Control of Dogs

Last weekend we had a little scare. I’ve been projecting chill out vibes for Jake and Truly on our walks all week, but to be honest what happened unsettled me.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know how I feel about dogs. You will also know I take my dog responsibilities very seriously. I keep Jake and Truly under my control at all times, especially when they interact with other dogs.

Truly doesn’t like dogs who she feels aren’t balanced, or those who get in her personal space… that includes dogs lunging and barking at her from across the road, as well as those sniffing her behind. Because sniffing is a way dogs greet and socially interact with each other, in order to prevent any unwanted contact for Truly I keep her away from other dogs. I also keep her on a lead unless we’re in a safe place such as a secure garden, at home, or the dog field (we pay to have exclusive use of).

At the weekend we were heading out for a walk, with Jake and Truly both on their leads as usual. I noticed as we walked that a known (adversarial) dog was off the lead over the road. In the blink of an eye it charged across the road at Truly and pinned her against a planter on our drive. It all happened so fast. There was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it, and with Truly’s wobbly legs and Jake’s age vulnerability I was screaming inside, but trying to remain calm on the outside.

I think what shocked me the most was the lack of warning, there had been no interaction between the dogs, none of the warning signs such as barking, growling, or bearing of teeth from the other dog. It all happened in seconds, and we hadn’t even left the driveway!

What to do?

I often advise clients to carry spare treats for easy access when walking in open spaces. If an off-lead unaccompanied dog starts to follow you and your dog, by throwing a handful of treats on the ground it can give you a few minutes to calmly collect your dogs and walk away from the area. It’s a tactic I’ve successfully used many times over the years.

It is rare for a dog to charge at yours with intent to bite them, but a dog bite is serious. If your dog is bitten by another dog, you can report it to the police via 101. The call handler will make a record and probably advise you to contact the Dog Warden in your local council.

The PDSA have some helpful guidance if your dog has bitten or been bitten by another dog.

If your dog is bitten you should take them to see your Vet. Not only can puncture wounds be deep, they can become infected. It’s an urban myth dogs have clean mouths!

Legislation

The Dog Warden has a range of powers at their disposal. The first step will be to visit the dog owners concerned. Following this meeting they may issue a Community Protection Warning in the first instance. The warning describes measures the owner must follow, such as seeking behavioural advice or training for the dog, keeping the dog on a lead, and possibly even use of a muzzle.

If a Community Protection Notice is not adhered to, the owner can ultimately find themselves with a criminal record. This is the extreme end of the process obviously, but it reminds us that it is in the interests of everyone to keep dogs under control.

Until next time

Jen

 

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