Dog walking etiquette question

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  1. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    OK, I just want some quick votes here to see if I'm totally off  base or what. Because, you know, maybe I am. It has happened on occasion!

    Anyhoo, I walk my dog every morning, on leash, at a big nature preserve. Now that the weather is nice, more and more people are doing the same, except they walk their dogs off leash. I never see a dog on a leash there. Which is fine.

    My dog is a Malamute, and he's very well behaved on a leash. I keep him on one because I don't know OTHER dogs, and I do know that if he is attacked he will win. Except for possible a pit bull, no other dog will win a fight with him.

    So I keep him on leash for my peace of mind more than anything. And guess what now happens regularly? Off leash dogs come at him aggressively almost on a daily basis. If a dog approaches him nonaggressively, he's fine, and even with the aggressive dogs I am able to make him sit and not fight, but their idiot owners half the time look at me like I did something to THEM. I'd say like, maybe one time out of three I get an apology.

    Who is in the wrong, me or them?

    I feel like since their dogs are off leash it's up to them to control them, not vice versa.

    What say you?

    1. Pearldiver profile image70
      Pearldiverposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      In the town I live in we have a similar problem with dogs, people and leashes.  However, because we are so far away from the rest of the world, we tend to have a different set of rules.  Most of the dogs behave themselves perfectly.  The problems that we seem to have to contend with come from the owners; who always seem to disagree with having to go without a leash.  I guess we all have different ways.

      1. profile image0
        pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Interesting. I guess we do have different ways. We're not far away from the world at all--the world is in our faces everywhere, which I guess is why I like the nature preserve.

        I guess really the problem is me. I don't want to risk letting my dog off leash. I don't mind admitting that.

        Don't know what else to say, except dogs here are awful frequently both on leash and off, so I don't know--maybe American dogs are just buttheads. :0

    2. kblover profile image88
      kbloverposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      If a handler/owner can't keep his/her dog under his/her control, then I feel they are wrong already.

      You are doing the right thing by taking care of your dog and stepping in where needed to keep a fight from happening. Those other handlers/owners should be thanking you instead of acting like you gave them an insult or hurt their dog.

      As a handler that often walks off leash his dog (well, he's not mine, but it's easier to say that he is when in my care smile ) I totally agree with you and I always try my best to keep total control of Wally while still letting him enjoy the scents.

    3. grambeth profile image60
      grambethposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      This whole article is a foreign idea in my area we simply cannot walk dogs OFF leash. I  live in a quiet, very quaint  " picture perfect" new england community. It is only quiet, however, when everyone is following the law, lol.

      If you walking a dog off leash here, you are technically breaking the law, or you are in a park designated for that type of leisure.

      Dogs need to be leashed for many reasons. Mainly for their own sake ( when walking anyway ) . I have been breeding Golden Retrievers for years. They would not dream of hurting a person or another dog..but I wouldn't think of walking them off leash unless I was in the woods, alone, or they were going for a swim.

      I think you are right on the money on this one..

  2. bgamall profile image70
    bgamallposted 14 years ago

    I would find another place to walk them. However, if you insist on walking them there you could always take a treat for the other dogs.

  3. RooBee profile image82
    RooBeeposted 14 years ago

    Let your dog eat them. Good Riddance. lol

    Seriously though, I have observed similar behavior and in my humble opinion, THEY are the jacka##es. smile It is not dissimilar to drivers who are cluelessly screwing the whole traffic flow up and then look at you as if you are a major jerk for finally passing them.

    Ah, what can we do but laugh.

    Love malamutes, btw, so pretty.

  4. LennyP profile image74
    LennyPposted 14 years ago

    It is simply bad etiquette, and usually illegal, to take a dog in public without a leash.

    1. LondonGirl profile image82
      LondonGirlposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Are you American? Land of the free....

      1. Everyday Miracles profile image85
        Everyday Miraclesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I think our leash laws are actually tighter than yours in most places, but dog parks allow off-leash walking.

        I would probably find another place to walk your dog, Pam. You're in the right, but I wouldn't take that risk.

      2. LennyP profile image74
        LennyPposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Yes I live in America. For the most part, you are free to do whatever you want as long as it does not impose on the rights of others. An unleashed dog is a violation of another persons rights as it puts them, their family, and pets in danger along with the unleashed dog.

  5. shibashake profile image84
    shibashakeposted 14 years ago

    I get that sometimes in the park that I go to. I also walk both my dogs on leash (Siberian and Shiba Inu).

