Owning a dog can be such a rewarding lifestyle keeping us fit healthy and enjoying the beautiful countryside. However, for many walking their dog can actually be the opposite, it can bring nervousness and stress which may lead to that dog and owner missing out.
In my work with animals over the years, I regularly see dog owners not understanding the importance of controlling their dog whilst around others. Whilst you may have a dog which is happy to interact with others, it is important to remember that this is not the case for everyone.
I have decided to start the Respect The Lead campaign 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.
Why is this important?
Whilst it’s common to see a dog being walked on a lead for obvious reasons, such as a road being nearby, there are many reasons which are sometimes not so obvious. This can include a dog which is –
- Reactive to other dogs, animals, or people
- Undergoing training
- A New rescue dog, gaining confidence
- Recovering from injury or surgery
- A Young puppy, learning about the world
- Elderly or frail
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.
For some dogs, meeting lead to lead can also put dogs and owners in a vulnerable situation.
How to Respect The Lead
There are a few key points which all dog walkers should keep in mind when they are out and about –
- If you are walking your dog off lead and you see someone with a dog on a lead nearby, please recall your dog and avoid them rushing over. Then either put your own dog on a lead or re-route to avoid that contact.
- If an owner raises concern and tells you not to let your dog go near, then respect their request. Don’t allow your dog to rush over.
- Remember that even a seemingly friendly dog may lash out if it is approached whilst on a lead.
- If you are walking a dog on a lead and meet another dog on a lead, ask if it is ok for them to acknowledge each other and if it is follow ‘the 3 second rule’, they can sniff and introduce themselves but after 3 seconds pull away. Keep the meeting brief.
- If you do not have a reliable recall, then your dog should be kept on a lead.
Taking your dog for a walk should be an enjoyable experience for both owner and dog alike, and by remembering to Respect The Lead we can ensure a safe and happy environment for everyone.
How can I help to spread the word?
We have put together a selection of media, including multiple posters and a campaign video, all of which are ideal for sharing with your friends to help get the word out about the campaign.
You can find everything you need on our dedicated resources page.