We all need space from time to time but unlike humans, a dog on a lead isn’t able to escape from another dog that has innocently approached it, ‘just to say hello’.
A dog on a lead can mean a number of things and can suggest that caution should be taken when approaching with another dog. The lead is there for a reason, which could be one of a number of thing, such as;
- The dog may be ill, old or injured
- They may be in training
- They may be nervous or have had bad life experiences
- They may have a new family who are unsure about their behaviour
Respect The Lead.
Zoe Blake, a veterinary nurse with 25 years of experience working with animals, is founder of the Respect The Lead campaign and strongly believes that more education is needed to teach dog owners how to make dog walking an enjoyable and safe experience for everyone,
“The aim of the Respect The Lead campaign is to spread the word about how to let your dog interact with others in a happy and safe way, and help raise awareness that dogs are often kept on a lead for good reason.
When a dog is being kept on a lead, being approached by a confident or active dog can make them feel trapped and cause them to lash out. This can be dangerous for both dogs and owners alike and can result in serious injury”.
How do I Respect The Lead?
Don’t let your dog run over to a dog which is being kept on a lead.
Don’t let your dog off the lead if you can’t easily recall them.
Don’t ignore warnings from other owners about their dog.
Do check with other owners before letting your dog interact.
Do remember that a seemingly friendly dog may lash out if approached whilst on a lead.
Do follow the three second rule and keep meetings with other dogs brief.
What if my dog is the one that needs space?
Try to relax rather than tense up and tighten the lead, breathe slowly and reassure your dog in a calm voice instead. Reward your dog when they behave well. As soon as you turn away from the other dog, congratulate your dog and make sure you always have treats in your pocket so you can reward them each time they’ve achieved a calm response.
Yellow Dog UK
The Yellow Dog project is a registered charity created to raise awareness of dogs who need space and encourage owners to display a yellow ribbon on their dog’s lead when out walking. The ribbon is a signal to other dog owners that the ‘yellow dog’ needs space and they should approach with caution, promoting responsible dog ownership.
Zoe’s final thoughts.
“My own current dog had issues when I first rescued him and I spent a lot of time training him to be calmer and accepting of other dogs around him. He does stay on the lead a lot of the time and I too encounter many owners who let their dogs come charging over, fortunately with the groundwork I have put in and the training I continue to take with me on a walk I can deal with it. However, many people can’t. As soon as you put a lead on a dog everything changes for them and so we need to respect this, understand why and act accordingly.
Let’s continue to spread the awareness so that everyone can enjoy their dog walks and together we can help our canine friends, who may be kept on a lead for a reason”.