    Even off-leash parks have clear rules that state that off-leash dogs have to be under the control of their owners at ALL TIMES. It is the responsibility of the off-leash dog owners to keep their dogs under control. If they cannot, then the dogs should not be off-leash.

    The responsible owners will usually put their dogs back on leash when they see me coming, even though often times it seems that their dogs do not need it.

    When I spot one of those irresponsible types, I walk far away to avoid them. Sometimes I will tell them to please keep their dogs away because my dog is aggressive. That usually gets them going.

    I agree though that if there are too many of the irresponsible types, it is best to find a different park.

  6. Mrvoodoo profile image57
    Mrvoodooposted 14 years ago

    Couldn't agree more that they're in the wrong, I used to work with an autistic guy who loved to go for walks on the local beach but was terrified of dogs.  Of course all the dogs were off leash and would come running over and the poor guy would go into a panic, meanwhile the owners would be stood 10-20 meters away smiling and lamely calling their dogs which would never listen to them.

    I love dogs, but there are lots of people and small children that do not like dogs, and far more dog owners that have no control what-so-ever over their dogs.  Even I'm wary when a Pitball or a Doberman I've never seen before comes charging over towards me with no owner in sight.

  7. tksensei profile image60
    tksenseiposted 14 years ago

    The thing is that many dogs will become aggressive with on-leash dogs when they are off leash themselves or (even more often) vice versa, so if you go to a place with many off leash dogs you will have to expect that to happen. I'd stick to places where all the dogs are on-leash or just let yours off leash at this nature preserve, unless he's a runner you're afraid he'll take off on you. Of course no matter where you go you are gonna run into irresponsible owners, jerks, and adults acting like 5 year olds, unfortunately.

  8. curiozities profile image60
    curiozitiesposted 14 years ago

    Some of those owners should be put on a leash, never mind the dog.

  9. Profmaggy profile image60
    Profmaggyposted 14 years ago

    Laws ARE becoming tougher, often initiated by people who are not too fond of any hound.
    You are being responsible by keeping your dog on a leash.
    You can try warning the other owners as to why you keep your dog on a leash but you don't want to get a reputation for having a wild dog, even if it is the other people's dogs that are the bullies.
    We have a setter and a spaniel and have found that when there is a dog or owner we would rather avoid, the best option is to either give the other dogs a wide berth or shift the walking schedule by 15 minutes either side to limit the chance of meeting up.

  10. LondonGirl profile image82
    LondonGirlposted 14 years ago

    I've always thought it most bizarre that crossing the road in not a particular place is illegal in American, too.

    1. LennyP profile image74
      LennyPposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yet again it is a violation of a persons rights to smash your head through their windshield, causing property damage, and make them mourn your failed life. What I fail to understand is why it is a crime to hit a pedestrian if they were in the road and not on a crosswalk.

  11. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    Thank you for all your thoughts and reactions.

    I've been doing a combination of many of these things--avoid off leash dogs, informing other dog owners of why my dog is on a leash, and using other parks. I really love the nature preserve best though and so does my dog. You can imagine why.

    I got some good ideas and info here--the biscuit idea seems like a good one, or just carry some liver snaps or whatever. Also, it's  good to know that off leash dogs will become aggressive with dogs on leash. Can't do anything about it but it's good to know.

    Today I went very early, before anyone else got there--that's another solution.

    Walking him there off leash just isn't an option. Malamutes wouldn't hurt a fly or a person, not even an intruder, but they fight each other and they'll fight other dogs--even 'friends' who live together will fight if conditions are right, so I'm never going to take him off leash anywhere. They will even chase off polar bears. (Not that those are a problem.)

    But I got some great feedback and ideas. Thanks!

  12. tksensei profile image60
    tksenseiposted 14 years ago

    When will people learn to keep their polar bears on-leash? I usually do.

  13. brad4l profile image73
    brad4lposted 14 years ago

    Personally, I walk my dog off leash, but only because I have trained her to walk beside me and she is very well behaved.

    When another dog comes by, I stand to the side of the trail and tell her to sit until they pass. This helps avoid most confrontations, although all my dog would do is want to play.

    I think if people are walking dogs off leash and they are coming up to your dog aggressively, then they should have their dog on a leash. Really, I think if you are on a walking trail, you should try to ensure your dog doesn't come up to other dogs whenever possible.

