It’s really worrying how many owners call me with problems about their own dog that were caused by another owner’s dog.
Even whilst innocently walking their dog in the street or in the woods, an out-of-control dog has mugged their own, sparking a lifelong fear of other dogs that become aggression if left. In my behaviour and training practice these dogs need gradual, careful reintroduction to other dogs. They show extreme fear at first. It is a very long road to recovery.
Dogs and owners get enough bad press these days but we know they don’t need to be a nuisance or danger and it doesn’t mean they are nasty just because we haven’t taught human rules. Effective, kind training is available more readily than ever, so why do any owners let their dogs get out of control? And more importantly, is there anything we can do to protect our own dogs?
Here’s a rule of thumb (or paw) to help everyone in our community. If your dog is off lead, and you see an owner put their own dog back on lead (or if he is already on his lead), call your dog back to you and place him on his lead, too. It’s easy enough to then ask them if the dogs can say hello.
If your dog does not come back when you call, train him to do just that. It is not as difficult as it sounds (keep visiting this column for tips)! Let’s show everyone that all our dogs are the gentle, loveable community members we know them to be.
Karen Wild is an APBC registered behaviourist and qualified dog trainer with 20 years’ experience. Her practice Pawprint offers behaviour referrals for vet practices and puppy classes in the local area. Karen is a training and behaviour contributor for Dogs Today magazine and author of What your Dog Wants. To find out more visit www.karenwild.co.uk or call 01778 560465.