitable though - there's no training or years you need to take before getting a dog, so people are bound to do all sorts.
I've found the best thing to do is to claim a dog phobia, even though I'm actually fine with dogs. I say things like "I'm really not good with dogs, I'm really sorry" and act scared, holding my hands up and protecting myself. This seems to motivate the owners enough to actually get them shifting!
Maybe there's something you could claim to motivate them, like "sorry, she's been rescued from a bad place and has anxieties around other dogs", or "keep away she's been recently rescued and has a very infectious skin condition that's still under treatment". I don't know, just trying to be imaginative
OneStepSideways · 26/10/2018 06:24
I'm wary of dogs I don't know, I've been trying to overcome this by walking a relatives big dog. When we see other dogs off lead I let him off too, as he's vulnerable on a lead. He won't approach them but can hold his own (and chases them away if they get too close to me!) A dog tried to attack him once and he pinned it down growling, then it ran off. I don't walk in the countryside without him now!
sonandhelpneeded · 26/10/2018 06:25
Oh dear, you're not often going to enjoy a dog walk! So every time you see a ig off the lead you're going to walk away? Because they don't "look" friendly?
I also presume that you've put "a man in his 70s" and it was actually a "Rottweiler" to get a reaction? You know "what does age matter" and "Rottweilers are lovely which they are)
4 out of 10 for effort!
sonandhelpneeded · 26/10/2018 06:28
@IDontWearMakeUpOnThursdays did you join just to post this?
WhoWants2Know · 26/10/2018 06:43
I can understand being nervous about off lead dogs if their body language isn't happy. But it's very important to keep calm and not panic because you are communicating that anxiety to all the dogs in the situation and making an attack much more likely.
Approaching other dogs head-on isn't usually ideal if you're unsure about the other dogs, but retreating isn't ideal either. It's often useful to find somewhere off to the side (like a drive or a field) to give all the dogs space and allow the others to pass.
Brigante9 · 26/10/2018 06:54
I would be very unhappy about this. One of mine is very reactive and that would have ended up a right mess, particularly as his brother will back him up. Some owners are inconsiderate twats and need massive fines for the times when their dogs cause hassle. As said on the other thread, if you can’t recall your dog reliably, keep it on the bloody lead.
redandbluehedgehogs · 26/10/2018 07:00
I have dogs and often walk them off the lead but would have also felt uncomfortable in that situation.
AnotherDayAnotherDollarRight · 26/10/2018 07:14
I have a dog aggressive dog, who would have completey lost it in this situation. One of the reasons he is so frightened of and reactive to other dogs is he was regularly attacked as a puppy by two off lead labradors. The owner worked localy as a gardener and used to let his dogs roam unsupervised. It was hard to avoid them.
adreamofspring · 26/10/2018 07:34
This often happens when I walk along regents canal in London. I’m generally ok with dogs but this situation always makes me nervous. Sometimes the spaces are so narrow and when there’s no owner in sight and the dog wont leave you alone, it’s stressful. Once, when I couldn’t get past it with my little girl, I turned around slowly, got my head down and walked away too. Owner was too far away to shout anything rude though.
LittleBookofCalm · 26/10/2018 07:35
i dont like walking my dog on narrow paths, but you will learn how to handle the situation. you could have let your dog off the lead, since the others were off the lead, let the dogs guide you.
LittleBookofCalm · 26/10/2018 07:37
you should probably keep your dog off a lead though, otherwise it sends signals and may make your dog fearful
AlphaBravo · 26/10/2018 07:42
Ywbu OP. Why so highly strung? Also the worst thing you can ever do if you don't know another off-lead dogs behaviour, but assume it's agressive, is put your dog on the lead. You are stopping your dog from being able to escape if it needed to.
adaline · 26/10/2018 07:53
I don't understand why you were so nervous - they were walking towards you and hadn't done anything wrong at first?
You're going to encounter thousands of situations like this on walks - loads of people don't even carry leads and just let their dogs walk to heel next to them - I think walking quickly in the other direction was just going to wind the owner up, and encourage his dogs to follow you, giving him even less opportunity to get them back!
cropcirclesinthefields · 26/10/2018 08:05
As an owner of a dog with selective dog aggression YANBU. My boy has been attacked by off lead dogs and all the owners have said it's 'oh they're friendly' to 'they've never done that before'. I would be exactly the same in your position.
anniehm · 26/10/2018 08:09
Very unreasonable, in areas where dogs are offlead assume they are fine, most people are responsible. My dog ignores other dogs so I never call him back to me when we pass people, and being nervous will cause your dog to be nervous. These dogs are probably regulars, yes they should have better recall but if they had found something interesting I suspect they were just investigating. I've got my dog really well trained but I've given up being outraged at the lack of recall as it was getting me more worked up!
Spudlet · 26/10/2018 08:14
The worst are when people have one dog off lead and one dog on, so you put your dog on the lead to be responsible and then they allow their off lead dog to run up and jump all over yours.
There's a couple near us who do that - they've even let their (big!) dog run up flat out at me when I've been struggling with ddog and the pram. I nearly knocked me over when I was carrying ds in a sling, too! I just let ddog get on with it now - if they end up being yanked about by their excited on-lead dog, tough shit. Rather that than my older, much smaller dog being flattened by their great galumphing hooligan, and it means I have all my hands free to pick ds up before he gets flattened too.
Generally I prefer to let off-lead dogs sort themselves out though - they're much better at body language and are generally more rleaxed off lead anyway as they know they can run away.
Nosublettingmyspace · 26/10/2018 08:18
YANBU. My dog was attacked be a supposedly 'friendly' off lead dog. She used to be great with other dogs but after this she became reactive. I have spent lots of time and money with behaviourists to help her.
If the owner has not got a sufficient recall then he shouldn't have had them off the lead.
sickmumma · 26/10/2018 08:22
I have a husky with selective recall so unless in a enclosed space that's controlled I don't let her off (as she would be the dog that goes to see every other dog - she's not bothered by humans and I think that's bad manners) and we walk in the woods etc a lot. She is not reactive at all but even I can sense when a dog or even worse a few dogs come charging upto her off lead when she's on she gets very worried and has been known to hide between my legs and get agitated trying to 'get away'. I think being a husky many people are wary anyway of the fact she could be on lead for a reason so most are good at putting their dogs on lead as they see us but probably still about 30% don't and it really annoys me as it's the exact same reason that I don't let her off lead because if she went running upto them they would be worried and not being horrible but it does tend to be those with small dogs that seem to think it's okay because the dog is small. But it's a small dog that's bitten me and I am more wary of and my dog seems to get more worried with smaller dogs too round her feet.
MrsBobDylan · 26/10/2018 10:43
I don't think you should put your dog on a lead if you see other dogs. Learning to socialise off lead is important and if you start to walk briskly the dogs will follow you.
I do get that it can be frightening though.
dadshere · 26/10/2018 10:56
Dogs off of the lead are not a problem per se. Dogs off of the lead who do not obey their master's command to come back are a problem. Our dog doesn't always come back when I call her, therefore when I walk her, she stays on the lead. She does come back for DH so he lets her off. Dog owners who allow their dogs off of the lead when they are not fully trained are irresponsible.
Floralnomad · 26/10/2018 11:01
You should have just carried on walking past them , nothing actually happened and it sounds like you are overly sensitive IMO .
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