Be it strangers, other dogs or loud noises, sensitive and anxious dogs can react to anything. Knowing your dog and ensuring you have control over them around these obstacles is important. Don’t forget to bear in mind that your dog may be a trigger for someone else’s – so only let them off the lead if you’re confident in their recall and stay within sight!
Having control of your dog in public is easier said than done, whilst many of us are delighted at the prospect of longer days and sunny walks in the park, the bustling green spaces around town can become a challenging place to walk your dog. Having a dog with boundary issues can feel isolating and frustrating – but do not despair! It has recently been shown that more than 70% of all dog’s exhibit anxiety, and so it naturally follows that we have an incredible community of like-minded ‘dog people’ to offer that ear of reassurance. Unfortunately, if your off-lead dog is injured as a result of approaching a dog on-lead, legally, you are responsible for any altercation that may take place – just something to bear in mind when thinking of your recall level.
Just like us humans, all dogs have boundaries, and establishing these first is huge step to your dog’s confident strut. Whilst walking your dog on a lead may feel restrictive, be assured that dogs can often feel comforted knowing they are ‘attached’ to you too. Plus using this as an opportunity to teach them loose lead walking, or scenting is great fun – it can be just as exhausting as running; great preparation for that afternoon snooze!
THE LAW: Some areas have ‘dogs on lead’ rules, especially at certain times of year for conservation or farmland. However, there are plenty of spaces that allow your pups to have free roam and explore to their hearts content with their canine pals. Unfortunately, not all dogs are confident enough to do this and their boundaries must be respected. If in doubt, play it safe.
Think about your dog in the following scenarios.
If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no’ then your dog should not be let off a lead in a public space. Don’t forget that with many nervous dogs out there, roads and dog theft, keeping them on a lead is the safest and most secure option.
Don’t forget to reward. Working through anxious situations with your pup can be quite time consuming for both of you, but don’t give up! The best advice we can give is to reward each little choice or great reaction with a high value treat.