Melissa Kite

How not to walk a dog

I despair of the mutt owners who embrace natural dogmanship

How not to walk a dog
You won’t earn the affection of your animal by not confronting it [Photo: alexei_tm]
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Watching a woman driving a dog past my house like a carthorse is just another ‘new normal’ of lockdown. This moron had two long ropes attached to a harness around the body of her huge dog and was trying to steer it along the village green by long-reining it from behind as though it were a pony.

The poor dog looked utterly fed up. I don’t know, because I couldn’t face asking her, but I got the impression that like the rest of the idiot new dog owners out there, she thought this system was less cruel than putting a conventional collar around its neck attached to a conventional lead.

That, you see, would involve pulling on the dog. And the new owners won’t do that. They’ve watched something weird on YouTube, or gone for lessons with some snake-oil salesman pushing the latest fad in natural dogmanship, which tells you to allow your dog to choose the way it wants to walk around a public space, even when it is on the lead.

Of course, other dogs, people and wildlife are going to be regularly ripped to bits by wayward mutts who are losing their minds if this goes on. A lead or rope of eight metres is simply no good if the red mist descends.

I sleep with my two cocker spaniels tucked up in my bed, so don’t tell me I’m not a soppy owner. But I never underestimate them. When walking in public, I always make sure I can pull them close to me to keep them out of trouble.

What the hell are owners doing handing power of attorney to pets who are descended from wolves? I suspect they let their dogs do as they please because their dog, like their child, must not be challenged or upset.

As far as I can see these people have no recall when the dog is on an extender lead, never mind when it’s off the lead completely.

There’s a woman who walks her big tan dog along the green past my house every day on a long fluorescent yellow extender that is at full stretch all the time, attached to a body harness, obviously, so she couldn’t get any control of its head full of sharp teeth by pulling even if she could pull on an extender.

When the dog jumps on top of another dog or a person, she clicks the button to wind it in, then when that doesn’t work and the dog goes on molesting, she wails: ‘Oh dear!’

She has no control, and if this dog ever decides to really impose on something weaker than himself, she will stand there clicking that extender and wailing ‘Oh dear’ as a creature or child simply disappears down its throat.

I’m sick to death of watching women scattering treats along the grass and grown men pleading with poodles.

‘Louieeeee! Louieeeeee!’ shouts one man at his white miniature poodle. Every evening, it’s the same. And when the pesky twit of a dog won’t stop throwing himself at other dogs, yapping, his owner calls: ‘He can’t help himself! Louieeeeeee!’

When Louie bothers another dog beyond endurance and the other dog growls at him to go away, the man shouts: ‘Is he friendly? Louieeeeeeee!’

Even though I have recall, I rarely let my two spaniels off the lead because so many owners allow their dogs to jump on them. My older dog, Cydney, gets fed up and tells them off, sparking rows over which dog started what.

I got followed around the green by an irate woman recently who swore blind my dog had bitten her dog. In fact, her dog had jumped on top of Cydney as she passed by and Cyd warned him by going ‘Rah rah rah!’

I said to this woman: ‘Listen, dear, if you were going along minding your business and a man jumped on top of you and sniffed your backside what would you do? I bet you’d shout at him, no?’

‘Don’t you patronise me!’ she snapped. ‘I’ll patronise you all I like, because you’re an idiot who shouldn’t have a dog if you don’t understand dogs,’ I said.

When I got Cydney home, she had a small cut where that darn spoiled brat of a badly bred cocka-something-or-other had bitten her.

I’ve had enough. I don’t care how rude I am. I’m not having these halfwits let their dogs come near me or my dogs.

And I’m afraid it’s the middle classes I’m up against; the bleeding heart liberals who lap up this stuff about not pulling a dog.

They don’t even earn the affection of their dog by not confronting it. I always think their mutts, as they wander ever further from their owners, wear an expression that says: ‘What, that cretin? No. Nothing to do with me.’