  14. Eternal Evolution profile image71
    Eternal Evolutionposted 13 years ago

    It is the responsibility of the off leash dog owner to keep control over their dogs.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image79
      manlypoetrymanposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      It is simple...even though the temptation is there to let your dog off a leash. The laws in every public place...that I have seen...state that your dog must be on a leash. That's period. is easy to want to see your dog walking around on its' own without one...but the owner doesn't have that right to do that in a public place. 

      Then, you got some "macho" (weak term-but I lack the ability to  use anything P.C. or non-cuss word in its' place) idiots that have there dog come up to yours...while yours is on leash...and want to see them fight. This use to happen to me at an apartment complex I lived at that allowed large dogs to live there. It was like the "Call of the Wild"...Nothing like going to the mailbox...and getting into a dogfight.

  15. Eternal Evolution profile image71
    Eternal Evolutionposted 13 years ago

    It is the responsibility of the off leash dog owner to keep control over their dogs.

  16. Whitney05 profile image84
    Whitney05posted 13 years ago

    The dogs off leash are wrong. Check your dog leash laws and potentially inform those owners they're breaking the law and could easily get cited. Even if perfectly trained, mistakes happen and dogs off leash are harder to control.

    By the way slightly affended about how only a Pit Bull would try to fight with your dog. Dogs don't know breed.

  17. Rochelle Frank profile image91
    Rochelle Frankposted 13 years ago

    I walk my dog on a leash and also carry a walking stick, which often seems to make other dogs less likely to approach.

    Just this weekend we had another dog try to attack ours while ours was on a leash. My husband stepped between them and the other owner was mad, saying he kicked his dog. He didn't-- he was just trying to keep them apart.

  18. HealthCare Basics profile image61
    HealthCare Basicsposted 13 years ago

    In California, the laws are pretty clear on walking dogs in public places with leases on except for specific enclosed "dog parks". At all times, the owner of an unleashed dog is responsible to uphold those laws. PG, are there signs posted in this area where you walk, or is it municipal land or open land?
    Reason being, city and county land most likely have ordinances and you can make a call to have the area routinely checked by officials regarding offenders who opt to not use the leash or ask for posting of signs. In my area, if unleashed and run into a "nice" officer, you get a warning, otherwise it is a $50.00 warrant. Private open land is another story though where enforcement of the mandatory leash is not an issue.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image79
      manlypoetrymanposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Still...HCB...If it is not your land (let's say open land)...or your property. I would think that ultimately you are liable for anything that your dog does...on another's property.(For Instance: the dog w/o leash comes up and rips a hole in your dog's back in a dog fight. Your dog belongs on that property) And...if it is the government's a reserve or national forest...I would think that you would still be held responsible for your dog or anything that it does. Bottom line...I would think...that unless you own the property...your dog better be on a leash!

      My experience with my apartment complex that I mentioned exactly why I don't go to dog parks. I know there has got to be some "egghead" walking around thinking his dog can beat up every other dog.

      1. shibashake profile image84
        shibashakeposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I think problems can still arise when an off-leash dog comes over, harasses a large on-leash dog, and is the loser of the fight. In this case, the on-leash dog may only be protecting himself but he will still get penalized for aggression simply because he did more damage.

        The sad part to all this is that it really underscores how the irresponsibility of other dog owners can cause your dogs harm even if you carefully manage your own dogs.

        I agree with Rochelle - walk softly and carry a big stick.

  19. HealthCare Basics profile image61
    HealthCare Basicsposted 13 years ago

    I agree poetryman. All owners are responsible for the behavior of their animal in the court of law. I was hoping to offer PG advise as to how she might go about getting others to observe leash ordinances for her walking area other than just moving to another park......

    1. manlypoetryman profile image79
      manlypoetrymanposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Got it...HCB!hmm And it was good the way. This can be a hot topic, for me. I had to rescue my Ol' Yellow Lab from many a dog fight...where he was innocent...and we were just out for a stroll. Sort of like PG's probable future scenario's...only these were real and involved a lot of fur flyin'!

  20. profile image52
    Lottie Macposted 13 years ago

    Owners should have the courtesy to recall their off leash dogs around other dogs, especially those on leash(in my opinion). I don't understand how some dog owners can be so ignorant of the needs of other dogs who may need to be given space for whatever reason (training, agression, fear, etc). In addition, it's often larger breeds or those with bad reputations like Akitas, Staffies, Mastiffs, Pitbulls etc that get the blame for incidents that occur, regardless of the other dog's behaviour. Deeply frustrating!


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