Disclaimer: I am having a vent to get this off my chest. If venting is annoying to you, please do stop reading right now. I'm not aiming to offend anyone, and apologise sincerely if I do so inadvertently.
I am beginning to feel like I am under seige. There seems to be nowhere in my town that I can go and walk my dogs peacefully without encountering poorly behaved dogs off leash or not confined to their property, and it is driving me nuts!
Tonight, my girl, Flirtt, has a dislocated toe compliments of a big golden retriever off leash and under no control whatsoever as he decided to bound over, grab her by the neck and bounce on her. I'm a pretty fair judge of dog body language and I will say this dog did not intend to fight or hurt, just play, but when I'm out having a walk with my dogs, we're not out there to play with any old dog who comes by- we're out to walk and train as a pack and I get so angry with people who simply assume that every dog wants to play, and that I'm a mean bi**h when I say I don't want their dog to interact with mine!!! (Then they assume my dogs are aggressive because I don't want them to play).
Probably I should have let go of the leash as she twisted around to get out from under this dog (whose owner was 100mt away calling "Fido, Come... Bad Dog, Come Here" to no avail) and that was how she hurt herself, so I take some blame for the outcome... but seriously it's BULL you-know-what.
I'm beginning to wonder if it is me who is in the wrong here.... is it because my dogs have breed specific problems that make them unsuitable to be in public (yes, they are Dobes but they are not dog or human aggressive and are very sociable in the right environment- ie one chosen by me), is it that I'm in the wrong for being concerned that off leash they might encounter trouble (like a speeding car, or a cat to chase, or a child whom they frighten), or is it that I'm just too narrow minded that I think a walk is a pack exercise between a leader and his subordinates that should be "done" with boundaries in place. Is it me? Am I too much a stick in the mud? I don't think so... but maybe I'm just dead wrong.
I went to the local council to complain about a dog who rushed out and bit both myself and my boy, Villain, the other day and was told that the signs saying that dogs must be on leash are unenforceable and that the ranger cannot (and will not)- yes that is verbatim- attempt to enforce leash laws or enforce local bylaws requiring people to keep their dogs confined to the property! Yet, in other parts of the world, and indeed Australia, we have legislation which allows rangers to seize and euthanase dogs deemed to appear aggressive. Am I going mad??
I understand there are many here who have dogs that they walk off leash. I am NOT commenting about your dog, or you, as I do not know you or your dog and cannot judge what is right or wrong for you. That said, I have to ask hypothetically- do you ever REALLY know for ABSOLUTE CERTAIN that your dog will return to you on your command immediately when not on leash? I believe no dog is ever 100% infallible and what do you do when you encounter that 0.000001 time when your dog does not recall perfectly. Can you, as your dog's guardian and leader control every single aspect of the environment you are in to guide and protect them? Of course, you can't even with a leash on, but with a leash on you have just increased the odds in your favour... maybe it all comes down to that 1 time it goes wrong to change a behaviour. That said, I hope it never ever happens to any dog or owner because it would not be the way to prove a point!
I'm angry and upset. My dogs swim once a week at a dog pool, use a treadmill 6 days per week and train formally one day per week and informally the other 6. They are active and get lots of exercise, but I think the walk is integral to a balanced dog and pack and every single day I go out with them I encounter problems with other dogs. Do I have to start carrying a stick to beat these dogs off and chase them away? God I hope not.
Thanks for "listening" and again, I apologise if I have offended anyone.