Melissa Kite

It’s not cruel to shout at dogs

The decline in canine discipline has tragic consequences

It’s not cruel to shout at dogs
‘A huge ridgeback galloped away from its owner, heading at breakneck speed towards the road’ [MaryAnnShmueli]
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‘Missing Dog, Please Do Not Call, Chase or Try To Grab Her!! She Will Run!!’

This notice, featuring the face of a cavalier spaniel, is once again pinned around the village where I live and all the neighbouring villages, country lanes and roadsides. I say again, because about six months ago an identical message was pinned up everywhere, but featuring another missing dog incident.

Is there a template for these missing dog notices, because they all seem to say the same daft thing, in Surrey anyway? ‘Do not call, chase or try to grab.’ Yes, that’s kind of why you lost your dog in the first place. I think you’ll find it was the lack of calling, chasing or trying to grab that led to your poor pooch becoming destitute.

What is wrong with dog owners nowadays? They have this new fangled idea that even calling a dog is wrong, because you are raising your voice. Not only must you never use any form of force, including pulling on its lead to steer it out of the way of a car, for instance. You must never shout at it either.

If the dog, therefore, decides to run away while out on a walk in the park, they simply let it run and run in the wrong direction, because to shout at it would be cruel in their view. Let the dog make its own decisions is what this new breed of dog owners seem to think. Let it go its own way, and express itself by running into the blue yonder, because to call the dog back would be aggressive.

Needless to say, a lot of dogs have gone missing since this new generation of owners came on stream after lockdown and home working made dog ownership way too accessible for townie woolly liberals with their ridiculously wet, passive ideas.

I saw a huge ridgeback the other day galloping away from its owner across the green in front of my house, heading at breakneck speed for the road, and all she did was watch him while bleating, ‘Oh dear!’

I also saw a labradoodle – or maybe it was an oversized cockapoo, it’s hard to tell, they’re all so badly bred and mass-produced for the idiot market now – standing in the middle of the green barking at a stranger as its owner looked on laughing.

It was off the lead and had marched up to this innocent bystander and was machine-gunning him with aggression. Yap, yap, yap, it went for so long that I had walked my dogs round the green and back and it was still doing it as we returned through our front door.

The owner simply allowed the dog to harangue the stranger and appeared to be explaining to this stranger that he must try to make friends with the dog in order to help the dog like people more. As I went inside, the passerby was kneeling at the dog’s feet begging him to be nice.

What a pair of dingbats. The people, not the dog.

Anyway, this notice for the lost cavalier spaniel, or cavapoo, or cavadoodle, or whatever, is all over Surrey and to no avail, so far as one can tell. The dog is long gone, one suspects, because the owner abided by their animal-rightsy idea of not calling it, not chasing it and not grabbing it. If I ever happen to meet her, or him, taking these notices down, I shall ask: ‘How’s that working out for ya?’

‘Oh, and while we are on the subject, if I had seen this poor dog of yours, what was it you wanted me to do, once we rule out calling it, chasing it and grabbing it?’ No doubt they have the notion someone might kneel before it and try to reason with it, perhaps attempt to engage it in conversation about the Ukraine conflict, or ask for its views on Brexit, maybe offer it a vegan sausage roll, just to earn its trust while they ring the number on the poster so the owner can come and do something humane with a huge net on a long pole, or possibly hire a zoologist to shoot it with a tranquiliser dart. Who knows?

My main concern is that my little spaniel Cydney is home after surgery to rectify an exploding cyst. As we sat in the waiting room of the hospital, she bounded out of a door on the end of a slip lead attached to a smiling vet who told me they had all fallen in love with her during her four-night stay. I know what she means. Cyd is very special. I love her so much I didn’t even feel it as I split the £4,200 bill between four credit cards.